Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Gerry Mulligan Quartet featuring Chet Baker
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Listen to Samples
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Kicking off West Coast modern & Chubby's big band
Bomojaz | South Central PA, USA | 06/09/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This CD is a compilation of two separate recording sessions, one led by Gerry Mulligan with Chet Baker on trumpet, the other by the Chubby Jackson Big Band. Half the Mulligan-Baker quartet material was recorded at the Black Hawk in San Francisco in September 1952, the other half four months later in LA. The personnel remains the same for both. The two horn men, along with Carson Smith (b) and Chico Hamilton (d) were laying down the foundation of what soon would be referred to as West Coast or Cool jazz, a sound just as swinging as its East coast rival, but tempered somewhat by a more introspective rhythm approach (the use of brushes over sticks by the drummer, for example) and in the case of this group, no piano. Many who disparage West Coast jazz make the claim that it was cold, pensive, and unswinging, which makes one wonder if such people ever really listened to the music. Such tunes as BARK FOR BARKSDALE, TURNSTILE, and LIMELIGHT are modern dynamos, far from retiring wallflowers. Baker, who supposedly couldn't read music, is truly inspired on these early sides.
The Jackson sides were recorded at one session for Prestige in 1950 in New York and feature an all-star modern big band, including Mulligan (bar sax) Howard McGhee (tp) Zoot Sims (ts) JJ Johnson (tb) and Jackson (b) among many other top players. Best might be the up-tempo rouser FLYING THE COOP, written by Tiny Kahn, a performance that sets the band off well, especially Sims and Johnson. I MAY BE WRONG is also a great tune done to perfection here, thanks to Mulligan's playing and arranging.
The music on this CD is fresh and exciting. The playing is top-notch. This is a must-have CD for anyone interested in modern jazz, especially during its earlier years.
Matthew Watters | Vietnam | 06/19/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The redoubtable folks at OJC did this music a disservice with the awful cover design. Instead of following their usual practice of reproducing the original cover art, they have reduced the cover art of this album to an inset and then added this really awful typography. It's even in error, as guitarist Billy Bauer is nowhere in evidence on these sides. Venturing within, the disc draws additional suspicion by bringing together two VERY different sets of music, united only by the participation of Gerry Mulligan. All these quibbles aside, this music is tremendous. The first half of the disc are the original Fantasy Records sides from 1952 by the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker, Carson Smith, and Chico Hamilton. This music is justifiably legendary. Baker plays sublimely with none of his later intonation problems, and he and Mulligan mix into a very smooth musical cocktail. But what really makes these tunes fizz is the rather miraculous drumming of Chico Hamilton. He adds an array of textures to this pianoless quartet that'll leave you giddy. And the sound quality of these sides, some recorded in mono with just a single microphone, is simply astonishing. They're right in the room with you, sixty years on. Moving onto the second half of the disc, we are suddenly immersed in the big band maelstrom of largely forgotten bassist/band leader Chubby Jackson, leading an early supergroup of sorts, a swinging but boppish big band recording in 1949-50 in the ilk of the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra. Mulligan is the arranger of a couple of tunes and a soloist on a couple others but hardly the focus of this set, which also includes Zoot Sims, J.J. Johnson, Howard McGhee, Kai Winding and a host of your favourite stars. This stuff doesn't belong together, but it's generously packaged together by OJC and sure to move you."