In December 1957, Pacific Jazz's Dick Bock came to New York for several weeks of a marathon recording schedule that included dates by Bob Brookmeyer and Chet Baker as well as four Gerry Mulligan sessions, all of which reflected a great deal of creative conceptualization and planning.
The first project was a reunion of Gerry and Chet Baker. The quartet with Henry Grimes and Dave Bailey recorded enough material for two albums, though only one was issued at the time. By no means nostalgic, Mulligan and Baker take a fresh approach to material they'd never tackled before.
The crown jewel of this set is The Gerry Mulligan Songbook, released on CD in stereo here for the first time. Bill Holman arranged six celebrated Mulligan compositions from various stages of his career for a sublime sax section that consisted of Lee Konitz, Allen Eager, Al Cohn, Zoot Sims and Mulligan, superbly anchored by Freddie Green, Grimes and Bailey. Mulligan wrote and arranged a seventh for the occasion. The writing and solos are excellent throughout. The stereo and mono versions of three tunes differ and all versions are included.
The most unusual date here is the one with the Vinnie Burke String Quartet, which consists of guitar, violin, cello and bass, with Mulligan and Dave Bailey. Eight of the nine selections were slated to come out as Stringtime, a cover was created, but the album never materialized, although four tunes later appeared on CD. The strings with pizzicato violin and cello on the melodies add a light, open texture to the arrangements.
Annie Ross Sings A Song Of Mulligan was the first and best of three albums that this extraordinary singer made for World Pacific. Her unerring sense of pitch and musicianship made her ideal for jazz settings, especially one such as this with no chordal instrument to provide a tonal center. At the December sessions, she plays with the reunion quartet and, in September 1958, with Mulligan's then current quartet with Art Farmer, Bill Crow and Bailey. Six bonus tracks have been added to the album.
These four wide-ranging projects recorded in the space of two weeks glimpse the enormous palette from which Gerry Mulligan drew throughout his career.
(A) Chet Baker, trumpet; Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Henry Grimes, bass; Dave Bailey, drums. Disc one (#1-8) originally issued as REUNION (World Pacific WP-1241)
Disc one #9 originally issued on THE PLAYBOY JAZZ ALL-STARS (Playboy PB 1958)
Disc one #10 originally issued on THE PLAYBOY JAZZ ALL-STARS (Playboy PB 1959)
Disc one #12 originally issued on Mosaic MR5-102
Disc one (#11, 13-16) originally issued on the CD version of REUNION (Pacific Jazz B2-46857)
Recorded on December 3, 11 & 17, 1957
Disc one # 1-9 are stereo, #10-16 are mono
(B) Lee Konitz, alto sax; Allen Eager, alto and tenor sax; Zoot Sims, alto and tenor sax; Al Cohn, tenor and baritone sax; Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Freddie Green, guitar; Henry Grimes, bass; Dave Bailey, drums; Bill Homan, arranger.
Originally issued on the mono and stereo versions of THE GERRY MULLIGAN SONGBOOK, VOL. 1 (World Pacific WP-1237)
Recorded on December 4 & 5, 1957
Disc Two #1-7 are stereo, #8 & 9 are mono
(C) Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Paul Palmieri, guitar; Dick Wetmore, violin; Calo Scott, cello; Vinnie Burke, bass; Dave Bailey, drums.
All selections except "I Can't Get Started" were originally intended for release as STRINGTIME (World Pacific WP-1252)
Disc two (#10-13) were issued on the mono CD edition of THE GERRY MULLIGAN SONGBOOK (Pacific Jazz B2-33575)
Recorded on December 5, 1957
Disc three (#1-5) are previously unissued
This session is mono
(D) Annie Ross, vocal; Chet Baker, trumpet; Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Henry Grimes, bass; Dave Bailey, drums.
Disc three #16 originally issued on THE GENIUS OF GERRY MULLIGAN (Pacific Jazz ST 20140)
Disc three #17-21 originally issued on the CD edition of ANNIE ROSS SINGS A SONG OF MULLIGAN (Pacific Jazz B2-46852)
All other selections originally issued on ANNIE ROSS SINGS A SONG OF MULLIGAN (World Pacific WP-1253)
Recorded on December 11 & 17, 1957
(E) Annie Ross, vocal; Art Farmer, trumpet; Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Bill Crow, bass; Dave Bailey, drums.
All selections issued on ANNIE ROSS SINGS A SONG OF MULLIGAN (World Pacific WP-1253)
Recorded in probably September 1958
Disc three #6-14 are stereo, #15-21 are mono