CD: Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band, Santa Monica 1960 (Fresh Sound)

Mulligan Santa MonicaMulligan’s Concert Jazz Band had three fewer musicians than most big jazz outfits. Its size permitted precision, flexibility and subtlety, yet the band had the power of sprung steel. In this concert from a half century ago, the CJB is as fresh as yesterday. Arrangements by Mulligan, Bob Brookmeyer, Al Cohn and Johnny Mandel set standards to which big band writers still aspire. Bassist Buddy Clark and drummer Mel Lewis inspired Mulligan, Brookmeyer, Conte Candoli, Gene Quill and Zoot Sims to some of the best soloing of their careers. This beautifully produced issue of the complete concert is a basic repertoire item.

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  1. says

    I got this one as soon as it was released in Europe.

    The Verve “On Tour” album had three of these tracks, and the Mosaic box set added three more, but this (as you note) has the whole night! 19 terrific tracks from a terrific band, and in great sound. One of the best releases in any year, and worth the five decades of ‘aging in the barrel’.

    If you don’t have a Mulligan CJB album, this is the one to get.

  2. says

    I was playing some CJB recently on my WZBC show to mark Bill Crow’s birthday. I’ve long loved that stuff. Listening this time from a DJ”s perspective, I noticed how well those albums were programmed. Aside from great playing and arrangements-great pacing.

  3. says

    Having received the CD, failed again, and reading Steve Provizer’s comments, something else occurred to me that Bill Crow might be able to comment on. Who, if anybody, has the original of Gerry’s “Something Borrowed, Something Blue”, by rights I mean. I have most of it on an old cassette tape and that only increases the interest. For ages I thought Lee Konitz was on there, but learned that it was Gerry on alto, quite delightful and a surprise.

  4. says

    “Something Borrowed, Something Blue” was a Limelight LP on the original issue, then a Mercury re-issue, so I’d say it’s owned by Universal.

    I think at least a couple of tracks came out on a CD, maybe a compilation-type thing. But then again, maybe the Japanese have put it all on CD by now. I believe it to be the last recorded meeting of Gerry and Zoot Sims.

    Gerry played some clarinet on another Limelight release — had a great sound that reminded me of Irving Fazola.

  5. Charlton Price says

    You can dine on this 2-CD tiramasu (aurally) for the rest of your life. I’m only into CD 1 so far. Couldn’t wait to get to Track 7, cueing up “Red Door,” for 9 minutes of John Haley Sims, the guest soloist and composer. This is the most memorable, creative, “into Nirvana” (talk about “the sound of surprise”!) version I’ve ever heard Zoot do, from Half Note nights to now…chorus after chorus, with Mel Lewis providing incomparably elegant, crisp, sweet-spot percussion, and Brookmeyer comping-plus on piano. It ends with a free-form-yet-totally-controlled contrapuntal duet of Zoot and Mulligan. “Basic repertoire [collector’s] item” indeed!

  6. says

    I’m so glad this album has been released. The CJB was recorded by Norman Granz right after this, when they took Zoot to Europe as featured soloist. When they returned to NYC, Conte Candoli and Buddy Clark went home to California, and Clark Terry and I replaced them. The next CJB recording was live at the Village Vanguard, a wonderful album that I love. That band was the beginning of my musical love affair with Mel Lewis.

  7. says

    May I thank you, Bill, for all the pleasure you and the CJB gave, and continue to give, to jazz fans. The Vanguard version of “Blueport” is and will always be my favourite tune.

    Can I also be rude and ask for any comments you may have on my query about Gerry’s “Something Borrowed, Something Blue”.

    Thank you again, either way.

  8. don frese says

    Limelight released Something Borrowed, Something Blue; it was part of Mercury, and is now owned by the Verve music group. They are not reissuing much in CD format these days, but seem to have an active download program.