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Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan grew up in Philadelphia and first learned piano, which he played occasionally. While in his teens, he wrote arrangements for Johnny Warrington's radio band (1944) and played reed instruments professionally. After moving to New York in 1946, he joined Gene Krupa's big band as staff arranger, attracting attention with his Disc Jockey Jump (1947). He then became involved with the nascent cool-jazz movement in New York, taking part in the performances (1948) and recording sessions (1949-50) of Miles Davis' nonet and contributing scores to the big bands of Elliot Lawrence and Claude Thornhill. By this time, he was specializing in baritone saxophone and playing in groups with Kai Winding and others. He also wrote scores for Stan Kenton's band and recorded with his own tentet (1951), which was modeled on Davis's ensemble.

In 1952, Mulligan, then based in Los Angeles, formed his first "piano-less" quartet, with Chet Baker on trumpet. The group was instantaneously successful and brought Baker and Mulligan international acclaim. Mulligan led a new tentet and various versions of the quartet throughout the mid-1950s. He made a sensational appearance at the Salle Pleyel in Paris in 1954 and began dominating jazz opinion polls for his instrument. In 1960, he organized his own 13-piece concert jazz band with which he toured Europe in that year and Japan in 1964. After it disbanded, he became an active sideman, working often with Dave Brubeck (1968-72) and as a freelance arranger for other jazz groups. He formed a new 14-piece big band, the Age of Steam, in 1972, and was artist-in-residence at Miami University in 1974.

From 1974 to 1977, Mulligan led a sextet that included Dave Samuels, and during this period he worked regularly in New York and Italy. Around the same time he began playing soprano saxophone. He formed a 14-piece band in 1978 and toured with it into the following year. During the early 1980s, he made recordings as a leader in New York that involved experiments with a 20-piece big band (1980) and electronic instruments (1982-3), but in 1986 he returned to a more familiar format as the leader of a quintet with Scott Hamilton and Grady Tate.

Mulligan is among the most versatile figures in modern jazz. Although slow to develop as an instrumentalist, he has long been recognized as the most important baritone saxophonist in jazz since Harry Carney. Besides the cool idiom that he helped to create, he is equally at home in a big-band, bop, or even Dixieland context (playing clarinet in the latter), and his excellent recordings with musicians as varied as Johnny Hodges and Thelonious Monk show an unusual musical adaptability.

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Book Review

The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets

Read "The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets" reviewed by Ian Patterson


The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets Alyn Shipton240 Pages ISBN: 978-0197579763 Oxford University Press 2023 Several are the biographies of Gerry Mulligan, arguably jazz's most celebrated baritone saxophonist. None, however, have focused as specifically and as closely as this tome does on the quartets with which Mulligan made his name in the 1950s. Such focused, detailed analysis is the bread and butter of author Alyn Shipton and Oxford University Press. Shipton, BBC ...

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Radio & Podcasts

Are Ten Enough?

Read "Are Ten Enough?" reviewed by Patrick Burnette


The boys have been at this podcasting game for ten years now (plus a few “bonus" episodes) and celebrate with a tenth anniversary show dedicated to--what else?--tentets. And yes, spell-check, “tentet" is a real word. We journey from the 1950's to the right-now's in quest of ensembles too big to be a combo, too small to be a “big" band, and generally like what we find.Playlist Discussion of Gerry Mulligan' album Gene Norman Presents the Original Gerry Mulligan ...

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Radio & Podcasts

Gerry Mulligan, Adam Price & More

Read "Gerry Mulligan, Adam Price & More" reviewed by Joe Dimino


This week we begin with a profile of a the fresh jazz sounds out of the United Kingdom with The Beats and Pieces Big Band featuring the group's leader Ben Cottrell off their latest commemorative CD simply entitled Ten. It celebrates a full decade of their groundbreaking jazz groove. The hour continues with a mincing of both the old and the new, including legends like Billy May and Gerry Mulligan. The show continues with a highlight of ...

