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Gerry Mulligan - The Pacific Jazz  Collection 1952-1959

Gerry Mulligan - The Pacific Jazz Collection 1952-1959

Widely respected and revered inside and out of jazz circles, Gerry Mulligan retains a reputation as one of the foremost figures on the West Coast scene, as a musician, an arranger and a composer. Primarily a baritone saxophonist, Mulligan was also an accomplished pianist, and could play too numerous other reed instruments. Although he often worked closely with many other legendary players - including Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington - it was on his albums as bandleader that Mulligan laid the foundations for his continuing legacy. His quartets throughout the early 1950s produced some of the most important recordings of the cool jazz genre, and some of the very best of these were released during his tenure at Pacific Jazz records, between 1952 and 1959.
Gerald Joseph Mulligan was born in Queens Village, New York on 6th April 1927. His family, which included three older brothers, moved to Marion, Ohio, when Gerry was less than a year old. Struggling to cope with raising four sons, his mother hired an African-American nanny, Lily Rose, who grew particularly fond of the youngest Mulligan. It was through her that Gerry first discovered the music of black musicians, and as he grew older he began to spend time at her house, where he was fascinated by her pianola – a piano that ‘plays itself’ by way of a perforated roll. He took up the instrument proper when he was seven, soon moving on to clarinet. He began learning saxophone at age 14, after his family moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, where he studied under dance band musician Sammy Correnti. When he was 16, he approached Johnny Warrington at WCAU radio in Philadelphia, who was so impressed by Mulligan’s arrangements that he began purchasing them for the station’s house band. After dropping out of high school in his senior year, Gerry worked as an arranger for a multitude of artists, including Tommy Tucker, Elliot Lawrence, Gene Krupa and Claude Thornhill.
In 1946 Mulligan moved to New York where his first big break came when he was invited to join Miles Davis’ nonet in September 1948. Although only undertaking a handful of live performances at this time, Davis brought the group together on three occasions to record what would eventually be released as Birth Of The Cool (Capitol, 1957), one of the most important jazz albums ever. Despite the album containing three tracks written and arranged by Mulligan - ‘Rocker’, ‘Venus De Milo’ and ‘Jeru’ - stable employment opportunities remained scarce on the New York scene, and in spring 1952 he moved to the West Coast. He began arranging for Stan Kenton’s Orchestra, and it was while performing on an off-night at The Haig club in Hollywood that Mulligan met the young Chet Baker, and their relationship would go on to become one of the most important pairings in jazz history.
It was the interplay between the two musicians that brought new attention to their music. Playing in a quartet without a pianist - highly unusual for the time - their ability to predict and compliment each other’s solos could appear almost supernatural. This astonishing technique can be heard best on Mulligan’s first releases for Pacific Jazz: Gerry Mulligan Quartet Vol. 1 (1952) and Vol. 2 (1953), as well as on a collection of recordings featuring alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, released as Lee Konitz Plays With The Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1957). Unfortunately, even though they enjoyed great success as a group, the Mulligan/Baker incarnation of the quartet was short-lived. In mid-1953, Gerry Mulligan was imprisoned following narcotics charges, and although he was released shortly afterwards, by this time Baker had found stardom on his own terms, and declined an invitation to reunite.
Gerry Mulligan however recorded a staggering number of albums over the next decade including the magnificent trio of live records Paris Concert (Pacific Jazz, 1955), California Concerts (Pacific Jazz, 1955) and Recorded In Boston At Storyville (Pacific Jazz, 1957), which featured the likes of Zoot Sims on tenor saxophone, Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone, Red Mitchell on bass and Chico Hamilton on drums. This series was followed by three LPs for subsidiary label World Pacific: a collection of Mulligan’s own compositions entitled The Gerry Mulligan Songbook (1958), Reunion With Chet Baker (1959) which saw the return of his former sparring partner, and the vocal jazz collaboration Annie Ross Sings A Song With Mulligan! (1959).These were his last albums for the label, and he went on to recorded for Verve, Columbia and Limelight over the following decade.
This collection, spanning four CDs, containing in completion over five hours of music, collates Gerry Mulligan’s output for the Pacific Jazz label. Featuring nine original LPs, all remastered to the highest possible quality and spanning his output from his earliest 10” records for the label to his final albums – put out by their World Pacific arm - contained within are some of the most important records in the development of West Coast jazz, a selection that has guided and informed this sub-genre since. Featuring appearances too from Chet Baker, Bob Brookmeyer, Zoot Sims, Lee Konitz and Chico Hamilton among others, this compilation serves as the perfect introduction to this esteemed musician and arranger, and as a welcome reminder of how the great Gerry Mulligan fitted into and helped develop the entire history of post-WW2 American music.


CD 1
1 Frenesi 3:09  
2 Freeway 2:46  
3 Soft Shoe 2:39  
4 Aren't You Glad You're You 2:53  
5 Bernie's Tune 2:53  
6 Walkin' Shoes 3:13  
7 Nights At The Turntable 2:54  
8 Lullaby of the Leaves 3:14  
9 I May Be Wrong 2:52  
10 I'm Beginning To See The Light 3:36  
11 The Nearness Of You 2:52  
12 Tea For Two 2:48  
13 Love Me Or Leave Me 2:45  
14 Jeru 2:31  
15 Darn The Dream 3:50  
16 Swinghouse 2:55  
17 Come Out Wherever You Are 3:05  
18 Five Brothers 3:57  
19 Laura 4:32  
20 Love Me Or Leave Me/Utter Chaos 6:00  
21 Bernie's Tune 4:38  
22 Walkin' Shoes 5:04  
23 Moonlight In Vermont 3:20  
24 The Lady Is A Tramp/Utter Chaos 4:37  

CD 2
1 Blues Going Up 4:59  
2 Little Girl Blue 5:06  
3 Piano Blues 5:34  
4 Yardbird Suite 5:33  
5 Western Union 7:16  
6 I Know, Don't Know How 5:29  
7 The Red Door 7:14  
8 I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me 3:09  
9 Broadway 2:57  
10 Almost Like Being In Love 2:59  
11 Sextet 3:01  
12 Lady Be Good 2:32  
13 Too Marvelous For Words 3:44  
14 Lover Man 3:07  
15 I'll Remember April 4:15  
16 These Foolish Things 3:29  
17 All The Things You Are 3:56  

CD 3
1 Bweebida Bwobbida 6:39  
2 Birth Of The Blues 4:38  
3 Baubles, Bangles And Beads 3:29  
4 Rustic Hop 4:51  
5 Open Country 5:45  
6 Storyville Story 5:37  
7 That Old Feeling 4:09  
8 Bike Up The Strand/Utter Chaos 6:22  
9 Four And One Moore 4:26  
10 Crazy Day 7:07  
11 Turnstile 7:56  
12 Sextet 4:21  
13 Disc Jockey Jump 4:38  
14 Venus De Milo 5:11  
15 Revelation 5:03  

CD 4
1 Reunion 4:06  
2 My Heart Belongs To Daddy 4:12  
3 When Your Lover Has Gone 5:07  
4 Stardust 4:43  
5 Jersey Bounce 4:27  
6 Surrey With The Fringe On Top 4:42  
7 Trav'lin Light 3:41  
8 Ornithology 5:11  
9 I Feel Pretty 3:35  
10 How About You? 2:52  
11 I've Grown Accustomed To Your Face 3:02  
12 This Time The Dream's On Me 3:24  
13 Let There Be Love 3:45  
14 All Of You 2:20  
15 Give Me The Simple Life 3:36  
16 This Is Always 4:21  
17 Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea 3:42  
18 It Don't Mean A Thing 2:11

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