Gerry Mulligan Quartet this weekend, recorded live at the Teatro Adriano in Rome by the venerable Italian Radio/TV network RAI on june 19, 1959.
This is the classic Mulligan Quartet, featuring Art Farmer on trumpet, Bill Crow and bass and Dave Bailey on drums. Although many cite Mulligan’s earlier incarnation of the Quartet with Chet Baker in the early 1950s as milestone, Mulligan’s had no shortage of celebrated cohorts. In addition, Mulligan’s list of collaborators over his long and noteworthy career reads like a who’s who in Jazz. From his beginnings as a member of Claude Thornhill‘s Orchestra in the 1940’s, as musician and arranger, to his work with Miles Davis as one of the key arrangers on the legendary Birth Of The Cool sessions, to being the personification of Cool School, Gerry Mulligan has been a pivotal eyewitness to the sweeping changes in music taking place after World War 2 and one of its most recognizable innovators.
This concert comes around the time of the release of his first Columbia album, What Is There To Say? It was his first for the label and the last featuring the pianoless quartet. It was widely considered one of his best albums and it features the exact same lineup for those recordings as it does this concert.
Gerry Mulligan’s career spanned a period from roughly 1945 to 1995, just a year before his death. His discography lists some 59 albums as leader or co-leader and some 24 albums as a sideman. Not to mention all the projects and sessions he did arrangements for. It was a truly productive and astonishing career as one of the great Bariton Sax players of all time.
If you’re just getting around to being interested in Jazz and want to know more about the key figures, Gerry Mulligan certainly belongs in that category, and listening to just about anything he’s done is instructive . . not to mention historic. But if you are a Mulligan fan, you need no sales pitch – you’re there already.
Crank it up and enjoy.