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Gerry Mulligan

The most famous and probably greatest jazz baritonist of all time, Gerry Mulligan was a giant. A flexible soloist who was always ready to jam with anyone from Dixielanders to the most advanced boppers, Mulligan brought a somewhat revolutionary light sound to his potentially awkward and brutal horn and played with the speed and dexterity of an altoist.

Mulligan started on the piano before learning clarinet and the various saxophones. His initial reputation was as an arranger. In 1944 he wrote charts for Johnny Warrington's radio band and soon was making contributions to the books of Tommy Tucker and George Paxton. He moved to New York in 1946 and joined Gene Krupa's Orchestra as a staff arranger; his most notable chart was "Disc Jockey Jump." The rare times he played with Krupa's band was on alto and the same situation existed when he was with Claude Thornhill in 1948.

Gerry Mulligan's first notable recorded work on baritone was with Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool nonet (1948-50) but once again his arrangements ("Godchild," "Darn That Dream" and three of his originals "Jeru," "Rocker" and "Venus de Milo") were more significant than his short solos. Mulligan spent much of 1949 writing for Elliot Lawrence's orchestra and playing anonymously in the saxophone section. It was not until 1951 that he began to get a bit of attention for his work on baritone. Mulligan recorded with his own nonet for Prestige, displaying an already recognizable sound. After he traveled to Los Angeles, he wrote some arrangements for Stan Kenton (including "Youngblood," "Swing House" and "Walking Shoes"), worked at the Lighthouse and then gained a regular Monday night engagement at the Haig. Around this time Mulligan realized that he enjoyed the extra freedom of soloing without a pianist. He jammed with trumpeter Chet Baker and soon their magical rapport was featured in his piano-less quartet. The group caught on quickly in 1952 and made both Mulligan and Baker into stars.

A drug bust put Mulligan out of action and ended that quartet but, when he was released from jail in 1954, Mulligan began a new musical partnership with valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer that was just as successful. Trumpeter Jon Eardley and Zoot Sims on tenor occasionally made the group a sextet and in 1958 trumpeter Art Farmer was featured in Mulligan's Quartet. Being a very flexible player with respect for other stylists, Mulligan went out of his way to record with some of the great musicians he admired. At the 1958 Newport Jazz Festival he traded off with baritonist Harry Carney on "Prima Bara Dubla" while backed by the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and during 1957-60 he recorded separate albums with Thelonious Monk, Paul Desmond, Stan Getz, Ben Webster and Johnny Hodges. Mulligan played on the classic Sound of Jazz television special in 1958 and appeared in the movies I Want to Live and The Subterraneans.

During 1960-64 Mulligan led his Concert Jazz Band which gave him an opportunity to write, play baritone and occasionally double on piano. The orchestra at times included Brookmeyer, Sims, Clark Terry and Mel Lewis. Mulligan was a little less active after the big band broke up but he toured extensively with the Dave Brubeck Quartet (1968-72), had a part-time big band in the 1970s (the Age of Steam), doubled on soprano for a period, led a mid-'70s sextet that included vibraphonist Dave Samuels, and in 1986 jammed on a record with Scott Hamilton. In the 1990s he toured the world with his excellent "no-name" quartet and led a "Rebirth of the Cool Band" that performed and recorded remakes of the Miles Davis Nonet classics. Up until the end, Gerry Mulligan was always eager to play.

Among Mulligan's compositions were "Walkin' Shoes," "Line for Lyons," "Bark for Barksdale," "Nights at the Turntable," "Utter Chaos," "Soft Shoe," "Blueport," "Song for Strayhorn," "Song for an Unfinished Woman" and "I Never Was a Young Man" (which he often sang). He recorded extensively through the years for such labels as Prestige, Pacific Jazz, Capitol, Vogue, EmArcy, Columbia, Verve, Milestone, United Artists, Philips, Limelight, A&M, CTI, Chiaroscuro, Who's Who, DRG, Concord and GRP. ~ Scott Yanow
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Genius Of Gerry Mulligan

