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montg

Mulligan & Baker quartet

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Lately, I've been exploring West Coast jazz, after being dissmissive for a number of years (doesn't swing, stiff, overly formal etc.). My preconceptions have been mostly wrong, particularly in the case of the Baker & Mulligan early quartets. I just picked up this CD the other day and it's a revelation. This is desert island stuff, I can't believe I've overlooked it for so long. The music is light and open and it's intense in an understated way. Chet Baker surprised me too--I always thought of him as technically limited and although he's no Clifford Brown, he gets around pretty well on the horn. And he doesn't sing on these sides, which is a plus for me.

Any other fans of this music? I've enjoyed it so much, I went ahead and ordered the Mosaic Mulligan, after deciding I was going to let it pass.

f170833xuox.jpg

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Here is another one who admits he likes West Coast jazz (though this does not prevent me from digging other jazz styles too).

I sure am glad Fresh Sound Records made so many West Coast goodies available again.

Some of the West Coast stuff is stiff and overly formal and precalculated indeed but as you rightly say a lot of it swings in a way that is "light and open and intense in an understated way" (that sums it up quite nicely).

By the way, though, according to period reports Gerry Mulligan resented being associated with the West Coast movement! ;)

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Even though I already had a number of those Mulligan Quartet sides, I purchased the Mulligan-Baker Quartet set when Mosaic released this in one of their very first sets. The liner notes still have the Ocean Drive, Santa Monica adress.

Been among my favorite Mosaic boxes ever!

Love the interaction between Mulligan, Baker and the other players!

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Nifty little group.

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I had wanted to hear the Mulligan/Baker recordings ever since I first became interested in jazz, but I don't believe that I ever once saw the records in the stores. I assume they were all out of print.

So I jumped at the chance to order this (as well as the Blue Note Monk) when I received my first Mosaic catalogue in 1988.

I loved it from the get go, but over time it didn't wear as well as other music has for me. I rarely play it now. Maybe I'll dig the set out when I dig out my Christmas LPs. It's fun music for sure.

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I picked up the '96 Complete Pacific Jazz Mulligan/Baker box a few years back in a trade (with Kevin B. I think?), and really enjoy it as well. I think it's a duplicate of the Mosaic set, though I'm not sure.

Well worth seeking out, though it's OOP and I'm not sure how easy it is to find.

c0762712lir.jpg

edit - just noticed the main picture on this box set is the same as on the one you posted, montg!

Edited by Aggie87

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I'm a big fan of the Mulligan/Baker recordings (and throw in Konitz with them and I'm happy).

You're going to love the Mosaic Mulligan!

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Montg(omery?) — I know exactly that feeling of "Wha? Where have I been? This stuff is great!" I first experienced Mulligan with Baker twelve years ago, and it's now been a long-standing affair. Those two, though they may not have gotten along so charmingly, had an almost telepathic kinship. I think you'll really like the Mosaic Select, especially the "Reunion" session that includes Henry Grimes.

When/if you decide to delve further into "West Coast" material, you might also like:

• Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band (Mosaic)

• Gerry Mulligan Sextet (availalbe through Fresh Sounds, or in pricier but better sounding Japanese editions)

• Bob Gordon/Jack Montrose (Fresh Sounds or the old West Coast Classics edition)

• Jon Eardley (the now OOP stuff on OJC/Concord)

... and, of course, much more. Mostly, enjoy the adventure! An enormous amount of good music came out of California at that time.

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Montg(omery?) — I know exactly that feeling of "Wha? Where have I been? This stuff is great!" I first experienced Mulligan with Baker twelve years ago, and it's now been a long-standing affair. Those two, though they may not have gotten along so charmingly, had an almost telepathic kinship. I think you'll really like the Mosaic Select, especially the "Reunion" session that includes Henry Grimes.

When/if you decide to delve further into "West Coast" material, you might also like:

• Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band (Mosaic)

• Gerry Mulligan Sextet (availalbe through Fresh Sounds, or in pricier but better sounding Japanese editions)

• Bob Gordon/Jack Montrose (Fresh Sounds or the old West Coast Classics edition)

• Jon Eardley (the now OOP stuff on OJC/Concord)

... and, of course, much more. Mostly, enjoy the adventure! An enormous amount of good music came out of California at that time.

Thanks for the recommendations. I don't have any of those--I really regret that the West Coast Classics material is long oop.

The kinship between Baker & Mulligan really is impressive. There's kind of a New Orleans jazz type of interplay as they answer each others' lines and play background riffs that are melodic counterpoints.

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I picked up the '96 Complete Pacific Jazz Mulligan/Baker box a few years back in a trade (with Kevin B. I think?), and really enjoy it as well. I think it's a duplicate of the Mosaic set, though I'm not sure.

