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Here are some beautiful Paul Desmond quotes that I recieved from Fred Stride quite some time ago that I'd thought I'd share
"I have won several prizes as the world's slowest alto player, as well as
a special award in 1961 for quietness."
"I was unfashionable before anyone knew who I was."
"I tried practicing for a few weeks and ended up playing too fast."
"I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry
On the secret of his tone: "I honestly don't know! It has something to do
with the fact that I play illegally."
When asked by Gene Lees what accounted for the melancholy in his playing
he replied, "Wellllll, that I'm not playing better."
He was an English major in college. His reason for not pursuing a literary
career, "I could only write at the beach, and I kept getting sand in my
"Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can't be taught."
Of writer Jack Kerouac he said, "I hate the way he writes. I kind of love
the way he lives, though."
Of Vogue fashion models, he said, "Sometimes they go around with guys who
are scuffling -- for a while. But usually they end up marrying some cat
with a factory. This is the way the world ends, not with a whim but a
"Sometimes I get the feeling that there are orgies going on all over new
York City, and somebody says, `Let's call Desmond,' and somebody else
says, 'Why bother? He's probably home reading the Encyclopedia Britannica.'"
His response to the annoying banality of an interviewer, "You're beginning
to sound like a cross between David Frost and David Susskind, and that is
a cross I cannot bear."
Shortly before the Dave Brubeck Quartet disbanded, "We're working as if it
were going out of style -- which of course it is."
Of yogurt he said, "I don't like it, but Dave is always trying things like
that. He's a nutritional masochist. He'll eat anything as long as he
figures it's good for him."
Of contact lenses: "Not for me. If I want to tune everybody out, I just
take off my glasses and enjoy the haze"
On Ornette Coleman's playing, "It's like living in a house where
everything's painted red."
Doug Ramsey wrote that Desmond on seeing Barbara Jones' oil painting of
four cats stalking a mouse said, "Ah, the perfect album cover for when I
with the Modern Jazz Quartet." Ramsey pointed out that the mouse was
mechanical and Desmond responded, "In that case, Cannonball will have to
make the record."
Desmond's fondness for scotch was well known. So in early 1976 when a
physical examination showed lung cancer, he was ironically pleased that
his liver was fine. "Pristine, perfect. One of the great livers of our time.
Awash in Dewars and full of health."
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