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Desmond-Induced Deflation

Words:  70

Average Length:  5.20

Difficulty:  Like swinging convincingly in 5/4 time

This has nothing to do with the puzzle – it’s me toasting the Welsh Men’s Choir with a well-earned beer after hiking in Brecon Beacon National Park, Wales.

On my best days playing alto sax, my tone was a pale imitation of Paul Desmond’s crystal, liquid, heavenly sound.  Desmond was a marvel – a soloist whose intelligence and grace made his lines seem inevitable, and a composer of one of the very greatest jazz classics (see 60 Across), track three on the Dave Brubeck Quartet’s hugely influential Time Out album (one of the best-selling jazz albums of all time).  If you know the tune, the puzzle should be medium difficulty; if you don’t, it’ll be tougher.  Check out this live performance.  Desmond’s sinuous solo builds tension and release over a hypnotic, two-chord drone (Eb minor-Bb minor).  Brubeck follows with a brief, mysterious piano solo far removed from his usual crashing chords.  Anyway, I hope you enjoy the puzzle – and I really hope you enjoy the tune and give Desmond and the Dave Brubeck Quartet a listen.

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