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Live at the Village Vanguard

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Album Review

It is puzzling to understand why so many of the Verve recordings by Gerry Mulligan & the Concert Jazz Band languish out of print, but this historic 1960 engagement at the Village Vanguard was finally reissued (though on a limited basis for only three years) in the spring of 2002. With a powerful band full of strong soloists (Mulligan, Bob Brookmeyer, Clark Terry, and Willie Dennis, to name just a few), a solid rhythm section, and imaginative arrangements by either Mulligan, Brookmeyer, Al Cohn, or Johnny Mandel, this release has stood the test of time very well. Cohn's treatment of Art Farmer's "Blueport" kicks the band into high gear, with potent solos by Mulligan and the now overlooked tenor saxophonist Jim Reider. Brookmeyer's richly textured scoring of "Body and Soul" is very refreshing, while the lush ballad "Come Rain or Come Shine" is a Mulligan chart featuring the leader's mellow baritone sax. Terry's almost vocal muted trumpet solo steals the show in Mulligan's closing blues, "Let My People Be," which features the leader on piano. Don't put off buying this limited-edition reissue or you'll find yourself scouring auction lists to pay a hefty price for this highly recommended CD.

Customer Reviews

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The Gerry Mulligan Concert Band was lamentably short-lived, and has not received enough attention historically. But this is a stellar, all-star, band with cool big band arrangements by Mulligan and crew. This album belongs in any good collection of big band jazz, or cool jazz, or west coast jazz. It is superb.


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...
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