300

Gerry Mulligan: The Art Of Gerry Mulligan: The Final Recordings

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
Five years after his last album was recorded, Gerry Mulligan’s sound once again is being released by Telarc Jazz on a compilation of re-releases from his last albums. The Art Of Gerry Mulligan: The Final Recordings not only shows that Mulligan’s unparalleled talent for accessible improvisation remained intact, even as his health declined, but also suggests that his wide range of creative interests remained unpredictable.

Musically curious throughout his lifetime, Mulligan didn’t find comfort in a niche from which he wouldn’t budge, as less imaginative artists sometimes do. Instead, he continued to explore alternative forms, as the three albums of the compilation suggest: Latin jazz on Paraiso, standard quartet interpretations of standards and Mulligan’s original compositions on Dream A Little Dream and the employment of a bass ensemble (not to mention John Scofield and Grover Washington, Jr.) on Dragonfly.

Floating through songs like “Wave” or “North Atlantic Rim,” Mulligan plays liltingly in unison or in accompaniment with singer Jane Duboc, quite a feat considering the difficulty of playing his instrument in what is basically in tenor range. On “Wave,” Mulligan floats through the tune with his well-known melodic capacity, creating the path for Duboc and the Brazilian musicians to follow after the key change.

The tracks from Dragonfly pursue a bluesier and more bop-based style. “Brother Blues” and “Dragonfly” remind us of the depth of the loss when Mulligan and Grover Washington, Jr. passed away only a few years apart. Washington is in his element on tenor sax in the blues, trading choruses with Mulligan. In addition, Washington’s soprano sax work on “Dragonfly,” as Mulligan softly weaves his way into the second chorus harmonically behind Washington, recalls his Winelight sound without the saccharine contemporary approach. Mulligan’s composition, “Art Of Trumpet,” sets up the opportunity for Ryan Kisor to solo with a rich and flowing arrangement involving lower brass accents evoking Mulligan’s experience with Claude Thornhill.

And then Dream A Little Dream records Mulligan’s last great group with Ted Rosenthal on piano, Dean Johnson on bass and Ron Vincent on drums. While it’s certainly a showcase for Mulligan to surge lyrically through several standards, Rosenthal contributes in no small part to the success of the recordings as he meets Mulligan’s demands for a more orchestral approach to piano. As part of the remembrance of Mulligan, Rosenthal led last year’s Mulligan tribute band that included Bob Brookmeyer and Lee Konitz. On “My Funny Valentine,” former Mulligan pianist, Bill Mays, rejoins the supreme saxophonist for one last time as they revisit one of the better-known tunes in Mulligan’s songbook.

The final track, “Song For Strayhorn,” written by Mulligan, provides the platform for him to acknowledge the influence of one of jazz’ greatest composers. It allows us to remember the same talents that Mulligan shared with him.

Track Listing: Paraiso; Dragonfly; Dream A Little Dream; Wave; O Bom Alvinho; Noblesse; Nobody Else But Me; Brother Blues; Art Of Trumpet; My Funny Valentine; North Atlantic Run; Oh, Mr. Sauter? Yes, Mr Finegan?; Song For Strayhorn

Personnel: Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Ted Rosenthal, Bill Mays, Dave Grusin, Charlie Ernst, Cliff Korman, piano; Ryan Kisor, trumpet; Grover Washington, Jr., soprano & tenor sax; John Scofield, Emanuel Moreira, guitar; Byron Stripling, Bobby Milliken, flugelhorn & trumpet; Warren Vach

Title: The Art Of Gerry Mulligan: The Final Recordings | Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Telarc Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Another North CD/LP/Track Review Another North
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Gledalec CD/LP/Track Review Gledalec
by John Sharpe
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Flux Reflux CD/LP/Track Review Flux Reflux
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Christmas With Champian CD/LP/Track Review Christmas With Champian
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 19, 2017
Read Harmony of Difference CD/LP/Track Review Harmony of Difference
by Phil Barnes
Published: October 18, 2017
Read No Answer CD/LP/Track Review No Answer
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 18, 2017
Read "From the Nocturnal Chironian" CD/LP/Track Review From the Nocturnal Chironian
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 14, 2017
Read "The Organ Grinder" CD/LP/Track Review The Organ Grinder
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: April 1, 2017
Read "Vitamina D" CD/LP/Track Review Vitamina D
by Budd Kopman
Published: December 28, 2016
Read "Day and Night" CD/LP/Track Review Day and Night
by Jack Bowers
Published: May 18, 2017
Read "Rímur" CD/LP/Track Review Rímur
by Mark Sullivan
Published: May 15, 2017
Read "The Eighth Hour Of Amduat" CD/LP/Track Review The Eighth Hour Of Amduat
by Troy Dostert
Published: January 17, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.