Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Dream a Little Dream
Genres: Jazz, Pop
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A Little "Jeru" in the Night
Tom Schusterbauer | West Bloomfield, Michigan United States | 01/08/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"An early photo of composer, band leader, and baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan shows, in profile, the almost impossibly thin and lanky artist holding his sax. Both player and instrument seem to melt into each other,the same eye-catching shape.A perfect tribute to Mulligan because no one in jazz history is more closely linked to the bari than he. "Jeru," as Miles Davis nicknamed him, almost single handedly made the bari a jazz instrument, coaxing out of this unwieldy instrument a now-playful, now-elegant, always-recognizable signature sound. In addition he composed some of jazz's most popular melodies--Line for Lyons,Walking Shoes,Utter Chaos--, pretty much invented the piano-less quartet, and was a sideman and leader for almost five decades.Recorded in 1994, Dream a Little Dream is one of his last efforts. And what this recording makes clear is that, even though Mulligan was probably seriously ill by this time, he was no lion in winter, already faded and past his prime.Mulligan's quartet breathes new life into some of his compositions, including Walking Shoes. But this cd is really about Mulligan taking one final pass at some of American music's classics. Georgia on my Mind, My Funny Valentine (a tune oft-recorded by Mulligan groups of various sizes), and My Shining Hour are all here, in versions long enough for the players to stretch a little, in versions that remind us of what a wonderfully lyrical and introspective player Jeru could be. Even Mama Cass's Dream a Little Dream works splendidly, not coming off as filler, but, rather, as the perfect example of what a great jazz artist can do with what appears to be a mundane piece of music. The quartet swings lightly through the tune, giving it an easy grace that we never heard before.But for my money, it is Mulligan's treatments of Here's That Rainy Day and his own Song for Strayhorn that make this cd invaluable. There is such a bittersweet melancholy to Mulligan's bari in "Rainy Day," nothing morose, but a sense of much painful wisdom gained the hard way. Mulligan lets us feel the rain, the grey, the regret.Song for Strayhorn is, of course, Mulligan's hommage to the great Billy Strayhorn, Ellington's alter ego and composer of some of the classic tunes that most people associate with Ellington. Mulligan's composition is very much like Strayhorn-- witty, graceful, introspective. The quartet and Mulligan's sax work wonders here. You can almost see and here the elegance that was Billy Strayhorn.On a recent tribute to Mulligan,saxophonist Bud Shanks plays a cd's worth of great Jeru compositions. To the play list, Shanks offers a new piece, After You, Jeru. The point, it seems to me,is that after Mulligan, the jazz world will be hard pressed to come up with a composer, a leader, a baritone player with so many gifts and so much life as Mulligan brought to the table.The cd is almost eight years old. My review is the first. If you know Mulligan, if you don't, buy this cd--the whimsical cover art,and, of course, the art inside will make you love, admire, and miss the great Gerry Mulligan."
Jeru - The Bari Sax Genius in Old, but Golden Age
Donnie The B | USA | 09/25/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Until recently, I shied away from buying the music of my jazz heroes recorded in their old age. Well, there was no reason to avoid Mulligan near the end. He was so much better here than on the 1949 "Birth Of The Cool" album, for instance. I guess an extra 45 years of practice were worth it!
I found his sidemen to be quite accomplished as well and the tunes to be better fleshed out melodically than many jazz recordings. This is actually a must-have for Mulligan fans - and not a bad sampling of what Gerry was like in a small group for casual fans."