Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Gerry Mulligan (Dragonfly) Full LP 1995

Gerry Mulligan on Telarc - Dragonfly

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.


Telarc was founded by Jack Renner and Robert Woods, two classically trained musicians and music teachers, in 1977 and was initially focused on Classical music. The label is renowned for its high end audio quality. Telarc subsequently added Jazz recordings with the addition of artists such as Erroll Garner, Dave Burbeck, Ray Brown and Gerry Mulligan to the label’s line-up.


With John Snyder admirably serving in the role of producer on all of them, Gerry Mulligan produced three late-in-his career recordings for Telarc that I’d like to highlight for you mainly because - like fine wine - Jeru’s playing mellowed on all of them to produce some of the most sublime soloing over the course of his 50+ year career.


Ironically, for many Jazz Masters who reach a high level of creativity in the latter years of their playing, there is no record company interested in documenting such maturity.


Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with Gerry as John Snyder was able to muster the necessary resources to bring Mulligan in the Telarc studios to record Paraiso: Gerry Mulligan with Jane Duboc Vocals - Jazz Brazil [CD-83361] in 1993, Dream A Little Dream of Me, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD-83364] in 1994 and Dragonfly, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD83377] in 1995.In addition to the superb artistry represented on these recordings, Telarc’s timing couldn't have been better as Gerry died in 1996.


“This CD brings the curtain down on Gerry Mulligan's remarkable recording career as a leader which began when he made the first LP under his own name in 1951.”

- Gordon Jack


Gerry wrote the following insert notes to Dragonfly, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD83377] in 1995 after which we’ll represent the review of the recording that Gordon Jack, a Mulligan specialist and a baritone saxophonist himself, wrote for JazzJournal. 


“THE PLOT — Take a batch of brand new tunes. (I'm never quite sure what to call a melody that's been worked on and that is in some sort of completed form. If there are words then it is probably a song. Composition implies something more complex. In any case, for our purposes here, we'll call them tunes.)


At this point the tunes are in various stages of completion, and it's time for players' input — keys, tempos, grooves, etc.

THE PLAYERS — Call up several good friends, old and new. who just happen to be among the greatest jazz musicians in the world and send them copies of the tunes.


When Dave Grusin plays my tunes I always learn something new, so for me. it's a luxury to have him on this (or any other) album! The fact that both Dave and Grover Washington were only available on the same day out of the whole year was so obviously a good omen that I felt as if the album was already half finished!


John Scofield and Dave Samuels played with me in a sextet in the seventies. Some of their solo interplay on this recording, especially "Backstage" and "Little Glory" is exquisite, and with the addition of Warren Vache to this group I fulfilled a dream I've had since the '70s. Warren, in my opinion, is the best cornet player anywhere. When Ted Rosenthal joins in, it's as if four people are negotiating the same tight-rope.


Last summer I was commissioned to compose a piece for Art Farmer that was played at Lincoln Center on one of their jazz nights as a tribute to Art. Ted Rosenthal suggested the trumpet player Ryan Kisor to play the piece. Ryan was very enthusiastic and came in loaded for bear and with obvious great respect for Art and for Art's playing.


THE PERFORMANCE — I could see from the way the schedule was evolving. I would need help to have the actual transposed and copied parts ready when we needed them, Mike Mossman and Slide Hampton were my angels in disguise.


I knew I'd be on a tour in Europe with my Quartet, along with Dave Brubeck's Quartet, and there would be little writing time on the road — I was right! I've never been one to get much writing done while traveling, but on this trip we were having entirely too much fun. . .


By the time we got back to New York everything was ready to go for the last series of dates. Slide had his orchestrations all done, and I still had enough time to finish up my charts.


Dean, Ron. and Ted have been with me as the other three-fourths of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet for years and years. In fact we had a dinner party in Oslo. Norway to celebrate Dean's tenth anniversary! A big coincidence is that we were playing the same hall as on Dean's first night ten years ago.”


Franca is my indispensable third ear, all the way through, as always.”

