The Gerry Mulligan Songbook

The Gerry Mulligan Songbook
1. Four And One Moore  4:23
Mulligan
2. Crazy Day 7:05
Mulligan
3. Turnstile 7:53
Mulligan
4. Sextet 4:18
Mulligan
5. Disc Jockey Jump 4:35
Mulligan
6. Venus De Milo 5:08
Mulligan
7. Revelation 5:01
Mulligan
8. May-Reh * 6:02
Horace Silver
9. The Preacher * 6:25
Horace Silver
10. Good Bait * 4:39
Tadd Dameron
11. Bags' Groove * 3:55
Milt Jackson

* previously unissued bonus tracks

Personnel #l-7: LEE KONITZ, (alto saxophone); ALLEN EAGER, (alto and tenor saxophones); ZOOT SIMS, (alto and tenor saxophones); AL COHN, (tenor and baritone saxophone); GERRY MULLIGAN, (baritone saxophone); FREDDIE GREEN (guitar); HENRY GRIMES, (bass); DAVE BAILEY, (drums); Arranged by BILL HOLMAN

Personnel on #8-ll: GERRY MULLIGAN, (baritone saxophone); PAIL PALMIERI, (guitar); DICK WETMORE, (violin); CALO SCOTT, (cello); VINNIE BURKE, (bass); DAVE BAILEY, (drums)

Tracks #1-7: Recorded in New York City on December 4 & 5, 1957.

Tracks #8-11: Recorded in New York City on December 5,1957.

Original sessions produced by Richard Bock

Reissue produced by Michael Cuscuna

Cover photograph by William Claxton

A mono recording. Originally issued as WP-1237.

Pacific Jazz is a registered trademark of Capitol Records, Inc.

(c)(p) Capital Records, Inc. Manufactured by Capital Records, Inc., Hollywood and Vine Streets, Hollywood, California. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication is a violation of applicable laws.


All of these originals are by Gerry Mulligan. All but one, Crazy Day, were arranged for this date by Bill Holman with subsequent emendations by Mr. Mulligan, Crazy Day was written and arranged by Gerry especially for the session. The other songs have varied histories.

Four and One Moore dates from an April, 1949 Prestige session with Stan Getz, Zoot Sims, Alien Eager, Al Cohn - and Brew Moore (hence the title). Three of those five are present to recreate the composition. Turnstile was recorded by the Baker-Mulligan quartet for Fantasy. Gerry had written it in 1949 and its original title was Gold Rush in commemoration of the centenary of that apogee of cupidity.

Sextet was recorded at the Haig in Los Angeles in January, 1953 when Lee Konitz added another line to the Mulligan Quartet. The piece wasn't in finished form at the time, and Mulligan had other plans for it, but as often happens when a work is recorded, it's now likely to stay in this form.

Disc Jockey Jump, one of the first arrangements to win Mulligan national attention among musicians was written for the Gene Krupa band and recorded by Krupa in January, 1947.

Venus De Milo was one of several numbers Gerry wrote for the extraordinarily influential Miles Davis 1949-50 Capitol sessions. The original recording was in April, 1949 with, among others, Miles, J. J. Johnson, Gerry and Lee Konitz.

Revelation, so far as I can determine, has had two previous recordings, Teddy Charles and Bob Brookmeyer recorded it for Prestige in January, 1954 and Chet Baker cut it for Pacific Jazz in July, 1956. The piece had originally been written for Elliot Lawrence's band in 1948 or 1949, but Gerry doesn't remember Lawrence ever playing it.

It's intriguing that Bill Holman was selected to write the arrangements in that Holman, according to testimony of contemporaries, was strongly influenced by Gerry's writing during Gerry's few months with the Kenton band. Kenton was not especially attracted to Mulllgan's writing. "He thought my work was too simple," recalls Gerry, and Kenton accordingly, assigned Gerry the dance band arrangements. "He made it sound insulting, but I sneaked in, along the way, arrangements of Limelight and Walkin' Shoes." The men in the band were invigorated by the Mulligan charts and finally, after ten dance band arrangements, Kenton commissioned young Blood which really revitalized the band for a time. "And when you get a guy like Gerry around a band," Miles Davis once noted in a conversation about the Kenton Philharmonic, "all the other arrangers start writing a little better."

