With the Skylark "experiment" behind him, Paul Desmond reverted back to the relaxed quartet format that suited him well in the past. The reason? Through Jim Hall, he found a little-known, splendid guitarist in Toronto named Ed Bickert who became his new gigmate in 1974, and this album was meant to show his discovery off. In fact, it sparked a Desmond renaissance where he regained a good deal of the witty spark and erudite cool of his collaborations with Hall, no matter how unfashionable it was to play this way in 1974.
2007 four CD Proper box featuring 108 tracks recorded by the famed duo. Les Paul pioneered electric guitar design and multi-track recording and along the way invented the synthesizer. He was also a very fine guitarist himself and with vocalist Mary Ford had considerable chart success with songs of varying styles, all included here. Les Paul's influence as a guitarist is acknowledged by musicians ranging from B.B. King, Jerry Garcia and Eric Clapton to James Burton, Frank Zappa, Keith Richards and Jeff Beck.
The Poulenc Violin Sonata is still a relative rarity on record. I'm baffled by this, as it is one of Poulenc's most unique and musically rewarding works. This performance by Lin and Crossley is excellent; indeed they nearly match the superlative recording made by Kolja Blacher and Eric Le Sage for RCA. The brighter, more lively RCA recording adds a little extra sparkle and energy to the latter. However, in both instances, each violinist has the benefit of being joined by pianists who have made a specialty of Poulenc.
After the breakup, Beatles fans expected major statements from the three chief songwriters in the Fab Four. John and George fulfilled those expectations – Lennon with his lacerating, confessional John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, Harrison with his triple-LP All Things Must Pass – but Paul McCartney certainly didn't, turning toward the modest charms of McCartney, and then crediting his wife Linda as a full-fledged collaborator on its 1971 follow-up, Ram…