— Gerry Mulligan



GERRY MULLIGAN DRAGONFLY

(1) Dragonfly; Brother Blues; (2) Anthem; (3) Backstage; Little Glory; (4) Art Of Trumpet; (5) Listening To Astor; Ninth Life; (3) Underneath A Pale Moonlight; Oh, Mr. Sauter? Yes, Mr. Finegan? (63.32) Gerry Mulligan (bar) with:

(1) Bobby Milliken, Byron Stripling (fin, t); Jim Pugh, Luis Bonilla) (tb); Dave Taylor (btb); Grover Washington Jnr. (ss, ts); Dave Grusin (p); Dean Johnson (b); Ron Vincent (d). NYC, May 30, 31, 1995

(2) as (1) omit Milliken, Stripling, Pugh, Bonilla, Washington.

(3) Warren Vache (c); Ted Rosenthal (p); Dave Samuels (vib); John Scofield (elg); Dean Johnson (b); Ron Vincent (d). Connecticut, April 12, 13, 1995

(4) as (1) omit Washington; Add Ryan Kisor (t); Dave Samuels (vib); John Scofield (elg) Ted Rosenthal (p) replaces Grusin. Connecticut, April 12., 13, 1995

(5) as (1) omit Milliken, Stripling, Pugh, Bonilla, Washington. (Telarc CD-83377)


“This CD brings the curtain down on Gerry Mulligan's remarkable recording career as a leader which began when he made the first LP under his own name in 1951. A hugely gifted soloist, he was also one of the music's premier arrangers and composers and Dragonfly features ten new originals which had not been recorded before. Some of them are dedicated to musicians Mulligan had long admired such as Astor Piazzola, Eddie Sauter, Bill Finegan and Art Farmer. The latter had been a playing colleague since 1958 when he became a member of what was arguably Gerry's greatest ever quartet. They performed Art Of Trumpet together in 1994 at the Lincoln Centre with an all-star band including Wynton Marsalis, Slide Hampton, Benny Golson and Jerome Richardson. Ryan Kisor manages to get very close to Art's intimate and thoughtful approach here and as so often with Mulligan's writing, the ensemble return after the solos with a quite different melody to the opening chorus. 


Grover Washington's soprano is heard in a delicate duet with the composer on Dragonfly, a haunting 16 bar theme with a modulation in the second eight. He also played this piece with Dave Grusin, Dean Johnson and Ron Vincent at a memorial concert in 1996 to celebrate the life of Gerry Mulligan. 


Brother Blues (with a surprise key change in bar nine) is a simple but very effective descending line in the twelve bar form which Mulligan didn't often employ. Dave Grusin, who first collaborated with the leader on the 1982 La Menace film score starring Yves Montand, has some fine moments both here and on Ninth Life. Elsewhere all the guests have a chance to shine especially Warren Vache (Backstage and Underneath A Pale Moonlight] Dave Samuels (Oh, Mr Sauter) and John Scofield (Backstage). Both Samuels and Scofield of course were members of Gerry's sextet in the seventies.


The emphasis on subtle interplay with clearly defined inner voices that characterised Gerry Mulligan's work over the years is apparent throughout Dragonfly. 


Recommended.”

- Gordon Jack.



Monday, May 10, 2021

My Funny Valentine - Gerry Mulligan Quartet

Gerry Mulligan - Dream A Little Dream

Gerry Mulligan on Telarc - Dream a Little Dream

 © Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.



Telarc was founded by Jack Renner and Robert Woods, two classically trained musicians and music teachers, in 1977 and was initially focused on Classical music. The label is renowned for its high end audio quality. Telarc subsequently added Jazz recordings with the addition of artists such as Erroll Garner, Dave Burbeck, Ray Brown and Gerry Mulligan to the label’s line-up.


With John Snyder admirably serving in the role of producer on all of them, Gerry Mulligan produced three late-in-his career recordings for Telarc that I’d like to highlight for you mainly because - like fine wine - Jeru’s playing mellowed on all of them to produce some of the most sublime soloing over the course of his 50+ year career.


Ironically, for many Jazz Masters who reach a high level of creativity in the latter years of their playing, there is no record company interested in documenting such maturity.


Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with Gerry as John Snyder was able to muster the necessary resources to bring Mulligan in the Telarc studios to record Paraiso: Gerry Mulligan with Jane Duboc Vocals - Jazz Brazil [CD-83361] in 1993, Dream A Little Dream of Me, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD-83364] in 1994 and Dragonfly, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD83377] in 1995.In addition to the superb artistry represented on these recordings, Telarc’s timing couldn't have been better as Gerry died in 1996.


Gerry wrote the insert notes to Dream A Little Dream of Me, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD-83364]. It’s always nice to hear the artist’s perspective on the music and, not surprisingly, Gerry was as articulate in his writing as he was in his playing. He uses each tune on the album as a point-of-departure for his comments.


Nobody Else But Me


I fell in love with this tune the first time I heard it. Jerome Kern, who wrote the song with Oscar Hammerstein II, had a knack lor injecting harmonic interest in a tune, and yet making it sound simple. A great example of this is "All the Things You Are," which wanders all over the place but still is a melody that everyone can remember. In this tune there is a modulation in the harmonic progression in the fifth and sixth bars that's unusual and very satisfying.


Home (When Shadows Fall)


Our rendition of this tune is perhaps a little more down-home than the original intention of the author. I remember hearing the tune on the radio as a child, and, as a matter of fact, it was written by Peter Van Sleeden who was the band leader on the Fred Allen Radio Show.


Dream a Little Dream


Mama Cass made this song her own when she recorded it some years ago, and understandably so. It's a tune that is fun to play and has more harmonic and melodic interest than one might first suspect. There's a little harmonic twist right in the fourth bar that makes it all worthwhile.


I'll Be Around


Alec Wilder was often a neighbor of mine at the Algonquin Hotel in New York. We became great friends, and he wrote two pieces for chamber groups, featuring baritone saxophone. I'll Be Around is probably his best-known song, for which he wrote both words and music. Ted and I play it here as a duet, just baritone and piano.


They Say It's Wonderful


Irving Berlin had a long career in songwriting, and his songs reflect the period in which they were written. For instance, this song is from a later period of his writing from a show called Call Me Madam, which I remember very well. I always thought it was a very hip-sounding tune from Berlin, and I think that it represents the fact that he kept listening to what was going on around him.


The Real Thing


This is a tune of mine for which Mel Torme wrote a lyric. We play it here for the first time as an instrumental. 


Noblesse


Ray Noble was a songwriter and a band leader for whom I had great admiration. He came here in the Thirties from England, and subsequently his band was home to many famous musicians of the time, including Benny Goodman, Tommy Dorsey. Jimmy Dorsey, Claude Thornhill, and many more. He wrote a number of memorable tunes of which the best known to jazz audiences is "Cherokee." Noblesse is my tribute to Ray Noble.


Here's That Rainy Day


This is another complex song that doesn't sound complex. As you may gather, I love songs that have some interesting twists in the harmonic progression but manage to sound accessible all the same, and this is another example with modulations right in the first couple of bars. Even though it goes through a number of keys, it's still very memorable.


Georgia On My Mind


This is a wonderful song by Hoagy Carmichael that I first played on a record date with Jay McShann, and I think of Jay every time I play it.


My Funny Valentine


Our original version of this featured Chet Baker on trumpet and was one of the first recordings of the piano-less quartet. It's a wonderful Rodgers and Hart song that I enjoy doing here as a duet with Bill Mays on piano.


As Close as Pages in a Book


Bill Mays has played with the Quartet many times over the years, and so when he came to visit us at the studio when we were recording this album, I immediately sat him down and recorded a pair of duets with him; the above mentioned My Funny Valentine and As Close As Pages In a Book. This piece by Sigmund Romberg is interesting and unusual to me because I always think of Sigmund Romberg as a writer of operettas, and he is certainly much better known for pieces in the "Stout-Hearted Men'' genre. So this very American-sounding song is unexpected.


My Shining Hour


This is a very pretty tune by two of our finest songwriters, Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer. I always regret not getting to write with Johnny. We talked of it many times but the opportunity never arose.

