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The Original Quartet With Chet Baker [2-CD SET]
Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker
The Original Quartet With Chet Baker [2-CD SET]
Genres: Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

The pianoless Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which launched the careers of Mulligan, Chet Baker and Chico Hamilton, lasted only one year (June of '52-'53). These two remastered CDs cover all 42 tracks that the quartet recorded fo...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Gerry Mulligan, Chet Baker
Title: The Original Quartet With Chet Baker [2-CD SET]
Members Wishing: 7
Total Copies: 0
Label: Blue Note Records
Original Release Date: 7/14/1998
Release Date: 7/14/1998
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Style: Cool Jazz
Number of Discs: 2
SwapaCD Credits: 2
UPC: 724349440722


Album Description
The pianoless Gerry Mulligan Quartet, which launched the careers of Mulligan, Chet Baker and Chico Hamilton, lasted only one year (June of '52-'53). These two remastered CDs cover all 42 tracks that the quartet recorded for Pacific Jazz in that one year in which the band invented itself, evolved, hit the big time and then disappeared. Recorded live at the Haig and in various studios, this music is essential modern jazz.

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CD Reviews

The Essential West-Coast Jazz Recording
James Bunnelle | 05/05/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The Gerry Mulligan Quartet, though only together for eleven months or so, produced some of the best postwar jazz of the day, despite the occasional insults from jazz journalists and bebop loyalists. This set contains pretty much everything. It's a streamlined econo-buy of the excellent Complete Recordings 4-CD set that came out two or three years ago (and when they said "Limited Edition", they meant it; it was out of print in a matter of months). Although the packaging of this product leaves much to be desired, especially when compared to the gorgeous 4-CD set, it contains all of the same tracks sans the outtakes, Mulligan and Baker's REUNION album, and the sessions they cut playing back-up for Annie Ross (now finally available as a Japanese import entitled ANNIE ROSS SINGS A SONG WITH MULLIGAN). Much has been written on the genesis behind Mulligan's founding of his "pianoless" quartet and their early gigs at the Haig, but these recordings speak for themselves. After some mediocre demos, which show Mulligan still struggling with the absence of the piano's harmony, the quartet hits perfection with "Bernie's Tune", soon followed by "Nights at the Turntable", "Swinghouse", "Freeway" and "Walkin' Shoes". This is Chet Baker at his early creative peak, before the drugs and vocal sessions kicked-in, and, until his later days, he rarely hit such heights again. The lyrical counterpoints he and Mulligan engage in are as hypnotizing as they are subtle. Likewise, Chico Hamilton's drumming is truly amazing, and why his subsequent Pacific Jazz recordings are not available domestically is beyond me. The entire band fits together like a tight machine, often rushing ahead full-force in a tone barely audible. Of course, if one is a purist and anal about maintaining the design and song structure of the original recording, as I am, then you ought to buy the Pacific Jazz Japanese import entitled simply THE GERRY MULLIGAN QUARTET. This features not only 20-bit mapping, but also the original cover art, an overhead photograph of the band taken by William Claxton. I can't imagine what Pacific was thinking when they opted for this new goofy collage over such a fantastic black-and-white photograph. But I digress--if you want quantity and don't want to shuck out the bucks for an import, this is the disc for you."
A Cornerstone of Modern Jazz
Richard B. Luhrs | Jackson Heights, NY United States | 05/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The quartet that baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan formed with trumpeter Chet Baker in Los Angeles in 1952 enjoyed considerable popular success during its single year of existence; but as this complete collection of the band's Pacific Jazz sides proves, flash in this case had a solid grounding in substance. The simple - if decidedly unorthodox - decision not to employ a piano, thereby eliminating his harmonic center, pushed Mulligan to the very forefront of jazz's postwar development, and resulted in some of the most sparkling and tuneful performances in the history of the genre.
Starting with the leader's very first (pre-Baker) California recordings, GERRY MULLIGAN QUARTET traces the rapid evolution of this gifted group's sound, sensibility and personnel (An early version of the unit included a pianist but no drummer!), allowing listeners to share in the excitement these young men must have felt as they recorded three-minute masterpieces like "Lullaby of the Leaves" and "Soft Shoe" - pivotal works which sound as fresh, and dare I say it as important, today as they ever could have in their own era. Oft-covered warhorses "Makin' Whoopee," "My Old Flame" and "Darn that Dream" get spectacular makeovers here - the last in two different versions from which I defy anyone to pick a favorite. The live sets which made Mulligan's and Baker's reputations are well represented too, with bouncers like "Poinciana" balanced by such moody classics as "My Funny Valentine" and Mulligan's own "Funhouse." It's all here.
...Well, almost all. Those duly enchanted by this generous collection should seek out OJC's GERRY MULLIGAN QUARTET/CHUBBY JACKSON BIG BAND disc, REUNION and KONITZ MEETS MULLIGAN for more of these major musicians' efforts; all are well worth it."
This is 50's jazz at it's finest
M. L. Tanner | 07/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Chet Baker has received so much criticism for being an imitation of Miles Davis. I am tired of hearing it. This CD proves to the world what an amazing musician and eloquent instrumentalist Chet truly was. The first few tracks on the CD are somewhat shaky, but once the CD hits it groove (about the middle of disc one), it never lets up. It is fabulous. These two men, despite their personal differences, made beautiful music together. This CD is worth every penny."