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Jazz Masters 36: Gerry Mulligan

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Album Review

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet's 1962 appearance on Ralph Gleason's Jazz Casual TV series is one of the most enjoyable released on video, especially because of the wonderful interplay between the baritone saxophonist and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, as heard during Mulligan's swinging opener, "Four for Three," and later in Brookmeyer's "Open Country." The leader's choppy piano style gives the group a very different sound, though it is every bit as effective as the two-horn pianoless quartet. Mulligan's familiar set closer, "Utter Chaos," closes the show, though it is unfortunately incomplete due to the show's imposed time limit. During the interview segment, Mulligan explains to his host the differences between working with a small group and a big band; the small group has more flexibility about trying new tunes without set arrangements on stage. Mulligan also discusses some of the things he disliked about jazz at the time ("Some attempts at total freedom are chaotic" and "You can't have freedom unless you have order to begin with"). Technical problems dating from the original videotape are frustrating, including out of focus long shots, excessive studio lighting reflecting off of the brass instruments, an annoying spot in the center of one camera lens, and poor miking of the horns as well. The packaging is also a little bit sloppy, with bassist Wyatt Ruther and drummer Gus Johnson listed playing each other's instruments, and "Darn That Dream" is mislabled "Dam That Dream." These minor complaints aside, this is one of the most essential programs of Gleason's entire series.

Customer Reviews

Jazz Masters 36: Gerry Mulligan

If you were forced to have only one song forever, Bluesport (best cut on the album, maybe Gerry's all time best) would be a top contender. Laced with variety, spunk and pizzaz. It is playful and flush with extreme virtuosity. Clark Terry's lyrical joust with Gerry is awesome. It is a pick me up that never lets me down. Mulligan's finest hour, or ten minutes at least. I have been listening to and loving this piece for 40 years and it definitely stands the test of time. I wore out my vinyl copy years ago. Thankfully iTunes had it. (and yes there is a fidelity loss on the cd version, but who cares)

Mulligan Big Band

This disc takes us back to the early 60's when Gerry Mulligan put together a Concert Band and held it together for a couple years, more than long enough to polish the tunes included here. The charts were fresh and interesting in a very cool west coast way: no hard bop for these guys. Mulligan and his baritone sax are featured, of course, but all the members were first rate. Bob Brookmeyer was there with his valve trombone and his musical humor, as was Clark Terry and his trumpet. Mulligan even picks up the clarinet on the last number. Fun. If you like Mulligan or if you like melodic, thoughtful big band, you will enjoy this. If you have ever been fortunate enough to have played in a jazz band, you simply must own this one. It will remind you of how much fun a good chart could give.


Born: April 6, 1927 in New York, NY

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

The most famous and probably greatest jazz baritonist of all time, Gerry Mulligan was a giant. A flexible soloist who was always ready to jam with anyone from Dixielanders to the most advanced boppers, Mulligan brought a somewhat revolutionary light sound to his potentially awkward and brutal horn and played with the speed and dexterity of an altoist. Mulligan started on the piano before learning clarinet and the various saxophones. His initial reputation was as an arranger. In 1944 he wrote charts...
Full Bio
Jazz Masters 36: Gerry Mulligan, Gerry Mulligan
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  • $5.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Hard Bop
  • Released: Sep 26, 1994

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