Walking Shoes

This is another tune that was recorded by the original piano-less quartet. I also wrote an arrangement of it for the Stan Kenton Band, among others. The title derived from the fact that I had recently hitchhiked to California.


Song For Strayhorn


I had great admiration for Billy Strayhorn and his music. He wrote beautiful melodies and could then turn around and write a swinging band chart such as "Take the A Train." I'll always remember Billy playing and singing "Lush Life" at home in the living room in the late fifties. Song For Strayhorn is my tribute to him.


— Gerry Mulligan



Gordon Jack wrote the following review of the recording for JazzJournal.


GERRY MULLIGAN QUARTET DREAM A LITTLE DREAM


(1) Nobody Else But Me; Home When Shadows Fall; Dream A Little Dream; I’ll Be Around; They Say It's Wonderful; The Real Thing; Noblesse; Here's That Rainy Day; Georgia; (2) My Funny Valentine; As Close As Pages In A Book; (1) My Shining Hour; Walkin' Shoes; Song For Strayhorn (66.35)


(1) Gerry Mulligan (bar); Ted Rosenthal (p); Dean Johnson (b); Ron Vincent (d).


(2) as (1) omit Rosenthal, Johnson, Vincent. Add Bill Mays (p). NYC, April 14,16, 28, 29,1994

(Telarc CD-83364)


“For many listeners of a certain age the Gerry Mulligan Quartet will always mean the piano-less group he led off and on from 1952 to 1965. However for fifteen years prior to his death in 1996 he often performed in the context heard here with piano, bass and drums. I once asked him about this instrumental change and he said that playing with a piano gave him the chance to play the melody a little more. 


For this reissue he chose a well balanced set of superior standards (both well known and fairly obscure) together with four originals. Of the latter, Walkin’ Shoes of course needs no introduction. Noblesse comes from his 1986 album with Scott Hamilton; Song For Strayhorn is a deeply felt homage to one of his major influences and dates from a 1974 concert with Chet Baker and The Real Thing is a poignant ballad he co-wrote with Mel Torme in 1980. It was introduced when he was a guest on the singer's Live At Marty's CD, sadly now unavailable. 


Elsewhere he concentrates on classics from The Great American Songbook displaying an almost feather-like touch on the baritone, an instrument not

noted for its delicacy. It should also be remembered that when soloing, he rarely ventured into the bottom fifth of the instrument (Ab concert) preferring to construct long, lyrical lines in the middle and upper registers. 


Even so the gravitas of the baritone often gives even his slightest phrase the profundity of an epigram. This is especially true on ballads, as he demonstrates throughout this enjoyable set where tempos rarely move above a gentle stroll, except Nobody Else But Me, They Say It's Wonderful (both 44 bars to the minute) and My Shining Hour (48 bars to the minute). 


The superb rhythm section had toured extensively with Mulligan for two years prior to this recording and was well attuned to his needs. Dean Johnson, a brilliant bass player, had actually been with him since 1987 and on two titles the leader is joined by his former pianist Bill Mays for a duet. This reissue features superlative ballad playing by one of the masters and is recommended.”

- Gordon Jack



Sunday, May 9, 2021

JANE DUBOC & GERRY MULLIGAN TEMA PRA JOBIM

Gerry Mulligan on Telarc - Paraíso

© Copyright ® Steven Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.



Telarc was founded by Jack Renner and Robert Woods, two classically trained musicians and music teachers, in 1977 and was initially focused on Classical music. The label is renowned for its high end audio quality. Telarc subsequently added Jazz recordings with the addition of artists such as Erroll Garner, Dave Burbeck, Ray Brown and Gerry Mulligan to the label’s line-up.


With John Snyder admirably serving in the role of producer on all of them, Gerry Mulligan produced three late-in-his career recordings for Telarc that I’d like to highlight for you mainly because - like fine wine - Jeru’s playing mellowed on all of them to produce some of the most sublime soloing over the course of his 50+ year career.


You hear a lot about what makes a good solo - what to leave out; tell a story; start slow and build the intensity - but learning to do these and other things that make up an interesting improvisation takes time and experience.


