This blog covers the music I play on my Live365 station: Jazz Note NSU. It is devoted to hard bop and avant garde jazz. Here I confess my faith: the center of genius in modern music is jazz; the center of genius in jazz is hard bop, and especially the body of music produced between the early 50's and the mid-60's. And at the center of it all is Miles Davis. This blog is especially aimed at readers who want to build a serious jazz library.
Friday, March 19, 2010
Mulligan, Baker, and Desmond
Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker created quite a stir in 1952 with their "piano-less" quartet. I suppose you could say, as we Straussian political theorists do, that the piano is conspicuous by its absence. The two disc Original Quartet is surely Mulligan's magnum opus. With just a bass and drums behind Mulligan's tugboat baritone sax and Baker's ever-romantic trumpet, the rich collection combines the best elements of the trio, duet, and quartet forms. This music has that "real thing" feel: raw and perfect.
Here is a sample:
Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker/Makin' Woopee
Another Mulligan classic is Two of Mind with tenor Paul Desmond. Much the same may be said about this recording. I especially like the contrast between the liquorish sound of Desmond's alto and the velvet cushion of Mulligan's baritone. I have said it before: I like the low horns.
Here is a sample:
Paul Desmond and Gerry Mulligan/All The Things You Are
Give these a listen, and if you like them, buy the discs. Both the Bluebird edition of Two of a Mind and a shorter version are available at eMusic. And don't forget to leave a comment. I had no friends when I was a kid. This is all I got.
ps. I listened to Anthony Braxton's Six Monk's Compositions again this afternoon. I really think that this is one of those neglected gems.