The Best of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker CD
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Genre: Jazz Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 26-MAR-1991
Top Customer Reviews
Frankly, it's hard to imagine a partnership of two individuals less likely to succeed: Mulligan, New York-raised, formally trained, tall, fair-haired, his theoretician's instincts already refined by years in several influential late-40s big bands and a successful collaboration with Gil Evans/Miles Davis; Baker, on the other hand, a man who would come to be termed "jazz's 'dark angel," southwest-born and bred, largely self-taught and instinctive in his approach to music, a "problem child" virtually from birth.
The traits they shared were largely negative: histories of drug abuse and an inability to deal with their "inner demons," lousy tempers, and an incredible talent for fatally sabotaging their personal relationships, intellectual impatience versus an inbred inferiority complex. Even their "instrumental philosophies" were at variance; Mulligan was prone to treat his baritone sax almost as a tenor -- or even alto -- in his approach, while Chet Baker consistently seemed to eschew the arrogant brassiness of most trumpeters of his (or, for that matter, the current) era.
Try to imagine these guys "hanging out" together, or -- a bold leap of imagination -- at a barbecue with their families of the moment. Never mind; it never happened.
What did happen -- thankfully -- is that, for eleven months in the early '50s, playing night after night at The Haig in L.A., Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker found common cause -- a lingua franca -- in the music they made together, and in the sound they helped to develop (the so-called "West Coast" or "cool jazz" school), as here memorialized in a selection of remasterings from original Pacific Jazz 78 rpm singles.Read more ›
Respect is due for these two forefathers of the Cool Jazz movement, and there is nothing bad to say about this album. But if I was going to buy only one album by the Mulligan/Baker quartet, it wouldn't be this one, but the Gerry Mulligan - The Original Quartet With Chet Baker (2CD), where the music is just as fine, and there is more than twice as much of it!
When you read in Gavin's book about the trials and tribulations that Mulligan/Baker were going through in LA as these tracks were being laid down -- Mulligan's conviction and incarceration for possession, remember, ended the quartet's existence, although Chet Baker would make up for not-so-lost time with long stretches in the slammer himself in the years ahead -- it is utterly remarkable that these two lost-in-space cadets got together long enough to do something this remarkable!
If there is a better rendition of Valentine, anywhere, please let me know. In the meantime, Mulligan w/Baker may be the single most essential Fifties jazz cd any novice to the field must buy -- and buy now.
This was where Baker, btw, cut his Funny Valentine chops -- he recorded, methinks, thirty or so versions, at least, of his signature piece -- and anyone who can listen to the magnificent interplay on this cd between two of the greatest of jazz greats who, in 1952-54, had no idea either of them was going anywhere, besides to prison, will make strong men crumble, women weep, and children stand up and pay attention.... k
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Two great players who made the piano-less quartet idea work. Baker and Mulligan seem to be very compatible and equal here.Published 12 months ago by xxxbluejazz
Mulligan is good Mulligan, and Baker is good Baker. Somehow the two just don't get their groove on together to my ear; Listen to a sample first. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Larry Wolford
Chet is my idol. Live dangerously, die young, and have a beautiful corpse.Published 24 months ago by C George Brockus
This is not the best, but probably the worst of Mulligan. It should taken off the shelves, so to speak.Published 24 months ago by Gareth Downs
The joining of two masters of their craft. Great arrangements and good interplay between the artists who are among the best jazz performers of the age. Read morePublished on July 18, 2014 by Stuart G Robertson
An interesting collaboration of two Jazz greats.
A great version of "Jeru".
A few of the tracks are not recorded (or re-mastered) well. Read more
Was listenin' to my TV stereo jazz channel today & heard this beautiful rendition of "Walkin' Shoes" with the unmistakeable sounds of Mulligan & Baker. "Hey" says I. Read morePublished on August 25, 2012 by Jerlaw