Ironically, for many Jazz Masters who reach this point in their playing, there is no record company interested in documenting such maturity.


Fortunately, that wasn’t the case with Gerry as John Snyder was able to muster the necessary resources to bring Mulligan in the Telarc studios to record Paraiso: Gerry Mulligan with Jane Duboc Vocals - Jazz Brazil [CD-83361] in 1993, Dream A Little Dream of Me, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD-83364] in 1994 and Dragonfly, The Gerry Mulligan Quartet [CD83377] in 1995.


In addition to the superb artistry represented on these recordings, Telarc’s timing couldn't have been better as Gerry died in 1996.


© Copyright ® Neil Tesser, copyright protected; all rights reserved; used with the author’s permission.


“Gerry Mulligan discovers Brazil? That might seem an appropriate title for this, his first recording devoted to the richly flavored, intoxicating music that came stateside three decades ago and decided to stay. In the spirit of that most famous Brazilian-US collaboration — between Jobim and Stan Getz — this one finds at its heart a surprising singer and a saxophonist of uncommon invention. Yet on Paraíso (Portuguese for Paradise), the partnership extends even to the compositions themselves: true American hybrids of North and South, for which the legendary jazzman himself wrote the melodies and the Brazilian vocalist Jane Duboc concocted the lyrics.


And while it may appear from his discography that Mulligan has just now "discovered Brazil," the history of this recording belies such Gerry-come-lately suppositions. Like a well-made feijoada, the slightly spicy Brazilian black-bean and pork stew, this album has simmered extensively. Its roots date back nearly a decade, to the first time Mulligan heard Jane (pronounced JAH-nee) Duboc sing, when both were touring Europe — Gerry with his own group, Jane with the Brazilian guitarist/vocalist Toquinho. "I told her then that we'd make a record together," Mulligan recalls, and in the years that followed, Duboc began fitting Portuguese words to appropriate Mulligan compositions.


"But I've always been fascinated by Brazilian music," adds Mulligan; "I've written various things over the years. I always wanted to record with a Brazilian rhythm section. I also wanted to do some of those tunes I'd never played before" — such as the songs by Jobim and Toquinho heard on this date. "So Paraíso is really an overall tribute to my feelings about Brazil and Brazilian music."


It is also an album that benefits from its mostly Brazilian lineup of musicians. Pay special heed to guitarist Emanuel Moreira, a cousin of Jane Duboc, who worked on the arrangements and put together the band, and Duduha DaFonseca, a Brazilian émigré who constructs rhythms as natural and effortless as the songs he composes. (Fonseca wrote a modern classic of Brazilian balladry called "Forgive Me," which has been recorded by Astrud Gilberto.)


Despite the lack of previous recorded evidence, Mulligan's affinity for the bossa nova (and its predecessors, the samba and the chorinho) perhaps should not surprise us. The bossa nova's insistent shuffle has much in common with similar rhythms that Mulligan has often used in his own songs, especially such relatively recent tunes as "K-4 Pacific," "Sun on Stairs," and North Atlantic Run. What's more, Mulligan compositions stretching back as far as 1949's "Venus De Milo" and including later pieces like "Song for Strayhorn" exhibit the carefully measured melodic movement and the slightly melancholic lilt that have long been hallmarks of Brazilian music. The unmistakable Mulligan sound — the dry attack and will-o'-the-wisp tone with which he remade the baritone saxophone in jazz — is the perfect correlative to the happy yearning found in so many bossa nova lyrics.


Gerry discovers Brazil? Actually, on this album Gerry Mulligan simply uncovers paradise; but for all intents and purposes, they turn out to be one and the same.”

— Neil Tesser


ABOUT JANE DUBOC


Jane Duboc was born in the city of Belem do Para in northern Brazil. As a child she was conservatory trained in piano and guitar. She received private instruction from her grandparents, both of whom were conductors.


Ms. Duboc has hosted television shows and won music awards, as well as trophies for her achievements as an athlete, particularly in tennis, swimming, and volleyball. In the Seventies she came to the United States and formed the group, Fane, playing club dates and jazz and blues gigs. On a scholarship to the University of Georgia, she continued her studies of piano, guitar, flute and voice as well as drama and dance.


