Wednesday, February 6, 2013

“The Flying Scotsman” – Gerry Mulligan and The New Concert Jazz Band

© -Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

Leave it to Gerry Mulligan to open the second half of his performance at the 1988 Glasgow Jazz Festival with a rip-roaring arrangement by his New Concert Jazz Band of his original composition entitled … wait for it … The Flying Scotsman.

Beginning in 1924, the legendary locomotive sped its passengers from London across the Scottish Highlands and into Edinburgh without stopping, ultimately covering the 392 miles in 7 hours and 20 minutes.

Gerry always had a fascination with steam-driven railroad engines, so much so that he named a number of his original compositions after them and even entitled a CD in their honor – The Age of Steam [A&M CD 0804].

Gerry re-established his “New” Concert Jazz Band at a time in his career when he had the discretionary time to once again composed and arrange for a big band. He was like a kid with a new toy; he loved every minute of it.

This version of Gerry’s The Flying Scotsman contains two “shout choruses:” one that the full band plays after Gerry solo and the trumpet/trombone trade-off solos [beginning at 3:00 minutes]; the other follows the solos by pianist Bill Charlap and bassist Dean Johnson, who is a powerhouse through the piece [beginning at 4:47 minutes].

“Live” Jazz doesn’t get anymore exciting than this.