Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0
Rooster_Ties

Reevaluating Gerry Mulligan’s Re-Birth of the Cool (1992) — and/or any other BotC redux

14 posts in this topic

Back in college, right when it first came out — I either used to own a copy of Gerry Mulligan’s Re-birth of the Cool (1992) — or I had easy access to one (or maybe I purloined a promo copy that the college radio station I worked at probably got). Anyway, whatever the case, I don’t remember having a copy just a few years later.

But I remember it both a little (slightly) fondly — but it was also kinda a little creepy too, iirc. Yes, clearly, forcing those 1949-50 charts (just slightly under-rehearsed, in their original incarnation) into the universe of GRP’s 1992 production techniques… …was too big a mind-fuck for me even to comprehend the implications of, barely 3 years into my jazz listening journey.

But is there anything redeeming in Milligan’s specific revisiting of those charts in 1992?? — overly-modern production techniques be dammed?

And was Mulligan’s 1992 attempt to revisit this specific past the FIRST time the whole — do I dare call it the Birth of the Cool suite? — the first time the whole shebang had been re-recorded for release???  (Surely not the first, I’d think — or maybe not?)

And what OTHER re-recordings of the full (or nearly full) BotC compilation album — and I always have to remind myself that the album was compilation — what OTHER BotC remakes are out there?? And are any of them 1) interesting? 2) good? 3) bad? 4) otherwise? or even 5) bizarre??

 

Somewhere I think I have a plain CDr (just a burn of what circulates) of Geri Allen and Wallace Roney freely interpolating the entire (or nearly entire) BotC suite (quite freely, as all the tunes run together, iirc, but it’s been 10+ years since I last listened to it. It’s just the two of them, piano and trumpet — a live audience recording at some (art?) museum, iirc, from like 15-ish years ago. That’s the most unique version I can think of.

Are there any others, besides the ‘92 Mulligan version?

 

PS: Yes, I do think Mulligan’s remake is probably just plain weird. But is there anything else to it worth enjoying, despite the weirdness?

(I’m seeing I can stream it thru Pandora, so maybe I will tomorrow, and report back.)

Edited by Rooster_Ties

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had tickets to see Mulligan do it live w (IIRC) Konitz replacing Woods but a friend chose the same date to get married.  Arghh. 

Edited by medjuck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One of Ken Poston’s West Coast events in the late 90s had a full recreation with the original scores plus a full 9-piece. Can’t recall who did the trumpet lead, possibly Conte Candoli.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5 hours ago, sidewinder said:

…in the late 90s… …Can’t recall who did the trumpet lead, possibly Conte Candoli.

I had no idea Candoli was active into the 80’s even, let alone the 90’s (admittedly, I mostly know him by reputation).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Even with the live recordings proving they had other ideas about this, that concept still strikes me as a salon band, and a damn good salon band.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

Back in college, right when it first came out — I either used to own a copy of Gerry Mulligan’s Re-birth of the Cool (1992) — or I had easy access to one (or maybe I purloined a promo copy that the college radio station I worked at probably got). Anyway, whatever the case, I don’t remember having a copy just a few years later.

But I remember it both a little (slightly) fondly — but it was also kinda a little creepy too, iirc. Yes, clearly, forcing those 1949-50 charts (just slightly under-rehearsed, in their original incarnation) into the universe of GRP’s 1992 production techniques… …was too big a mind-fuck for me even to comprehend the implications of, barely 3 years into my jazz listening journey.

But is there anything redeeming in Milligan’s specific revisiting of those charts in 1992?? — overly-modern production techniques be dammed?

And was Mulligan’s 1992 attempt to revisit this specific past the FIRST time the whole — do I dare call it the Birth of the Cool suite? — the first time the whole shebang had been re-record for release???  (Surely not, I would have to think.)

And what OTHER re-recordings of the full (or nearly full) BotC compilation album — and I always have to remind myself that the album was compilation — what OTHER BotC remakes are out there?? And are any of them 1) interesting? 2) good? 3) bad? 4) otherwise? or even 5) bizarre??

 

Somewhere I think I have a plain CDr (just a burn of what circulates) of Geri Allen and Wallace Roney freely interpolating the entire (or nearly entire) BotC suite (quite freely, as all the tunes run together, iirc, but it’s been 10+ years since I last listened to it. It’s just the two of them, piano and trumpet — a live audience recording at some (art?) museum, iirc, from like 15-ish years ago. That’s the most unique version I can think of.

Are there any others, besides the ‘92 Mulligan version?

