Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

127

Gerry Mulligan/Thelonious Monk: Mulligan Meets Monk

David Rickert By

Sign in to view read count
Gerry Mulligan/Thelonious Monk: Mulligan Meets Monk Mulligan Meets Monk captures one of the most improbable encounters in jazz, one artist the standard bearer for the conservative cool school, the other a peddler of a more liberal style of jazz. Both were mavericks in their own way, and there’s an interesting symmetry in their approaches: Mulligan exploring the freedom available without a piano, Monk delving into new territory with one. However, the real appeal of the session is the “will this work, or won’t it?” quality that the encounter promises, and one can’t be blamed for assuming that it is Mulligan that must rise to the occasion rather than Monk.

Since “’Round Midnight” is a tune that by this time all jazzmen could play in their sleep, one must wait for the later tunes to see if Mulligan can handle his duties. However, we shouldn’t have been concerned; ever the chameleon, Mulligan manages to navigate the nooks and crannies, smoothing over the angles while staying true to the changes and the spirit of the composition. The song selection consists of the most conventional of Monk tunes, avoiding the more rigorous material like “Criss Cross,” yet there’s still an undeniable challenge to playing with Monk, and Mulligan proves that he can find footing in the pianist’s odd rhythmic accents and knotted chords.

Although the songbook belongs to Monk, this is clearly Mulligan’s session, and Mulligan Plays Monk may have been a more accurate title. Although the pianist takes a few solos, he seems content to stay in the background as accompanist or to lay out altogether, only really putting his personal stamp on Mulligan’s “Decidedly,” which comes off sounding like another Monk tune. Monk veterans Wilbur Ware and Shadow Wilson turn in their usual fine performances. This album will likely appeal more to Mulligan fans slightly more than Monk fans, for this is a great Mulligan album and a merely good Monk album. Nevertheless, worth picking up just to see what was going on that day.


Track Listing: 1. 'Round Midnight 2. Rhythm-A-Ning 3. Sweet and Lovely 4. Decidedly 5. Straight, No Chaser 6. I Mean You 7. Decidedly (alt. take) 8. Straight, No Chaser (alt. take) 9. I Mean You (alt. take) 10. I Mean You (alt. take).

Personnel: Gerry Mulligan-baritone saxophone; Thelonious Monk-piano; Wilbur Ware-bass; Shadow Wilson-drums.

Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Fantasy Jazz | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "Escualo" CD/LP/Track Review Escualo
by Duncan Heining
Published: November 24, 2016
Read "Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald" CD/LP/Track Review Songbook Sessions: Ella Fitzgerald
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 26, 2016
Read "Regards To You II" CD/LP/Track Review Regards To You II
by Geannine Reid
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Dream Keeper" CD/LP/Track Review Dream Keeper
by Roger Farbey
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet" CD/LP/Track Review Parodies: Jazz Music for Violin and Octet
by Eyal Hareuveni
Published: March 21, 2016
Read "Live In Ludwigshafen 1961" CD/LP/Track Review Live In Ludwigshafen 1961
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 21, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!