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. 


  1. Poor Ya! I had no friends too as a kid. Records were my beast companions... I like what I discover on yr blog and I wish you lots of friends. :-))) I am mainly a silent friend of yours, who once urged you to listen to some Harold Betters (trombonist).
    Have a great weekend.

  2. I meant "best" companions. :-)

  3. Thanks, Ravel. I do seem to have some friends in the Jazz blogosphere.