 

PS: Yes, I do think Mulligan’s remake is probably just plain weird. But is there anything else to it worth enjoying, despite the weirdness?

(I’m seeing I can stream it thru Pandora, so maybe I will tomorrow, and report back.)

I don't know of any other re-recordings of BotC - just the studio and club recordings of the original band.

I think it has become something of an exercise for music students. I went with my wife a few years ago to hear students perform it at Manchester's Royal Northern College of Music. Afterwards my wife claimed she knew just about every note they played. Shows how often I'd been playing the original at home!

As to the re-recording, it certainly sounds different with a modern rhythm section. Around 1960 I recall my musician and student friend, John Rubin (brother of Ronnie Scott bassist Ron Rubin) saying that BotC didn't swing, as did Shorty Rogers' "Popo"/"Didi" session with a similar band. Perhaps John would have preferred the 1992 version of BotC.

Edited by BillF

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JSngry said:

Even with the live recordings proving they had other ideas about this, that concept still strikes me as a salon band, and a damn good salon band.

Would you categorize Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band similarly? Or if not, why not? (an honest question)

Edit: And are any other notable bands you would categorize similarly? (Asking, cuz I like this kinda stuff, at least when it’s really good.)

Edited by Rooster_Ties

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The CJB was a big band, period.

Other "salon bands"....Raymond Scott, John Kirby (although the did well enough in a barroom....just any ensemble that is all about color and not necessarily about dancing or drinking..."chamber jazz" if you will. And the volume will never really ROAR, if you know what I mean, although, blame the drummer if it does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Rooster_Ties said:

I had no idea Candoli was active into the 80’s even, let alone the 90’s (admittedly, I mostly know him by reputation).

Still very much active, playing with style/power and hitting the high notes. I was impressed !

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A while ago -- maybe a decade ago? -- I saw Joe Lovano in concert at Spivey Hall, south of Atlanta.  Lovano was leading a nonet, and they performed music from The Birth of the Cool.  Most of the record, IIRC.  Maybe even all of it.

It was an interesting performance... but I admit that I wasn't blown away by it.  I found myself wishing that he'd perform his own music instead.  ;)

I don't know whether Lovano ever recorded any of it.  Perhaps something to look into if you'd like another take on the music.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Buselli-Wallarab Jazz Orchestra here in Indiana performed all of BOTC once, maybe twice a few years back.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to go, and they never made a studio recording afaik.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am not sure what the issue is here? Many albums have been made of music first recorded by others. The list would be very very lengthy.

With regard to the Mulligan redo of Birth of the Cool, the solos were played by different musicians and were not copies of the original album.  So the whole thing seems like like nothing really all that new or different than what we have seen countless times before. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 2021/9/23 at 5:46 AM, HutchFan said:

A while ago -- maybe a decade ago? -- I saw Joe Lovano in concert at Spivey Hall, south of Atlanta.  Lovano was leading a nonet, and they performed music from The Birth of the Cool.  Most of the record, IIRC.  Maybe even all of it.

It was an interesting performance... but I admit that I wasn't blown away by it.  I found myself wishing that he'd perform his own music instead.  ;)

I don't know whether Lovano ever recorded any of it.  Perhaps something to look into if you'd like another take on the music.

 

 
 
 

Lovano recorded some materials from BotC in 2006.  I should say it is rather mundane despite the promising personnel.  Also, I don't quite understand (now and then) why Lovano "has to" do it -- well, maybe he just "wanted to" or "could" do, but I don't see any personal connection or necessity.

 

I'm not sure this was related with Gerry's 1992 project, but this Lee Konitz's recollection (from Bill Crow's Jazz Anecdotes) is rather amusing:

The Smithsonian Institution wanted Lee Konitz to do a concert using the Nonet arrangements by Gil Evans, Gerry Mulligan, John Lewis, and John Carisi that had been used on the Miles Davis "Birth of the Cool" band in the late 1940s.  Lee said:

  I didn't know where the arrangements were, so I called Miles.  I hadn't had any communication with him in years, and he wasn't interested.  He didn't want to hear about it.

After getting the four arrangers to laboriously re-create their arrangements, Konitz phoned Davis:

  I said, "Miles, remember my asking you for the arrangements of the 'Cool' sessions? Well, we've transcribed them and rewritten them and put them together again." He said, "Man, you should have asked me.  Those mothers are all in my basement."

Later, Konitz reported the conversation to Gil Evans, who said,

  Miles wouldn't have told you he had everything in the basement if you hadn't first told him you'd gone to the trouble to transcribe the records.

 

Edited by mhatta

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in



Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
Followers 0

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.