Even people who have never got in touch with Jazz listen attentively when it comes to this evergreen: “Take Five” by the Dave Brubeck Quartet, one of the few world-hits of Jazz and covered by greats from Quincy Jones to Al Jarreau. The composition was written by Paul Desmond (1924-1977) who was highly acclaimed for his great interplay with pianist Brubeck at the original recording from 1959.
pure desmond – that is the name of a quartet of Lorenz Hargassner (saxophone), Johann Weiss (guitar), Christian Flohr (bass) and Sebastian Deufel (drums) which is filling in the footsteps of the creator of Take Five with its debut “When Lights Are Low” on Minor Music. The pure Desmond: Wonderfully relaxed Modern Cool Jazz in the spirit of the legendary grand old master who became famous as a member of the Dave Brubeck Quartet but who had created a much more fertile oeuvre as outstanding composer and bandleader.
“The main reason for me to study the alto saxophone were recordings of the Paul Desmond Quartet”, says Lorenz Hargassner (born 1978), “his tone was full of beauty, so elegant yet humble.” In the case of the born Viennese it was love that had a lasting effect. Having played the piano, flute and clarinet as self-taught person since his childhood, Hargassner changed to the saxophone professionally not until he became 20 years old – and began his studies at the conservatory in Hannover. Constant companion, in fact bright fixed star during his quest for a distinct sound: Paul Desmond.
The name Desmond stands for a sound with a special pull: flowing organically, enormously focused, full of melodic sophistication. Coolly played jazz in explicit structures. As distinguished from everything ostensibly fervid or from idle-running experiments. Which doesn’t mean less passion. On the contrary: It is music, ascending out of comfortable crepuscular light, at the same time developing long-lasting charisma.
The enthusiasm for Cool Jazz and its charismatic protagonist, who was somewhat too unattended by jazz history, already teamed the quartet during their studies in Hannover. The repertoire has been continuously refined by hundreds of gigs. Besides their work for pure desmond the members of the band have pursued other projects in very different styles.
Guitarist Johann Weiss (born 1978) loves funk and rock music and is the producer and lead- guitarist of Jan-Josef Liefer’s band, a big TV- and movie-star in Germany. Christian Flohr (born 1976) changes from electric to acoustic bass all the time, is part of the internationally successful soul-pop-formation “tok tok tok” and has worked with the band of famous German crooner Roger Cicero. Drummer Sebastian Deufel (born 1979) is a sought-after musician and composer for professional theatre productions all over Germany and is currently touring with chart breaking singer-songwriter Gisbert zu Knyphausen. The leading saxophonist finally has released two highly acclaimed albums under his own name (“Lorenz Hargassner Quartet”) with subtle and colourfully refreshing acoustic jazz. He regularly works with Adam Holzman’s group, who was keyboarder and musical director of the late Miles Davis band. Beyond those projects pure desmond collaborates with the strings of the renowned Szymanowski-Quartet.
Lorenz Hargassner: “Our own approach towards this music is exceptional because of the different influences that our band members bring in. The four of us have primarily been playing various musical styles from punk to contemporary classical music, from hard rock to soul. Being inspired by such diverse backgrounds and a profound delight in interaction our sound keeps moving on – and that makes every performance an exciting experience.”