Out of the 13 selections included on this double CD, six were originally released just in Europe, two ("Out of Nowhere" and "Mexican Jumping Bean") were never out before and only five songs were on the American LP. Considering how inspired the Dave Brubeck Quartet sounds, it is surprising that the music has been so obscure for so long. Baritonist Gerry Mulligan is particularly heated on the opening two numbers (the unreleased tracks), pianist Dave Brubeck really stretches himself (check him out on "Things Ain't What They Used to Be" where he progresses from stride to free), and bassist Jack Six and drummer Alan Dawson, in addition to their solo space, are quite alert and constantly pushing the lead voices. Not only are the musicians in top form but the audience is very enthusiastic, demanding three encores. The extensive liner notes by Geoffrey Smith are also a major plus. Highly recommended.
A little less than eight years after it occurred, Concord Records issued this concert, originally broadcast on German radio, from Gerry Mulligan's last European tour, performed less than a year before his death. Mulligan appears with his regular band of the time – pianist Ted Rosenthal, bassist Dean Johnson, and drummer Ron Vincent – playing a group of originals that serve as springboards for his lyrical style of baritone saxophone playing. The group, which had been together for several years at this point, plays smoothly, offering excellent support to the leader. A special treat is the final track, a version of "These Foolish Things" on which Mulligan duets with guest star Dave Brubeck. The album demonstrates that, in his maturity, Mulligan continued to live up to the standards he had set for himself across a career stretching back 45 years. There are no real revelations this late in the game, but Mulligan and the band play with the assurance of veterans.
Gerry Mulligan's first session as a leader and one of the first to showcase his baritone was recorded in New York shortly before he relocated to Los Angeles and formed his famous pianoless quartet with Chet Baker. There is a piano on this set (George Wallington) but Mulligan's writing (all seven selections are his) for a two-baritone nonet that also features trumpeter Nick Travis and tenor-saxophonist Allan Eager is already in his influential "cool style"; best-known among the originals is "Bweebida Bwobbida." Two numbers on the CD reissue feature a smaller unit out of the group with "Mulligan's Too" being an extended workout for the leader and Eager.
One of three LPs recorded by the Gerry Mulligan Sextet of 1955-56, this set includes plenty of lesser-known songs including "Mainstream," "Igloo" and "Lollypop." With such strong soloists as baritonist Mulligan, the always swinging tenor of Zoot Sims, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and trumpeter Jon Eardley, this was a classic West Coast style jazz band and each of its recordings are worth acquiring.
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…
Mention the style “cool jazz” to a music fan and most likely their first thought will be of Chet Baker or Dave Brubeck. All well and good, but there was a cat who came before them who actually laid the groundwork for the style. That was Gerry Mulligan, the baritone saxophonist, arranger, and composer whose original piano-less quartet introduced Baker to the world, and who was also present at the early Miles Davis BIRTH OF THE COOL sessions.