A number of posthumous CDs have appeared following Gerry Mulligan's death in 1996. This one combines two previously unreleased quartet concerts, both featuring Bob Brookmeyer, an equally talented composer and arranger and outstanding valve trombonist. The songs are all familiar to Mulligan fans, including the swinging arrangements of "Laura" and great tunes like "Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," which few other jazz groups seem to play. Mulligan's very cool but awkwardly titled "Bweebida Bobbida" and "Utter Chaos," his favorite theme song, round out the material from the 1957 Hollywood Bowl concert. Bassist Joe Benjamin and drummer Dave Bailey (inexplicably listed as "Donald Bailey" on the CD's back cover) make up the capable rhythm section.
At this 1974 concert baritonist Gerry Mulligan and trumpeter Chet Baker had one of their very rare reunions; it would be only the second and final time that they recorded together after Mulligan's original quartet broke up in 1953. Oddly enough, a fairly contemporary rhythm section was used (keyboardist Bob James, vibraphonist Dave Samuels, bassist Ron Carter, drummer Harvey Mason, and in one of his first recordings, guitarist John Scofield). However, some of the old magic was still there between the horns, and in addition to two of Mulligan's newer tunes, this set (the first of two volumes) also includes fresh versions of "Line for Lyons" and "My Funny Valentine."
Many of Gerry Mulligan's finest outings for the Verve label featured the great baritone saxophonist in unique meetings with other star saxophonists. On these recordings, Mulligan's playful, adventurous style both complemented and challenged the other players and their work similarly affected him. This collection features ten tracks from these brilliant collaborations - with Ben Webster, Johnny Hodges, Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, and Zoot Sims.
Three years after Gerry Mulligan initially sat in with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the baritone saxophonist arrived at a point where he could perform alongside Brubeck's alto saxophonist, Paul Desmond, for this much anticipated session. When legal issues, wranglings with producer Norman Granz, and the question of which record label would subsidize and release this album were resolved, the two saxophonists went ahead to produce a delightful program of standards and originals where their more playful sides could fully blossom. The wonderful interaction between Mulligan's burly but agile horn and the ultimate smooth - but in this case animated and energized - sax of Desmond is more than just magical, and makes for a fluid, jaunty, delicious combination sure to please even the most jaded or stone-eared music listener…
The last of the pianoless quartet albums that Gerry Mulligan recorded in the 1950s is one of the best, featuring the complementary trumpet of Art Farmer, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Dave Bailey along with the baritonist/leader. This recording is a little skimpy on playing time but makes every moment count. Virtually every selection is memorable, with "What Is There to Say," "Just in Time," "Festive Minor," "My Funny Valentine," and "Utter Chaos" being the high points. Highly recommended both to Mulligan collectors and to jazz listeners who are just discovering the great baritonist.