Saturday, November 15, 2008

CD of the Day - "Paul Desmond: Bridge Over Troubled Water"

CD of the Day
Paul Desmond: "Bridge Over Troubled Water" (A&M/Verve) 1969/2008

Produced, Arranged & Conducted by Don Sebesky
Engineered by Rudy Van Gelder at Van Gelder Studio
Featuring: Herbie Hancock, Ron Carter, João Palma, Airto Moreira, Bill LaVorgna, Sam Brown, Gene Bertoncini, Harry Lookofsky, Hubert Laws et al.

In this first USA CD reissue, on Verve's "Originals" series, Desmond's third & last album for A&M (previously reissued on CD only in Japan), the names of Van Gelder, Lookofsky and Laws are omitted. The back cover has many mistakes too. Joao Palma's name is omitted, appearing only in micro letters in the inside digipak cover. Airto Moreira is mispelled "Moriera," Gene Bertoncini is mispelled "Bertoncinni" and so on.
Despite all these bureaucratic errors, Paul's jazzy version of the Paul Simon songbook is excellent. Although Creed Taylor didn't produce it (he had just left A&M to make CTI a completely independent company), Sebesky follows his aesthetic and "Bridge" sounds like a CTI session.
Great solos by the leader and Herbie Hancock on the Fender Rhodes. Ron Carter plays superbly throughout the session. João Palma is the drummer in most of the tracks, being replaced by Bill LaVorgna on the title track and by Airto on "For Emily, Whenever I May Find Her." Both Sam Brown & Gene Bertoncini play only acoustic guitars. Airto excells on percussion all the time, specially when using woodblock and caxixis with extreme subtlety to create a soft bossa groove on "So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright" (no drums on this track). Palma's grooves on "Mrs. Robinson" and "Cecilia" are reminiscent of his work with Sergio Mendes during the Brasil '66 days.
The jazzier (and longer) tracks are "America" and "The 59th St. Bridge Song", on which Hancock shines. "The day we were recording at Van Gelder's we could see that was snowing outside and an incredible sensation influenced our playing," recalls my friend Palma.
Nice remastered sound by Erick Labson.

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