© - Steven A. Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.
The association between baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and trumpeter Chet Baker didn’t last very long.
Less than year, from about August, 1952 until June, 1953.
During that relatively brief time, the recordings they made for Dick Bock’s Pacific Jazz label and the Mulligan/Baker quartet appearances at The Haig just outside of downtown Los Angeles on Wilshire Boulevard made them both internationally famous Jazz stars before each went their separate way.
After a hiatus, Gerry would reform his quartet with Bob Brookmeyer on valve trombone and Chet would form his own quartet featuring Russ Freeman on piano.
But Chet also made another stop along the way when he played for a short time with tenor saxophonist Stan Getz, once again in a piano-less quartet, with bassist Carson Smith and drummer Larry Bunker.
The occasion of Stan and Chet getting together resulted from Gerry Mulligan’s need to get his life back in order by overcoming some bad habits.
In his absence, Dick Bock suggested to John Bennett, the owner of The Haig, that Stan Getz fill in for a stint with Chet, Carson and Larry during June, 1953.
As Ken Poston, Director of the Los Angeles Jazz Institute has commented: “It is fascinating to hear how Getz interacts with Chet and the group applying backgrounds and counterpoint in the same manner as Mulligan.”
You can hear the musical magic Ken describes on the audio track to the following video tribute to Stan and Chet. The tune is Strike Up The Band with Carson Smith on bass and Larry Bunker on drums.
Fortunately, too, some of the music that resulted from the “moment in time” union of these two Jazz giants is available in a 2 CD set entitled Chet Baker and Stan Getz: West Coast Live.