Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan had left the West Coast for New York in 1954 when he was invited to perform at the third Paris Jazz Festival. French jazz critic Charles Delaunay, who was promoting the June 1 appearance at the Salle Pleyel in Paris, was apprehensive because French audiences at the time preferred Dixieland and older forms of jazz, and were generally hostile to any white musicians, no matter what school of jazz they represented. But the Paris concert was a triumph, as shown on these tunes. "It was an electrifying experience for us," Mulligan later said.

These performances, including fresh sounding standards and fine originals, are filled with delightful flowing interplay, wry humor, warm lyricism, charming swing and graceful drive. There's the boiling exuberance of "Limelight," the sly laziness of "Makin' Whoopee," the witty melodic reworking of "Love Me or Leave Me," the smooth merging of solos and group playing on "Lullaby of the Leaves," and much more. Underpinning Mulligan's sax and Brookmeyer's valve trombone is the solid playing of drummer Frank Isola, and the supple bass of Red Mitchell. This concert is still "an electrifying experience."

SKU: IC7017

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I May Be Wrong Gold Rush Lullaby of the Leaves Makin' Whoopee Love Me or Leave Me Soft Shoes The Nearness of You Limelight Walkin' Shoes Bark for Barksdale

Additional Info

Additional Info

Format: Jazz Record
Soloist/Artist Gerry Mulligan
Instruments Music and Musicians
Composer No
Accompanist/ Conductor Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Frank Isola, drums; Red Mitchell, bass
SKU IC7017


Customer Reviews (2)

"Made for Each Other!"Review by Big Toots
IC 7017 Gerry Mulligan

There is something texturally enticing about the sound of a baritone saxophone. It has an inexplicable profundity and sense of truth-telling. Interestingly, when a bari is paired with a valve trombone - maybe even more so than the bone’s sliding sister - there’s a commonality that makes all sound logical. When Gerry Mulligan and Bobby Brookmeyer paired together as they are in this superior live date, that commonality was enhanced exponentially. It’s a fine showcase for the two greats.

This is a recording that draws you in to Gerry and Bobby’s almost umbilically-derived musical thinking. Recorded live before a near-electrified French audience, the pair counterpoint and counterplay across 10 selections, including jazz workhorses (“I May Be Wrong,” “Makin’ Whoopee,” “The Nearness of You”) some now well-known Mulligan originals (“Gold Rush,” “Walkin’ Shoes,” and “Bark for Barksdale”).

The feel here is silk-smooth and laid back (“Makin’ Whoopee,” “Nearness of You”). The absence of a piano is hardly noticeable, as Mulligan and Brookmeyer dance across melodies in two-part inventiveness. With so much contrapuntal stuff going on, another instrument comping might be distracting. Red Mitchell’s marvelous bass drives the harmonic underpinning (and he also solos brilliantly). Drummer Frank Isola is tastefully supportive throughout.

Improvisationally, Mulligan’s ideas are cool, approachable and inventive. Shrewdly, he prefers the upper half of his axe’s range versus things more deeply rooted (and where the horn’s lower sound provides an illusion of bogging down). Brookmeyer is also a smooth-shaved Cat (“Love Me or Leave”). His sound is timbred more sax-like than trombone-like. Thus the workability with Mulligan’s bari. Even on the faster tunes (“Bark for Barksdale”) the duo work superbly.

Mulligan and Brookmeyer are a pair extraordinaire joined at the musical “hip.” Enjoy!

(Posted on 6/7/2015)
Gerry MulliganReview by Simon Sez
The baritone saxophone is supposed to be a heavy instrument, both in weight and in its sound. It found a place as the bottom horn in big bands, grunting out bass notes, but was rarely used for solos (outside of Duke Ellington’s Harry Carney) until the 1950s. The great success of Gerry Mulligan was therefore a real surprise. Not only did he play the baritone with a much lighter tone than expected, but he became both a major soloist and a bit of a celebrity. In the 1950s and into the ‘60s, it seemed as if everyone knew who Gerry Mulligan was, including actress Judy Holliday who was his long-term girlfriend, but that is another story!
On this CD, Mulligan is featured with a quartet that co-stars trombonist Bob Brookmeyer. Recorded at a concert in Paris in 1954, this performance is filled with what could be called cool-toned fireworks with the two horns constantly playing off of each other in witty and intriguing fashion. Their “instant arrangements” work extremely well and are fun to hear.

Simon Sez: Gerry Mulligan (IC7017), who made the baritone-sax into a solo instrument, has fun playing with Bob Brookmeyer in this 1954 concert.

(Posted on 5/6/2014)

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