Holman had been going through an almost inevitable stage in any writer's career during which he had tried to put everything he could think of in an arrangement. He gradually learned, influenced to some extent by Mulligan, that knowing what to leave out is often more important than knowing what to put in. "It took me a while to learn that too," adds Mulligan, "and it wasn't until my writing for the Miles Davis sessions on Capitol that the ability to use space began to take shape in my work." "You've just got to have space in jazz writing," Miles says with customary definiteness. "Like Gerry and Gil Evans and Duke, Some guys try to fill it all up."

"I remember," Gerry says, "that the first thing I brought into a Kenton rehearsal was rejected by Stan but the next time. Bill brought in an arrangement that sounded more like me than I did." In addition to their concern for linear writing that has breathing space for soloists and that swings naturally, Mulligan and Holman are also alike in mat they do not try to graft classical forms onto jazz. "I've always," Holman told Don Gold of Down Beat, tried to write things mat sound like jazz, not Bach revisited." And about Gerry, Gunther Schuller has said "His was simply clear linear writing in jazz terms: he showed that contrapuntal designs could swing. Previous attempts in modern jazz to emphasize polyphonic writing and playing had bogged down because of the self-conscious stiffness of the players. Where others had left the jazz field to take forms from classical music and then returned to try to put them into jazz, he eliminated that step and thereby eliminated stiffness in multi-linear playing."

"It seemed necessary," says Gerry, "to clean out jazz writing. We'd gone as far as we could at the tie with five-part chords and the rest of the up-and-down approach, and I think the linear emphasis helped open up new possibilities. In my own work, it's not that I always give every man his own line since I seldom use more than three lines, but there are more moving parts in my writing than was the usual case in modern jazz up until then. To complement the lines, I'll sometimes take horns of the same timbre and use them in unison, but it is true that the main direction in my writing is multi-linear."

Gerry has achieved an influence that, as John Lewis said recently in conversation, "has become so general, they won't know to give him credit in the next generation." In addition to strongly influencing the return of flowing polyphony to jazz writing (and its accompanying toughening of the resiliency of jazz scoring). Gerry had a lot to do with reminding modern writers and players that humor in jazz was not a cardinal sin. Also, as Mulligan alumnus Bill Crow has observed, Gerry's writing "contained a lyric quality and a strong feeling for the 'good times' spirit of the older, less organized forms in early jazz band writing and group improvising."

Another point that might be made about these performances in relation to the previous body of Gerry's work as played by himself is that for many years, Gerry had much more respect among musicians as a writer than as a player. It's only fairly recently that even his long-time associates are beginning to realize how much he has developed as a consistently cohesive improviser. Gerry himself feels that it's only been within the past year or two that he's been able to fully control his horn, that he's had "a direct line between my imagination and my fingers." The result of this deepening confidence in his capacity as a soloist can be heard on these recordings.

To summarize the integration of writing and playing in these Mulligan originals and Holman arrangements, an opposite observation is Andre Hodeir's about previous Mulligan work to the effect that writers like Gerry "seem to have understood that the principal objective of the arranger should be to respect the personality of each performer while at the same time giving the group u feeling of unity,"

As for the personnel, they arc nearly all, I would imagine, familiar to you. Alien Eager has not appeared on recordings to any considerable extent in recent years, having spent part of that time abroad. Dave Bailey is Gerry's regular drummer and bassist Henry Grimes is a new addition to the Mulligan unit. Grimes is 22, from Philadelphia, worked briefly with Sonny Rollins and with Charlie Mingus when the latter was experimenting with two basses. Mulligan first heard Grimes when Henry was working with Anita O'Day at the Red Hill Inn. When Grimes came to New York some time later, he contacted Bailey who completed the liaison to Mulligan, Mulligan is very pleased by Freddie Green's contribution to the date. In addition to the crisper sound Freddie gives a rhythm section, his presence, says Gerry, "seemed to center the tonality. It made a range for the bass to play in so that the intonation was much more clear-cut. Intonation seems to be a problem for the bass sometime in playing without the piano."

