Classical Guitar Instruction with Douglas Niedt
Douglas Niedt Presents


About Paul Desmond
Composer of

This is Douglas Niedt's outstanding arrangement of the great jazz standard by Paul Desmond, made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet. This fingerstyle arrangement can be played on a nylon-string classical guitar, acoustic, or steel-string electric guitar. For intermediate to advanced players.

cover of Take Five music

About Paul Desmond

Paul Emil Desmond was born in San Francisco on November 25, 1924. His last too Irish. Early on, he studied clarinet, but switched to the alto saxophone. He is best known for his work with the Dave Brubeck Quartet and for writing the Quartet's biggest hit, Take Five. He possessed an idiosyncratic wit and was one of the most popular musicians to come out of the West Coast's "cool jazz" scene.

He was a member of the Dave Brubeck Octet from 1948-50. He took a brief leave and returned to join Brubeck's quartet from 1951-67. Desmond was the definitive "cool" alto saxophonist, with a style that slightly bore some resemblance to that of Stan Getz, except Desmond liked to milk the high notes more. He indulged in counter-melodies with Brubeck (who played piano) and played witty, yet logical solos that drove the Brubeck quartet. He rarely played solos in double-time, preferring a cool, laid-back setting, but his solos contained surprising twists. He is probably best known for his classic solo on his composition Take Five. The song sold over a million copies and remains popular today. On an interesting note, he willed the huge royalties from this hit to the Red Cross.

Apart from the Brubeck quartet, he sometimes recorded as a leader, often in piano-less groups. He also recorded with Gerry Mulligan and Jim Hall. He didn't build a strong identity apart from Brubeck, but it wasn't a priority to him. After the quartet broke-up, he went into semi-retirement, with notable meetings with the Modern Jazz Quartet in 1971 and guitarist Ed Bickert. He played in reunions with Brubeck during 1972-75. After years of chain smoking and general poor health, Desmond succumbed to lung cancer in 1977 following one last tour with Brubeck.

For more information, be sure to check out the excellent article about him in Wikipedia.


I was overlooked long before anyone knew who I was.

I would also like to thank my father who discouraged me from playing the violin at an early age.

We used to get on planes, and they'd ask who we were, and we'd say, 'The Dave Brubeck Quartet', and they'd say, 'Who?' In later years they'd say, 'Oh', which amounts to the same thing.

Take me back to Doug's Take Five webpage.