1. Get Happy

2. She Didn't Say Yes

3. Bernie's Tune

4. Darn That Dream

5. Five Brothers

6. I Can't Belive That You're In Love

7. Gold Rush

8. Blues For Tiny

9. Polka Dots And Moonbeams

10. Blue At The Roots

11. The Lady's In Love With You

x

Track List: The Great American Song Book

Disc 1

1. My Funny Valentine

2. The Lady Is A Tramp

3. Moonlight In Vermont

4. Makin' Whoopee

5. Love Me Or Leave Me

6. Darn That Dream

7. I May Be Wrong, But I Think You're Wonderful

8. The Nearness Of You

9. Tea For Two

10. My Old Flame

11. Too Marvellous For Words

12. Lover Man

13. I'll Remember April

14. All The Things You Are

15. Almost Like Being In Love

16. I Can't Believe That You're In Love With Me

17. Lady Be Good

18. Laura

Disc 2

1. Sweet And Lovely (Alternate Take)

2. My Heart Belongs To Daddy

3. When Your Lover Has Gone

4. Stardust

5. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

6. Let's Fall In Love

7. Anything Goes

8. Too Close For Comfort

9. That Old Feeling (Alternate Take)

10. This Can't Be Love

11. Just In Time

12. My Funny Valentine (Alternate Take)

x

Track List: Jazz Masters Deluxe Collection: Gerry Mulligan

2. The Lady Is A Tramp

3. Tea For Two

4. Bernie's Tune

6. Lullaby Of The Leaves

7. Blues In B Flat

8. Walkin' Shoes

9. Love Me Or Leave Me

10. You Took Advantage Of Me

11. Nearness Of You

15. Laura

x

Track List: Meets The Sax Giants Volume 3

1. Let's Fall In Love

2. What's It All About

3. Go Home

4. Line For Lyons

5. Anything Goes

6. Backbeat

8. Body And Soul

9. The Cat Walk

x

Track List: Back Beat

1. Bunny

2. What's The Rush

3. Back Beat

4. What's It All About

5. 18 Carrots For Rabbit

6. Shady Side

x

Track List: Gerry Mulligan In New York (Recorded 1950-1952)

1. Flying The Coop

2. I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful)

3. New York

4. Sax Appeal

5. Hot Dog

6. Why Not

7. Leavin' Town

8. So What (Hoo Hah)

x

Track List: Jeru

1. Bernie's Tune

2. Lullaby Of The Leaves

3. Line For Lyons

4. Carioca

5. My Funny Valentine

6. Bark For Barksdale

8. Frenesi

9. Freeway

10. Soft Shoe

11. Walkin' Shoes

12. Aren't You Glad You're You?

13. Limelight

14. Lady Is A Tramp

15. Turnstile

16. Moonlight In Vermont

17. Motel

18. Makin' Whoopee

19. Love Me Or Leave Me

20. Swing House

21. Jeru

22. Darn That Dream

23. I May Be Wrong, But I Think You're Wonderful

24. Nearness Of You

25. Tea For Two

26. Five Brothers

27. Utter Chaos

x

Track List: Pleyel Concert Vol.1

1. Bernie's Tune

2. Presentation Of The Musicians

3. Walkin' Shoes

4. The Nearness Of You

5. Medley: Motel/Utter Chaos

6. Love Me Or Leave Me

7. Soft Shoes

8. Bark For Barksdale

9. My Funny Valentine

10. I May Be Wrong

11. Turnstile

12. Five Brothers

13. Gold Rush

14. Makin' Whoopee

x

Track List: The Quartets

1. Five Brothers

2. Motel

3. Love In New Orleans

4. My Funny Valentine

5. Four For Three

6. Walkin' Shoes

7. Marguerite

8. Festive Minor

9. Darn That Dream

10. As Catch Can

11. Jive At Five

12. News From Blueport

13. Getting Sentimental Over You

14. Just In Time

15. Open Country

x

Track List: Watching & Waiting

1. Dance Of The Truck

2. Introspect

3. Watching And Waiting

4. Trucking Again

5. New Wine

6. The Trap

7. Theme From "la Menace"

8. Vines Of Bordeaux

9. The House They'll Never Live In

10. Watching And Waiting

11. The Pantomimist

12. Introspect

13. Vines Of Bordeaux

x

Track List: Mullenium

3. All The Things You Are

4. Mullenium

7. Elevation

8. Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea

9. Disc Jockey Jump

10. How High The Moon

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. I May Be Wrong

3. Makin' Whoopee

4. Laura

6. The Nearness Of You

7. Love Me Or Leave Me

8. Bernie's Tune

9. Walkin' Shoes

10. Moonlight In Vermont

11. The Lady Is A Tramp

x

Track List: The Original Quartet With Chet Baker (Digital Remaster)