Zoot Sims played alto and tenor, including a number of the lead parts on the former instrument; Al Cohn was on tenor and baritone; Lee Konitz, alto; Gerry Mulligan, baritone; and Alien Eager, mostly tenor (but some alto).

Solo Box Score; Four and One Moore: (By the way, on Prestige this is listed on the label as Five Brothers whereas the track called Five Brothers is actually Four and One Moore, in case you want to check this against the original): Al Cohn, baritone; Zoot, alto; Gerry, baritone

Crazy Day: Gerry, baritone; Alien, tenor; Lee, alto; Al Cohn, baritone; Zoot, alto. There are eights then by Gerry, Alien, Lee, Al Cohn. Eights again by Zoot, Gerry Alien, Lee. A third round of eights by Al, Zoot, Gerry, Alien. Then fours by Lee, Al, Zoot, Gerry, Alien, Lee, Al, Zoot. A final round of fours with Gerry, Alien, Lee, Al, Zoot, Gerry, with Lee playing the last eight out.

Sextet Gerry, baritone; Al Cohn, tenor; Zoot, alto; Al Cohn, tenor and Gerry, baritone together.

Disc Jockey Jump: Lee, alto; Al Cohn, tenor; Zoot, alto; Gerry, baritone.

Venus De Milo: Gerry Mulligan, baritone; Lee, alto; Al Cohn, tenor; Henry Grimes, bass.

Revelation: Gerry, baritone; Alien, alto; Zoot, tenor; Al Cohn, tenor; Lee, alto.

-NAT HENTOFF

1958


These sessions were recorded in stereo, but the master tapes for them in that format cannot I be located. So the mono masters have been used for this CD. In December, 1957, Dick Bock did a considerable amount of recording in New York in a two week period. With Mulligan, he recorded the "Reunion" album with Chet Baker, "Sing A Song Of Mulligan" with Annie Ross, "The Mulligan Song Book" and an album with the Vinnie Burke String Quartet, which had a completed cover and catalog number, but was never issued. An edited version of "The Preacher" even came out on o disc jockey sampler. At last, four of the selections from that album are making their first appearance. Since the Sax Section album is devoted to music written by Gerry, we've selected the four tunes on the unissued album written by equally exceptional jazz composers. Bock also did two Chet Baker sessions in the same time frame, one of which with just guitar and a bass has recently been issued as "Embraceable You" and another four tunes for woodwind ensemble by composer Bob Zieff which has finally been issued on the box set "Chet Baker: The Pacific Jazz Years."

Bassist Vinnie Burke's unique string quartet made an album of its own for ABC-Paramount in January, 1957. But Burke is best known for his part in the amazing Tal Farlow Trio with Eddie Costa. Cellist Calo Scott later worked and recorded with pianist Mal Waldron and was a frequent presence on the fertile sixties New York scene. Boston based violinist Dick Wetmore, also on accomplished cellist and brass player, recorded an album with jazz composer Dave Coleman for the fledgling, now legendary Transition label. One track from that session was issued on a Transition sampler.

A discographical note. When "The Gerry Mulligan Songbook" was issued in stereo, producer Dick Bock did a bit of tampering, "Disc Jockey Jump" was edited; the solos of Lee Konitz and Al Cohn were removed. The stereo "Crazy Day" had a different opening ensemble and Mulligan solo spliced into the remainder of the master take. On the stereo "Turnstile," Mulligan's solo is different. The solos of Eager on tenor, Konitz and Cohn on baritone are edited out as are the last chorus of eight-bar exchanges and the two choruses of four-bar exchanges.

-MICHAEL CUSCUNA


ALLEX