Bruce Babad | A Tribute to Paul Desmond (feat. Larry Koonse, Ed Czach, Luther Hughes & Steve Barnes)

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A Tribute to Paul Desmond (feat. Larry Koonse, Ed Czach, Luther Hughes & Steve Barnes)

by Bruce Babad

Soothing, musical homage to Paul Desmond recorded live at the A-Frame jazz concert series.
Genre: Jazz: Cool Jazz
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Line For Lyons
6:47 $0.99
2. When Sunny Gets Blue
10:40 $0.99
3. It's You I Like
7:51 $0.99
4. My Funny Valentine
6:15 $0.99
5. Things Ain't What They Used To Be
7:15 $0.99
6. Wendy
6:18 $0.99
7. Take Five
5:45 $0.99
8. Jan
7:38 $0.99
9. Desmond Blue
6:22 $0.99
10. B*A*B*A*D
7:37 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Bruce Babad
A Tribute To Paul Desmond
Primrose Lane Music #15
Released March, 2011

Recorded Live At The A-Frame
Recording engineer: Alison Moffet
Mixed and mastered by: Rod Nicas
Photography: Terance Love
Graphic design:

Bruce Babad – Alto Sax
Larry Koonse – Guitar
Ed Czach – Piano
Luther Hughes – Bass
Steve Barnes – Drums

My parents raised me on the music of Dave Brubeck, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, and Paul Desmond. They were all master improvisers with an uncanny knack at being able to create beautiful, compelling melodies on the spot. This tribute to Paul Desmond is my way of expressing appreciation to his life of stellar music. Doug Ramsey’s book, “Take Five, The Private and Public Life of Paul Desmond” inspired and clarified this homage.

Line For Lyons (G. Mulligan) 6:48 Composed by Gerry Mulligan in honor of Jimmy Lyons – San Francisco broadcaster and jazz promoter. The countermelody played by Larry Koonse on guitar is the same countermelody employed by Mulligan from, “Gerry Mulligan / Paul Desmond Quartet”.

When Sunny Gets Blue (Fisher-Segal) 10:40 This bossa-nova version came from Desmond’s Toronto Quartet recording, “Paul Desmond”.

It's You I Like (Fred Rogers) 7:52 This song came from “Mister Rogers Neighborhood”. Fred Rogers spent his life speaking into the lives, hearts and imaginations of American youth all underscored by Johnny Costa’s swinging piano playing. Fred was a gifted composer, his song, It’s You I like” with its touching lyrics has been a favorite of mine for years.

My Funny Valentine (Rodgers-Hart) 6:15 Our version is based on Bob Prince’s arrangement from “Desmond Blue” - George Avkian’s first project for Desmond at RCA. The orchestra, arrangements and brilliant performances from Paul make “Desmond Blue my favorite recording of Paul Desmond.

Things Ain't What They Used To Be 7:16 (D. Ellington) Our version of the Duke Ellington classic was based on Paul’s Toronto quartet from the recording, “The Paul Desmond Quartet Live”.

Wendy 6:18 P. Desmond) “Wendy” became Desmond’s best known composition after “Take Five”. The melody is a contrafact to one of his favorite ballads, “For All We Know”.

Take Five 5:45 (P. Desmond) When Dave Brubeck announced his interest in recording all odd-meter tunes (“Time Out”) he asked the guys to see what they could write for the project. Paul came back with several melodies based in 5/4 time. Brubeck took the bridge from one of Paul’s lines, made it the “A” section and used another Desmond idea for the bridge and “Take Five” was born. The Middle Eastern flavor we use for the solo section came from “The Paul Desmond Quartet Live”.

Jan 7:39 (B.Babad - BMI) I wrote this song for my wife, Jan. It’s in three (like the three letters in Jan) with a pretty, simple melody over some unusual chords. The song is meant to be a tribute to the many facets of her beauty and personality.

