Paul Desmond

Paul Desmond , born Paul Emil Breitenfeld, was a jazz alto saxophonist and composer born in San Francisco, best known for the work he did in the Dave Brubeck Quartet and for penning that group’s greatest hit, “Take Five”. He was not only one of the most popular musicians to come out of the West Coast’s “cool jazz” scene, but also the possessor of a legendary and idiosyncratic wit. #


  • 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 banker.

  • I have won several prizes as the world’s slowest alto player, as well as a special award in 1961 for quietness.

  • Writing is like jazz. It can be learned, but it can’t be taught.

  • I was unfashionable before anyone knew who I was.

  • I discovered early in life that if you take gym first period, you can go into the wrestling room and sit in the corner and sleep.

  • I tried practicing for a few weeks and ended up playing too fast.

  • We’re working as if it were going out of style-which of course it is.

  • I think I had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to sound like a dry martini.

  • Our basic audience begins with creaking elderly types of twenty-three and above.

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