Paul Desmond (San Francisco, november 25, 1924 – New York City, May 30, 1977) was a jazz saxophonist andcomposer. He gained notoriety with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, in which he played Alto Saxophone from 1948 to 1967 with a small break between 1950 and 1951. Desmond also wrote the quartet's biggest hit, "Take Five", which he proceeds to a large extent to the Red Cross donated.
Paul Desmond was born Paul Emil Breitenfeld, but changed his name because he found that are not appropriate for a musician. He picked up his new name Desmond from a phone book.
Desmond's sound and technique were far from the best known alto saxophonist of the time, Charlie Parker. Desmond had a clear, light sound and a melodic style of play.His gift for improvisation is probably best audibly on the two albums that he recorded with Gerry Mulligan, "Mulligan-Desmond Quartet" and "Two of a Mind".
Desmond also worked together with, among others, Jim Hall, Chet Baker and Ed Bickert. After the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded in 1967 he held it and retired. But later he started to play again in reunions with Brubeck, Mulligan and Hall, in a Christmas concert with the Modern Jazz Quartet in 1971 and other collaborations.
There were rumors for years that he would come with an autobiography , but that never happened.
He died in 1977, not to his excessive alcohol consumption, but on lung cancer by smoking. He was pleasantly surprised when he during a medical examination the State of his liver was told. "One of the biggest levers of our time. Infused with Dewar's (whisky) and perfectly healthy ". Paul Desmond was known for his sense of humor.
He gave his last concert with Dave Brubeck in February 1977 in New York City. His fans didn't know that he was already dead.