Desmond Blue 6:22 (P. Desmond) Desmond Blue is the title track from my favorite Desmond recording. Notice Larry’s beautiful chord solo on this one. Paul’s recorded solo was so perfect I had to write out the first chorus for Larry and I to play as a shout chorus. The chorus that follows is Jim Hall’s brilliant solo from the same recording.

B•A•B•A•D 7:38 (B. Babad - BMI)As the title implies, this song is based on the five notes/letters of my last name. The melody is B-A-B-A-D, B-A-B-A-D, blah, blah, blah. The bridge chord line is B7 – A7 – B7 – A7 – D7. Good thing I didn’t have a last name like “Breitenfeld”!

Special thanks to: Betty Hoover and her wonderful friends at the “A-Frame”. Rod Nicas who poured his heart into the mixing process. Thank you to Dr. Harry & Joan Babad, and Joe & Dee Miskov for contributing financially to this project. Thank you also to my wife Jan, our boys, Miles & Julian and the Wylie family for covering this concert and recording in prayer. Lastly, thank you to Terance Love (Steamers Jazz Café) for the wonderful photograph and graphic design.



to write a review

Allen Minton

Long live West Coast Jazz!
I enjoyed this album greatly. This is real comfort music for those of us who grew up in the LA area during the fifties and sixties and hung around clubs like the Lighthouse and Shelly's Mannhole. Thanks so much to Mr. Babad and his colleagues for keeping the tradition alive and well. Every track is delightful, but my personal favorite is "When Sunny Gets Blue" -- a lovely samba treatment with outstanding solos by all players.

Mark Barbour

Sweet Tribute to a Master
The greatest tribute to a master like Desmond is not to worship note for note, but to absorb and interpret afresh in your own work. This sums up Bruce’s album for me, jazz that can easily remain in the background to be enjoyed in the company of friends; but each song begs to be heard individually, pulling you into the artistic tapestry that Bruce so deftly weaves with his sax. Bruce's quartet brings a mature sound to this straight-ahead jazz; you are in the hands of underrated masters in our local SoCal jazz scene. This is a cd that will remain on my Ipod’s shuffle rotation for some time to come.

Mark Cartiglia

A Treasure
On this CD, Bruce Babad and his band pay homage to the amazing Paul Desmond. First, kudos to Babad for paying tribute to a sometimes overlooked jazz giant. Every track here is terrific. On Gerry Mulligan’s “Line for Lyons”, the band really swings, with Babad’s playful alto sax clearly front-and-center. The dreamy “When Sunny Gets Blue” gets the bossa nova treatment and sounds superb, with Larry Koonse’s smooth, classy guitar honoring Desmond’s favorite bandmate Jim Hall with every note. Fred Rogers’ “It’s You I Like” is as gorgeous a melody as you’re likely to hear any time soon, and Babad’s playing is as beautiful as the song. Other highlights include “Wendy”, a lovely tune penned by Desmond himself. And I can’t neglect to mention Babad’s own “Jan” and “B-A-B-A-D”, both of which sound like they are jazz standards you’ve heard a hundred times even if it’s your first listen. The band is terrific throughout. Drummer Steve Barnes recalls Connie Kay’s cool, never rushed style, Ed Czach’s piano captures the mood perfectly and Luther Hughes’ bass is just right. As for Babad himself, he absolutely shines throughout the recording. To his credit, Babad doesn’t seek to mimic Desmond. Rather he honors Desmond’s distinctive lyrical, never-hurried sound, without abandoning his own good-natured, oft-quoting, spirited style. Five stars for an outstanding CD!

Monica Lee

Bravo Bruce Babad
What a beautiful tribute! Under the masterful skills of the Grammy-nominated saxophonist, Bruce Babad, the album is a musical treasure! Attention to detail and nuance is moving and will inspire listeners of all levels and ages. This is a superb ensemble. Bravo! I will enjoy listening to your talent for a very long time.