Disc 1

2. 'S Wonderful

3. Godchild

4. Dinah

5. She Didn't Say Yes, She Didn't Say No

6. Bernie's Tune

7. Lullaby Of The Leaves

9. Aren't You Glad You're You

10. Frenesi

11. Nights At The Turnstable

12. Freeway

13. Soft Shoe

14. Walkin' Shoes

19. Makin' Whoopee

20. Cherry

21. Motel

22. Carson City Stage

Disc 2

1. My Old Flame

3. Love Me Or Leave Me

6. Jeru

8. Darn That Dream

14. The Nearness Of You

15. Tea For Two

16. Five Brothers (Live)

20. My Funny Valentine (Live)

x

Track List: Legacy

1. Jeru

2. Bernie's Tune

3. Walkin' Shoes

4. Westwood Walk

5. Mainstream

6. Blueport

7. Move

8. Boplicity

9. Now I Know What I've Missed

10. O Great Spirit

x

Track List: Verve Jazz Masters 36

1. You Took Advantage Of Me

2. Manoir De Mes Reves (Aka ''Django's Castle'')

3. Lady Chatterley's Mother

4. Barbara's Theme

5. Blueport

6. Weep

7. All About Rosie

8. Chuggin'

9. Summer's Over

10. Israel

11. Ballad

12. Big City Blues

x

Track List: Re-Birth Of The Cool

1. Israel

2. Deception

3. Move

4. Rouge

5. Rocker

6. Godchild

7. Moon Dreams

8. Venus De Milo

9. Budo

10. Boplicity

11. Darn That Dream

12. Jeru

x

Track List: The Best Of The Gerry Mulligan Quartet With Chet Baker

1. Bernie's Tune

2. Nights At The Turntable

3. Freeway

4. Soft Shoe

5. Walkin' Shoes

6. Makin' Whoopee

7. Carson City Stage

8. My Old Flame

9. Love Me Or Leave Me

10. Swinghouse

11. Jeru

12. Darn That Dream

13. I'm Beginning To See The Light

14. My Funny Valentine (Feat. Chet Baker)

15. Festive Minor

x

Track List: Lonesome Boulevard

1. Rico Apollo

2. I Heard The Shadows Dancing

3. Lonesome Boulevard

4. Curtains

5. Ring Around A Bright Star

6. Splendor In The Grass

7. Good Neighbor Thelonius

8. Wallflower

9. The Flying Scotsman

10. Etude For Franca

x

Track List: The Age Of Steam

1. One To Ten In Ohio

2. K-4 Pacific

3. Grand Tour

4. Over The Hill And Out Of The Woods

5. Country Beaver

6. A Weed In Disneyland

7. Golden Notebooks

8. Maytag

x

Track List: Night Lights

3. In The Wee Small Hours Of The Morning

x

Track List: In A Mellow Tone

1. What Is This Thing Called Love?

2. Go Home

3. The Cat Walk

4. Chelsea Bridge

5. Sunday

6. Who's Got Rhythm?

7. In A Mellow Tone

8. For Bessie

9. Tell Me When

x

Track List: At The Village Vanguard

2. Body And Soul (live)

3. Black Nightgown

5. Lady Chatterley's Mother

6. Let My People Be

x

Track List: Out Of Nowhere

1. Blight Of The Fumble Bee

2. Out Of Nowhere

3. Star Dust

4. Two Of A Mind

5. All The Things You Are

6. The Way You Look Tonight

x

Track List: Reunion With Chet Baker

1. Reunion

2. When Your Lover Has Gone

3. Stardust

4. My Heart Belongs To Daddy

5. Jersey Bounce

6. The Surrey With The Fringe On Top

7. Trav'lin Light

8. Trav'lin Light (Alternate Take)

9. Ornithology

10. People Will Say We're In Love

11. The Song Is You

12. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You

13. Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You (Alternate Take)

