As record bins aren’t exactly overflowing with recordings by Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band, almost any new evidence of the ensemble’s remarkable prowess is welcome, even if playing time isn’t overly generous, recording quality is uneven, the choice of material prosaic, and the album’s subtitle, “featuring Zoot Sims,” alludes to only two tracks. If that sounds like a pan, it isn’t. Even when reciting tunes they could probably have played in their sleep, Mulligan’s sidemen were consistently awe–inspiring, an impression that is reinforced time and again during this exuberant concert date taped more than 40 years ago for broadcast on Swiss Radio. Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer are the dominant soloists with Gene Quill, Don Ferrara, Conte Candoli and Jim Reider not far behind. As for Zoot, his show–stopping entree, as usual, is Mulligan’s spicy “Apple Core,” and while he’s typically brash and impulsive, we’ve heard him play it better. Not that he plays badly; Zoot couldn’t do that even on purpose. His encore number is Ben Webster’s loping blues, “Go Home,” on which he shares solo honors with Jeru and Brookmeyer. The CJB also performs Mulligan’s “Utter Chaos,” “Motel” and “Walkin’ Shoes,” Johnny Mandel’s “Black Nightgown” (from the film I Want to Live ), Brookmeyer’s arrangement of Rodgers and Hart’s “You Took Advantage of Me” and from another film, Anatomy of a Murder, Duke Ellington’s “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’.” The CJB was one of the most renowned ensembles of its day, and its few recordings, even when less than perfect, are always worth hearing. Zurich 1960 is no exception.
Contact:TCB Music SA, Cité–Centre, Grand Rue 92/5, CH–1820, Montreux 1, Switzerland. Phone +41+21+966 55 90; fax +41+21+966 55 92; web site, www.tcb.ch; e–mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Track Listing: Utter Chaos; You Took Advantage of Me; Black Nightgown; Motel; Walkin
Personnel: Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax, leader; Conte Candoli, Nick Travis, Don Ferrara, trumpet; Bob Donovan, alto sax; Gene Quill, alto sax, clarinet; Zoot Sims, Jim Reider, tenor sax; Gene Allan, baritone sax, bass clarinet; Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Willie Dennis, slide trombone; Alan Ralph, bass trombone; Buddy Clark, bass; Mel Lewis, drums.