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Friday Night Jazz: Gerry Mulligan II
Posted By Barry Ritholtz On May 23, 2008 @ 7:00 pm In Digital Media,Friday Night Jazz,Music | Comments Disabled
It was a real eye opener: This clean, cool recording of lovely Latin melodies, overlaid with a delightfully dry, reedy saxophone that infused everything with a sophisticated flavor. That was Gerry Mulligan’s sound.
NPR radio  described Mulligan as "the most influential baritone saxophonist in jazz."
But Mulligan  was more than that — he was a
commanding composer, an innovative musician, someone who pushed boundaries, yet remained accessible and enjoyable to listen to.
His history of playing with other key Jazz greats is rather astounding: He worked with Miles Davis ‘ on the historic Birth of the Cool . He created a piano-less ensemble , with trumpeter Chet Baker .
He cut albums with Thelonius Monk , Paul Desmond , Dave Brubeck , Stan Getz , Lionel Hampton , Ben Webster , Johnny Hodges , Judy Holliday  — the list of sidemen goes on and on .
Mulligan’s light and airy baritone saxophone was the epitome of the the "cool" jazz sound. Yet its amazing how easily he could interact with many other musical styles: Ben Webster’s  blustery tenor (the epitome of a "warm" sound); Monk’s  percussive, fractured piano rhythms and dissonant tunes; the sweet, subtle tension between Mulligan and Chet Baker .
You can pretty much grab any random Mulligan album (I put up a decent selection here) and not be disappointed. You will see scattered around a broad selection of different styles, eras, and musical cohorts.
Are you a Brubeck fan? Monk? Chet Baker? Webster? Desmond? Grab anything, sit back — and enjoy.
Mulligan became known for his writing and arranging skills in his teens. He wrote for Johnny Warrington’s radio band in 1944, and for Gene Krupa’s band two years later.
Mulligan hit the big time when he became known for his work (writing, arranging, and soloing) on Miles Davis’ defining album, "Birth of the Cool." Gerry’s compositions for this album included "Jeru," "Godchild," and "Venus de Milo," all songs that would remain in his repertoire long after the initial success of the album had died down. (This album launched and aided several careers of important jazz figures).
Mulligan’s last record came out as one of his most beautiful. Lovely tunes, clever arrangements, and understated fabulous players mark his last recording (John Scofield and
Grover Washington, Jr. play on this).
Mulligan Discography  (massive PDF)
NYT Mulligan Obit 
Dinah Shore Gerry Mulligan & Ben Webster Teach You Some Jazz
Line For Lyons
Moonlight In Vermont – 1959
Gerry Mulligan and Antonio Carlos Jobim
Article printed from The Big Picture: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog
URL to article: http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2008/05/friday-night-jazz-gerry-mulligan-ii/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000003D4N/thebigpictu09-20
 Gerry Mulligan: http://www.gerrymulligan.com/bio.html
 Image: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/photos/uncategorized/2007/05/11/mulligan_chetbaker.jpg
 Mulligan: http://www.geocities.com/bourbonstreet/delta/1724/
 Miles Davis: http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/jazz/jp.mulligan4.ram
 Birth of the Cool: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000005HF9/thebigpictu09-20
 piano-less ensemble: http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/jazz/jp.mulligan6.ram
 Chet Baker: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&ct=res&cd=1&url=http%3A%2F%2Fbigpicture.typepad.com%2Fcomments%2F2007%2F03%2Ffriday_night_ja_1.html&ei=bcJERo2tJKfEwQKmkJyUCw&usg=AFrqEzefTOr6t6EL5NtTQibR1GUUs8MYlg&sig2=YYGOfDb1LX_t8AI5EZ6hUQ
 Image: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000YGU/thebigpictu09-20
 Paul Desmond: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000046RP/thebigpictu09-20
 Dave Brubeck: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000253GQ/thebigpictu09-20
 Stan Getz: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000047CI/thebigpictu09-20
 Lionel Hampton: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000000VG/thebigpictu09-20
 Ben Webster: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000047A9/thebigpictu09-20
 Johnny Hodges: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000094T54/thebigpictu09-20
 Judy Holliday: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000PF4/thebigpictu09-20
 the list of sidemen goes on and on: http://www.geocities.com/bourbonstreet/delta/1724/sidemen.html
 Image: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000XZW/thebigpictu09-20
 Image: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000003D52/thebigpictu09-20
 Mulligan Discography: http://lcweb2.loc.gov/natlib/ihas/warehouse/mulligan/200003721/0001.pdf
 NYT Mulligan Obit: http://select.nytimes.com/search/restricted/article?res=F40611F9385D0C728EDDA80894DE494D81
 Mulligan Videos after the jump: http://bigpicture.typepad.com/comments/2007/05/friday_night_ja_1.html#more
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