14. I Got Rhythm

15. All The Things You Are

x

Track List: Presenting The Gerry Mulligan Sextet

1. Mud Bug

2. Sweet And Lovely

3. Apple Core

4. Nights On The Turntable

5. Broadway

6. Everything Happens To Me

7. The Lady Is A Tramp

8. Bernie's Tune

x

Track List: Mulligan Plays Mulligan

1. Funhouse

2. Ide's Side

3. Roundhouse

4. Kaper

5. Bweebida Bobbida

6. Mullenium

7. Mulligan's Too

x

Track List: At Storryville

1. Bweebida Bwobbida (live)

2. Birth Of The Blues

3. Baubles, Bangles And Beads

4. Rustic Hop (live)

5. Open Country

6. Storyville Story

7. That Old Feeling

8. Bike Up The Strand / Utter Chaos

9. Blues At The Roots

10. Ide's Side

12. Frenesi (live)

13. Flash

Comments

Report as inappropriate
From another planet and beyond !
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When a Minnesotan hears Gerry Mulligan playing Django's Castle, it's Saturday night again forever and Leigh Kamen is somewhere out there spinning the good music.
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I think I hear tuba on Venus De Milo off of Re-Birth of the Cool?
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P.S. Also if you see listed above this the cover of The Art of Gerry Mulligan--hi s last album--I urge you to dig it---his great Brazilian tracks--and especially track 2 with Grover Washington & the Tribute to Strayhorn
Report as inappropriate
Mulligan was undoubtedly the greatest Baritone Sax man & brought us all some of the coolest sounds in jazz to savor long after he has -sadly-gone! On the Broadway & W 42nd St track I was listening to here there are some other superb soloists on bass, trombone & trumpet! Delicious!
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Today 02/16/2015 in Wedtbury NY the temperature was 10 degrees, I wish it was Summer time.
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chieftyee
Mr Yanow does a disservice to the CJB. The CJB is one of the most influential big bands in jazz history. Brookmeyer was with the band for it's entire existence and served as the straw boss. Due to the demands of being leader of the CJB, Mulligan hardly did any arranging for the CJB. The stable of arrangers providing great charts did include Brookmeyer, McFarland, George Russell and Al Cohn. Yes, the CJB was one part of Mulligan's career but, a two sentence inaccurate description is lame.
Report as inappropriate
Saw him in his one and only appearance at The Royal Albert Hall in London...but he sounds good anywhere in the world!
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His Chelsea Bridge w/another giant Ben Webster is out of this world! Dig it! + other tracks same album! -one of the best albums in jazz!-EVER!
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Have appreciated ultra-cool Mulligan since mid-late teens -now 70!
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I'd heard of this guy, didn't know he was such a killer. I'm digging it.
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Storyville is indeed finest kind
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cromartyj42
My wife and I were privileged to see Mulligan together with Chet Baker at Storyville way back when. Have and still listen to Gerry's records. Though we don't have all, the ones we have are treasures, particularly the Mulligan Quartet at Storyville.
Report as inappropriate
First live performance I attend was in '53 at The Haig in LA. Great music and a great group.
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bob08048
This guy was my hero growing up, and he still is. I'm glad to have been able to listen to his music for 40 plus years.
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a pioneer on bari
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judianbrown
The recording of' Paraiso' with Jane Duboc is verry verry good wish she sang in English, together they are wonderfull.
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Don't know much about the amn or instrument. But I dig this cat
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altosaxroxrm s
My hero.
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haljess2
Discontine for me.
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billy3bam
.......broth e r boaz out of chi-town,now out of mississippi, t o o , p l a y s the space bari...ala mulligan
Report as inappropriate
I'd like to submit another name to this hallowed hall of fame. Allan Beutler has anchored the Dallas Jazz Orchestra sax section for over 30 years. The DJO is truly unique. The band thru the years led and mentored by Gaylen has had many outstanding players, but I always felt Allan was never really recognized for his musicianship and command of the Baritone. His historic connection with early jazz greats gives him a unique perspective into this genre. So kudos to Allan. P.S. He played with Stan
Report as inappropriate
Anyone who has ever played the Bari knows just how incredible this man is! What he has done for Jazz as a whole and arranging in specific is nothing less than spectacular. Gerry is indeed among the greats of our art form. What Trane was to the tenor, and Bird was to the alto, Gerry Mulligan is to the "big horn"

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