Simon and Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water was the hottest album in the land in 1970, and Paul Simon's tunes from that and their earlier albums unexpectedly find a congenial advocate in Paul Desmond.
Against the odds as determined by bopsters, Desmond finds something beautiful, wistful, and/or sly to say in each of these ten tunes, backed by Herbie Hancock's Rhodes electric piano and a set of ravishing, occasionally overstated (as in "America") orchestrations by Don Sebesky. "The 59th Street Bridge Song" is given a jaunty, carefree rendition, adapting quite well to a jazz treatment (after all, Desmond's old teammate in the Brubeck quartet Joe Morello played drums on S&G's original record) and Desmond even does some cascading overdubs on his solo part.
"Cecilia" is a fast samba, Desmond cleverly works his old "Sacre Blues" into the solo on "El Condor Pasa," and the title track has a breathtakingly pretty fadeout. Hancock's solos often reflect where he was personally at in 1970, with ideas transferred from his progressive electric Sextet. This is a Creed Taylor production in all but name; the sound, track editing, and production values are right in line with the A&M CTI line, but Sebesky is listed as producer, Taylor having recently severed his ties with A&M to form his own label.
AllMusic Review by Richard S. Ginell
|Brand||A & M Records|
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