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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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Gerry MULLIGAN

At Liederhalle Stuttgart,
November 22, 1977

SWR ARTHAUS MUSIK
VINYL 101725

 

 

Side A

1. For an Unfinished Woman

2. Line for Lyons

3. Taurus Moon

Side B

4. My Funny Valentine

5. Four for Three

6. K-4 Pacific

 

Gerry Mulligan (bass and soprano saxophones)

Dave Samuels (vibraphone)

Thomas Fay (piano)

Mike Santiago (guitar)

George Duvivier (bass)

Bobby Rosengarten (drums)

 

This marvellous series of releases from Arthaus continues apace with this wonderfully atmospheric set from the great late lamented giant of the baritone sax Gerry Mulligan on good old fashioned 33.

What always amazes me about Gerry Mulligan is the singing quality of his big sax (as well as his soprano sax) and his ability to make each rendition of even the most well known of his tunes sound fresh and un-hackneyed.

The record kicks off with a superb playing of For an Unfinished Woman that is warm and gorgeous with a real feel good factor built in. Then, though you thought you knew Line for Lyons he manages to play it as if for the first time. There is a particularly lovely solo from vibraphonist Dave Samuels on Taurus Moon but all the musicians are absolutely fabulous on all tracks. Incidentally, as the liner notes explain that title is not a reference to his star sign as he was an Aries as am I so that may explain the special place I have in my jazz heart for Gerry. He was also one of the very first jazz giants I was aware of when I first discovered jazz and I still have the record he featured on back in the 1950s.

Side 2 opens with My Funny Valentine and again if you thought nothing else could be said musically about something as well known as that then you’re in for a very pleasant surprise. Of course he played it often together with Chet Baker who sang along with it but this version with the addition of a piano will thrill just as much. Four For Three is a wonderfully blistering tune with the baritone’s full fat sound dominating proceedings before Samuel’s lyric vibes come in. The record’s final track is also the longest and K-4 Pacific includes a gorgeous solo from 70s rising star, guitarist Mike Santiago as well as Thomas Fay’s beautifully articulated piano. George Duvivier’s bass is truly to die for with a depth of richness that confirms his well deserved status as one of jazz’s all-time greatest bassists. As the end approaches Bobby Rosengarten’s drumming, always a wonderfully solid anchor, gives us an example of just how musical he is.

This is one of those records you will never tire of hearing though the more often you do the more you’ll benefit as the various layers reveal themselves and you hear things you hadn’t noticed before. The set sounds so incredibly fresh that it is hard to believe that it was recorded almost 40 years ago but that what greatness delivers – a timeless quality that is equally relevant today as it was back in 1977.

Steve Arloff



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