Mulligan in His Twilight Years
dwood78 | Long Beach, CA USA | 11/30/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Gerry Mulligan's one of the best baritone saxophonists, 2nd only to Harry Carney. He had a cool & relaxing tone on his instrument much like Stan Getz had on the tenor sax & Paul Desmond on alto.
Originally released on A&M in 1990, 6 years before his passing, this album shows Mulligan still playing well as he enters his twilight years. The LP starts out with a trip to Brazil with the samba-favored opener. Other upbeat tunes include "Ring Around a Bright Star" & "The Flying Scotsman." The rest of the tracks are either mid tempo like "Good Neighbor Thelonious" (obviously named after jazz pianist/composer Monk), or the laid back easy-listening jazz that he's been known for since his cool jazz days of the 1950s like the title track, "Splendor in the Grass" (the only tune in the LP not written by Mulligan), "Wallflower" (which sounds like it could have been written by either Ellington, Strayhorn or both) or the closer which has a Baroque feel to it.
Also of note is the fact that Mulligan has a pianist here. While he rarely has one in his bands, he uses one regularly in his later years. The pianist here, Bill Charlap does a great job being behind Mulligan, not grabbing the spotlight too much while at the same time adding great chord changes & providing some good solos.
Recent re-issues from Verve have just the original liner notes in a digi-pak & this is no exception. While not one of Mulligan best works, this is still a well done LP & it's great to see it's finally available on CD again."