JJ 03/71: Paul Desmond – Bridge Over Troubled Water

Fifty years ago, not even Mike Shera's foot was induced to tap by the famous altoist's pop-jazz piggyback. First published in Jazz Journal March 1971


Subtitled ‘Paul Desmond plays the songs of Simon & Garfunkel’, this is probably the dullest record Paul Desmond has ever made. However it may well outsell many of his better albums, simply on the strength of the subtitle.

Desmond is largely restricted to sub­dued melody statements, the teeniest bits of elementary improvisation (usually slight para­phrases of the tune) quickly followed by a restatement of the tune. The strings murmur gently in the background, the drummers rattle their pots and pans quietly, and everyone is gently lulled to sleep.

Even the pop-rock albums have more going for them than this. At least they make you tap your foot some­times.

El Condor; So Long, Frank Lloyd Wright; The 59th St. Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy); Mrs. Robinson; Old Friends (19¼ min) – America; For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her; Scarborough Fair/Canticle; Cecilia; Bridge Over Troubled Water (19 min)
Paul Desmond (alt); Herbie Hancock (elec-pno); Ron Carter (bs); Sam Brown, Gene Bertoncini (gtr); Jerry Jemott (fender-bs); Airto Moreira, Joao Palma. Bill Lavorgna (dm); strings.
(A & M AMLS 2005 £2.15)