1
Film Review

Gerry Mulligan with Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra

Read "Gerry Mulligan with Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


Gerry Mulligan Gerry Mulligan with Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra M.A.P. Editions 2015 Valutazione: * * * ½ Com'è noto Gerry Mulligan non è stato solo uno dei massimi esponenti del sax baritono nel jazz ma anche un magistrale compositore e orchestratore. Basterebbe solo ricordare che all'età di 22 anni, partecipando all'incisione di Birth of the Cool, scrisse e arrangiò capolavori come “Jeru," “Venus de Milo," “Rocker" e orchestrò “Godchild," “Deception" e “Darn That Dream." Un ...

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The Vinyl Post

Gerry Mulligan: The Emarcy Sextet Recordings

Read "Gerry Mulligan: The Emarcy Sextet Recordings" reviewed by C. Andrew Hovan


While there are many reasons why the cool jazz movement on the west coast was a somewhat short-lived era, one of the key aspects of its quiet demise was the decidedly harder-edged music coming out of New York at about the same time period. Back around 1955, hard bop was making its ascendency and this might shed some light on how it's possible for the great music recorded by Gerry Mulligan's sextet to have been so blatantly ignored. Truth be ...

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Album Review

National Jazz Ensemble: Featuring Gerry Mulligan

Read "Featuring Gerry Mulligan" reviewed by Jack Bowers


Any new CD whose cover proclaims “Featuring Gerry Mulligan" is guaranteed to turn heads, raise antennae and whip up interest. This one, on which Mulligan performs with the then-three-year-old National Jazz Ensemble, was recorded February 19, 1977, in a sold-out auditorium at the New School in New York City. In his liner notes, trumpeter David Berger expresses his regret that more than enough people to warrant a second concert (which couldn't be arranged) had to be turned away that evening. ...

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Reassessing

Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious Monk: Mulligan Meets Monk

Read "Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious Monk: Mulligan Meets Monk" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey


Gerry Mulligan & Thelonious MonkMulligan Meets MonkOJC2013 (1957) The beauty of the Concord Music Group's treasure trove of a catalog is that it will always provide material for the “Reassessing" column at All About Jazz and similar columns elsewhere. The newest round of re-releases celebrate the 60th anniversary of Riverside Records. Riverside Records was founded by Orrin Keepnews and Bill Grauer in 1953, remaining a major force in jazz recording in ...

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Recording

Backgrounder: Gerry Mulligan - Jeru

Backgrounder: Gerry Mulligan - Jeru

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

"Jeru" is a nickname Miles Davis came up with for baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan in the late 1940s when they were rehearsing the Miles Davis Nonet. The recordings they made between 1949 and 1950 would eventually wind up on a Capitol compilation album entitled Birth of the Cool. Jeru is also the title of an album that Mulligan recorded for Columbia in June 1962. Here's the personnel: Gerry Mulligan (bar), Tommy Flanagan (p), Ben Tucker (b), Dave Bailey (d) and ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Gerry Mulligan's birthday today!

Gerry Mulligan grew up in Philadelphia and first learned piano, which he played occasionally. While in his teens, he wrote arrangements for Johnny Warrington's radio band (1944) and played reed instruments professionally. After moving to New York in 1946, he joined Gene Krupa's big band as staff arranger, attracting attention with his Disc Jockey Jump (1947). He then became involved with the nascent cool-jazz movement in New York, taking part in ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Gerry Mulligan's birthday today!

Gerry Mulligan grew up in Philadelphia and first learned piano, which he played occasionally. While in his teens, he wrote arrangements for Johnny Warrington's radio band (1944) and played reed instruments professionally. After moving to New York in 1946, he joined Gene Krupa's big band as staff arranger, attracting attention with his Disc Jockey Jump (1947). He then became involved with the nascent cool-jazz movement in New York, taking part in ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Gerry Mulligan's birthday today!