Well worth seeking out, though it's OOP and I'm not sure how easy it is to find.

c0762712lir.jpg

edit - just noticed the main picture on this box set is the same as on the one you posted, montg!

The set mentioned above with this CD:

d83753w3alb.jpg

would match all of the material on the Mulligan/Baker Mosaic set.

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I like the GM/CB quartet stuff (as I also like the quartet with GM and Desmond "Two of a Mind"). As was mentioned on this and the other thread, these guys have a great sense of counterpoint, and give and take in their playing. The fact that they are both really "making the changes" helps that counterpoint sound almost pre-composed. I also like GM's arrangments. A few years ago I did a concert of some of these arrangements, and gained even more respect for GM's writing by digging in and transcribing what he wrote.

One thing I have to be careful of: If I start actually paying attention to the rhythm section while listening, it kinda drives me nuts that there is so little interaction between the soloing horn(s) and the rhythm section. That definitely contributes to the chug-chug-chugging that was mentioned earlier. Also, the fact that the drummer never(?) goes from brushes to sticks is at once endearing but a little frustrating. It keeps the lid on the energy a little too tightly. But of course, that's all by design, so there's no point in carping about what something like this is, when it is so good at being exactly what it is. :D

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Even though I already had a number of those Mulligan Quartet sides, I purchased the Mulligan-Baker Quartet set when Mosaic released this in one of their very first sets. The liner notes still have the Ocean Drive, Santa Monica adress.

Been among my favorite Mosaic boxes ever!

Love the interaction between Mulligan, Baker and the other players!

Good reminder. I'll dig this Mosaic out tonight.

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Montg, since you're looking for West Coast suggestions, I recommend that you get Duane Tatro's Jazz For Moderns from the Concord blowout sale before it's too late.

The other two West Coast albums I think are superlative are Shelly Manne's The West Coast Sound on Contemporary and Shorty Rogers' Short Stops on RCA Bluebird.

The Rogers is oop, but has been available from Amazon sellers.

And let's not forget one of my favorites, a best seller: Henry Mancini's Music From Peter Gunn on RCA Victor, available from Your Music.

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Montg, since you're looking for West Coast suggestions, I recommend that you get Duane Tatro's Jazz For Moderns from the Concord blowout sale before it's too late.

The other two West Coast albums I think are superlative are Shelly Manne's The West Coast Sound on Contemporary and Shorty Rogers' Short Stops on RCA Bluebird.

The Rogers is oop, but has been available from Amazon sellers.

And let's not forget one of my favorites, a best seller: Henry Mancini's Music From Peter Gunn on RCA Victor, available from Your Music.

Thanks for the recs. Of those you mentioned, I only have the Tatro (actually picked it up in the sale)--interesting stuff. Like the Mulligan/Baker, it was a lot more exciting than I expected it would be. I kind of bought into the notion that West Coast jazz lacks testosterone, without really hearing the music for myself.

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desert island stuff indeed!

Remind me to never get on a boat with you. :cool:

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Chuck gets seasick really fast.

Not really - my knapsack isn't big enough for this stuff. I'll rely on 40 years of listening.

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Lately, I've been exploring West Coast jazz, after being dissmissive for a number of years (doesn't swing, stiff, overly formal etc.). My preconceptions have been mostly wrong, particularly in the case of the Baker & Mulligan early quartets. I just picked up this CD the other day and it's a revelation. This is desert island stuff, I can't believe I've overlooked it for so long. The music is light and open and it's intense in an understated way. Chet Baker surprised me too--I always thought of him as technically limited and although he's no Clifford Brown, he gets around pretty well on the horn. And he doesn't sing on these sides, which is a plus for me.

Any other fans of this music?

f170833xuox.jpg

Yes, indeed, count me as a big fan of this music. Much like you, for years I had a musical blind spot for this stuff. Then all of a sudden (around '99 or 2000) I really started to dig it. It's not "flashy" music, but it does swing. Now I'll get almost anything by Mulligan.

:tup:tup:tup

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If you want to try more West Coast stuff, don't forget to check out "Shelly Manne and his men at the Blackhawk" (all five volumes are great). The two "at the Manne-Hole" discs are also nice.

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The Shorty Rogers "Short Stops" (especially the "Courts the Count" material on this twofer) and the Shelly Manne records ("West Coast Sound" and "Blackhawk" are really recommended.

You might also like to check out

Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse All Stars, especially "Sunday Jazz At The Lighthouse", "Music for Lighthousekeeping", "In The Solo Spotlight". Reissues should be available in the OJC series. (On the other hand, I am not too fond of the "Oboe/Flute" Lighthouse All Stars release in this series. This is a bit effeminate for my taste and may be one of those releases that gave West Coast jazz a bad name back then.)

Another item that may be hard to find but is some sort of revelation:

Frank Rosolino "Free For All" (Specialty SP 2161 - a 1958 session that remained unissued until after Rosolino's death)

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