|180-gram audiophile virgin vinyl.
Gerry Mulligan’s arrest on drug charges in June 1953 led to a six-month prison term and the end of the baritonist’smusically fertile yet tumultuous association with Chet Baker. And while Baker’s solo career predates the disbandingof Mulligan’s quartet, the trumpeter’s development as a leader most certainly came to fruition after the baritonist’sincarceration. Baker took over Mulligan’s gig at the Haig, adding the exceptional pianist Russ Freeman to therhythm section of bassist Carson Smith and drummer Larry Bunker from the piano-less quartet. Freeman provedan exceptional soloist, composer, and one of Baker’s most sympathetic accompanists. While the pianist waspresent on all of the trumpeter’s early sessions as a leader (apart from the quartet date co-led by Stan Getz), thebass and drum chairs remained in fluctuation until January 1954.
The May 9 concert was organized by local jazz promoter and D.J. Ollie McLaughlin and took place at the MasonicTemple in downtown Ann Arbor. It was McLaughlin who arranged for this performance to be recorded. The MichiganDaily’s Sunday edition included an article by a local jazz writer, who promoted the concert mentioning Baker’ssudden rise to fame and unprecedented achievement of winning both the Down Beat and Metronome Poll Awardsin the same year.
While hopeful Baker fans have been waiting for previously unknown and unissued tracks from this performanceto come to light, it is almost certain that the introduction by Chet plus the eight instrumental tracks contained onthis edition constitute Baker’s complete Ann Arbor performance. The fact that the 8:30 concert included an openingact by the R & B band The Four Robins lends credence to this supposition.
Live at the Masonic Temple, Ann Arbor, Michigan, May 9, 1954.