Gerry Mulligan grew up in Philadelphia and first learned piano, which he played occasionally. While in his teens, he wrote arrangements for Johnny Warrington's radio band (1944) and played reed instruments professionally. After moving to New York in 1946, he joined Gene Krupa's big band as staff arranger, attracting attention with his Disc Jockey Jump (1947). He then became involved with the nascent cool-jazz movement in New York, taking part in ...

Video / DVD

Five Videos: Gerry Mulligan

Five Videos: Gerry Mulligan

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan was a potent artist whose reach extended into many different areas of jazz across six decades. As a dominant arranger and player in the 1940s, he influenced big bands led by Gene Krupa, Elliot Lawrence and Claude Thornhill, fusing bop and swing. In 1949 and '50, he was a member of Miles Davis's so-called Birth of the Cool band as a player, arranger and composer. In the early 1950s, he formed a contrapuntal pianoless quartet on ...

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Gerry Mulligan's birthday today!

Gerry Mulligan grew up in Philadelphia and first learned piano, which he played occasionally. While in his teens, he wrote arrangements for Johnny Warrington's radio band (1944) and played reed instruments professionally. After moving to New York in 1946, he joined Gene Krupa's big band as staff arranger, attracting attention with his Disc Jockey Jump (1947). He then became involved with the nascent cool-jazz movement in New York, taking part in ...

Video / DVD

10 Tributes to Gerry Mulligan

10 Tributes to Gerry Mulligan

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Gerry Mulligan's contributions to jazz are monumental. As an arranger, the baritone saxophonist pulled drummer and bandleader Gene Krupa into the bebop era in the mid-1940s, gave bandleader Claude Thornhill a hip sound in the late 1940s, made major contributions to the Miles Davis “Birth of the Cool" recording sessions at the tail end of the '40s, created a revolutionary pianoless quartet with Chet Baker in Los Angeles in 1952, influenced arrangers Bill Holman and Shorty Rogers on the West ...

1

Video / DVD

Listen: Gerry Mulligan Doc

Listen: Gerry Mulligan Doc

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

Baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan was exceptional. He was an arranger, composer, lyricist, singer, conductor, pianist, jazz-movement transformer, educator, a bandleader and an actor. Shortly after Mulligan's death in 1996, director Thor Raxlen released Listen: Gerry Mulligan, a documentary sponsored by the Library of Congress and produced by his wife, Franca Rota Mulligan. It runs an hour and a half and looks at his contribution to jazz and his love for life and music. It will move you to tears in ...

1

Birthday

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Jazz Musician of the Day: Gerry Mulligan

Source: Michael Ricci

All About Jazz is celebrating Gerry Mulligan's birthday today!

Gerry Mulligan grew up in Philadelphia and first learned piano, which he played occasionally. While in his teens, he wrote arrangements for Johnny Warrington\'s radio band (1944) and played reed instruments professionally. After moving to New York in 1946, he joined Gene Krupa\'s big band as staff arranger, attracting attention with his Disc Jockey Jump (1947). He then became involved with the nascent cool-jazz movement in New York... Read more.

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Video / DVD

Birth of the West Coast Cool

Birth of the West Coast Cool

Source: JazzWax by Marc Myers

In late 1949 and '50, the Miles Davis Nonet recorded 12 songs in New York that were arranged by Davis, Gil Evans, John Carisi, John Lewis and Gerry Mulligan. The music was unusual in that it seemed to apply the relaxed feel of the Claude Thornhill Orchestra to bebop. Of the dozen songs recorded in January 1949, April 1949 and March 1950, only six were released by Capitol in the 78rpm era. Jeru and Godchild were paired, along with Move and ...

Ted Hogarth
saxophone, baritone
Leigh Pilzer
saxophone, baritone
Jack Furlong
saxophone, baritone
Melanie Howell-Brooks
saxophone, baritone
Roberto Spadoni
composer / conductor
Mick Foster
saxophone
David Larsen
saxophone, baritone
Pam Fong
saxophone, baritone
Stratøs
saxophone, tenor
Wolfram Goebel
saxophone, tenor
Chuck Currie
woodwinds

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