Upon returning to Brazil, Jane continued in various fields of work. She was contracted by the TV Globo Network for voice-overs and jingles and began her recording career appearing as a background singer. She sang with progressive rock groups, symphony orchestras and jazz ensembles; she also composed and recorded for national and international movie soundtracks. Ms. Duboc has recorded nine albums, some of which feature guest appearances by such greats as Djvan, Gilberto Gil and Caetano Veloso.


In 1986 she became a household name in Brazil with the release of her fourth album "Jane Duboc" when the song "Hama da Paixno" went to number one on the charts. She broke into the international market in 1990 when her album topped the charts in Portugal at number one. The sweetness of her voice is unanimously praised. She blends artistic sensitivity beautifully with her technical ability.



Gordon Jack prepared the following review for JazzJournal.

GERRY MULLIGAN WITH JANE DUBOC PARAISO - JAZZ BRAZIL


(2) Paraíso; No Rio; (1) Sob A Estrela; (2) O Bom Alvinho; (1) Willow Tree; (2) Bordado; Tarde Em Itapoan; Amor Em Paz; Wave; (3) Tema Pra Jobim; (2) North Atlantic Run (59.56) 


Jane Duboc (v); Gerry Mulligan (bar) with:

(1) Charlie Ernst (p); Emanuel Moreira (elg); Leo Traversa (b); Peter Grant (d); Norberto Goldberg, Waltinho Anastacio (pc). NYC, July 5-7, 1993 .

(2) as (1) Cliff Korman (p); Emanuel Moreira (elg); Rogerio Maio (b); Ouduka DaFonesca (d); Waltinho Anastacio (pc).

(3) Gerry Mulligan (p); Leo Traversa (b); Peter Grant (d); Norberto Goldberg (pc). (Telarc CD-83361)


“This delightful bossa nova collaboration between the Brazilian singer Jane Duboc and Gerry Mulligan brings back memories of the Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto partnership. The repertoire though is quite different because most of the titles here were composed by Mulligan with lyrics supplied by Ms. Duboc. The only exceptions are Toquino's Tarde Em Itapoan and Jobim’s two classics - Wave and Amor Em Paz (aka Once I Loved). 


Jane Duboc too is a far better singer than Astrud Gilberto whose little-girl-lost delivery was sometimes marred by poor intonation. Ms Duboc who is a thoroughly well schooled musician has no such problem. She is a conservatory trained pianist with a voice that is at once arresting in its charming simplicity, calling to mind some of the early singers with Sergio Mendes & Brasil 66 like Lani Hall, Janis Hansen and Karen Phillips. 


As for Mulligan both João Gilberto and Antonio Carlos Jobim are on record stating that it was his influence as a writer and player that had been crucial to them both as young composers in the fifties - a time when they were working on what they sometimes referred to later as Cool Samba.


Gerry's compositions adapt perfectly to a Latin treatment and his presence enlivens each track both as soloist and sympathetic accompanist. Some titles seem to have been composed especially for the session while others have been recorded before with different names. Mulligan introduced No Rio in 1975 on a session with Enrico Intra as Rio One. Sob A Estrela was premiered on his 1983 Little Big Horn album with Dave Grusin as Under A Star and Bordado is better known as Etude For Franca from his 1989 quartet album with Bill Charlap. The English title of Tema Pra Jobim is Theme For Jobim. It was first heard on a 1963 quartet date which was the year that CBS did a TV special on Jobim and Mulligan filmed at Gerry's Manhattan apartment. It is one of his loveliest themes and when he and Brookmeyer recorded it they each played a chorus of the melody and nothing more - proving that improvisation is not always essential for a good jazz performance. Ms. Duboc wordlessly scats in unison with the baritone on North Atlantic Run (from Gerry's 1976 sextet album) which is the only one of his originals here not to have a Portuguese lyric.


An all bossa nova set is unique in Mulligan's extensive discography but this collaboration with the highly talented Jane Duboc works really well and is recommended.”

- Gordon Jack.



Gerry Mulligan -Theme For Jobim