Average Length: 5.20
Difficulty: Like swinging convincingly in 5/4 time
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.