Personnel: Paul Desmond (alto saxophone); Jim Hall (guitar); Eugene Wright, Eugene Cherico, Percy Heath (bass); Connie Kay (drums).
Recorded between June 1963 and June 1965. Produced by George Avakian.
Even though the alto saxophonist Paul Desmond is justly celebrated for his long tenure in the Dave Brubeck Quartet, he led a quite different kind of quartet of his own with the fine guitarist Jim Hall and MJQ drummer Connie Kay in the early to mid-'60s. Together they produced a series of understated, lyrical LPs for RCA that showcased Desmond's lithe improvisations (and Hall's perfectly apt accompaniment) on a variety of standards and bossa nova tunes. While it might neglect the bossa nova side, the 1990 compilation EASY LIVING is a fine representative sampling of this underrated quartet's above-average output, featuring cool, urbane interpretations of highly melodic tunes like "Here's That Rainy Day" and "When Joanna Loved Me." Another highlight is the darting, allusive reading of Cole Porter's "All Through The Night," in which the subtle altoist proves again why he was rightly considered one of the greatest musicians of his generation.
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