Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Gerry Mulligan Quartets with Chet Baker and Art Farmer

I am listening to a lot of jazz lately.

Gerry Mulligan - baritone saxophonist, arranger and composer, the mastermind behind a good chunk of Miles' Birth of the Cool album. His most well known venture (or second-most, after the Birth of the Cool sessions) was probably his pianoless quartet - a trumpet-sax-bass-and-drums group that he led with changing members throughout the 50s. This highly unusual, minimalistic set-up initially was an accident: a gig opportunity arose to play in a space that did not have a piano. Mulligan decided to take a chance and see how this stripped-down sound would work. [See Mulligan's interview for more info]
It worked beautifully, due to a lucky choice of Chet Baker on trumpet for a second lead voice. Mulligan's cerebral, architectonic approach was yin to Baker's melodic, intuitive yang, and their proverbial telepathic rapport allowed each to anticipate and play off the other's moves. The laconic compositions group recorded were the epitome of cool, with two lead voices weaving countrapunctal lines around the Carson Smith's melodic bass lines and delicately supported by the Chico Hamilton's brush work.

The Best of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker (1952-1953)
REUP: 320kbps, 115mb on 4shared
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
15. Festive Minor

Unfortunately, this lucky alliance did not last long: in 1953 Mulligan went to the slammer on a narcotic conviction. When he emerged six months later, Baker already moved on to become a crossover solo star, combining his trumpet, good looks, and newly discovered singing talents into an unbeatably commercial combination. Mulligan found a replacement in Art Farmer, a relatively obscure (at the time) trumpet player with a cool, melodic sound. During his time with Mulligan, Farmer also started playing flugelhorn, a trumpet-like instrument with a softer, more mellow sound; he went on to become one of the best-known jazz flugelhorn players. This album is the last Mulligan Quartet LP with Farmer playing flugelhorn exclusively.

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet - What Is There To Say? (1959)
98mb on depositfiles
1. What Is There To Say
2. Just In Time
3. News From Blueport
4. Festive Minor
5. As Catch Can
6. My Funny Valentine
7. Blueport
8. Utter Chaos

PS Also, a great 1959 live set from "The New" Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Art Farmer, titled Americans In Sweden, over at taringa.net.


  1. syncronicity again! i've got me a copy of Baker-Mulligan CD last week.
    there is also a very fine version of pianoless Mulligan Quartet with Brookmeyer on valve trombone (1953-54). have you heard it?

  2. This is a good one. Haven't heard it in a long time.

  3. :)
    I haven't heard the Brookmeyer recordings beyond that one clip I posted at LJ. Do you have them?

  4. i've missed that video :)

    i've bought one years ago - Pleyel Concert vol.2(1954) - and still giving it a spin from time to time.


  5. Thanks, I'll listen to it tonight.
    Look what I found:
    Salle Pleyel Vol.1

  6. I apreciatte your uploads, specially the jazz and avantgard ones.

    I would be very grateful if you uploaded some of chet baker´s work in the middle 50´s, just when he left mulligan. I cant find those recording anywhere.

  7. If you haven't heard it, 'Konitz Meets Mulligan' is fantastic, it's the quartet with the addition of Lee Konitz on alto.

  8. hi LesTP , do you have a plan to rehost the megaupload content? there's a lot of it i was planning to get..

  9. I am not planning to go through and reup everything, but I can reup specific requests, as time allows. Please leave comments in the posts with dead links and I will go through and fix them.

  10. thanks, well the top one here for starters :P