The Gerry Mulligan Quartet, though only together for eleven months or so, produced some of the best postwar jazz of the day, despite the occasional insults from jazz journalists and bebop loyalists. This set contains pretty much everything. It's a streamlined econo-buy of the excellent Complete Recordings 4-CD set that came out two or three years ago (and when they said "Limited Edition", they meant it; it was out of print in a matter of months). Although the packaging of this product leaves much to be desired, especially when compared to the gorgeous 4-CD set, it contains all of the same tracks sans the outtakes, Mulligan and Baker's REUNION album, and the sessions they cut playing back-up for Annie Ross (now finally available as a Japanese import entitled ANNIE ROSS SINGS A SONG WITH MULLIGAN). Much has been written on the genesis behind Mulligan's founding of his "pianoless" quartet and their early gigs at the Haig, but these recordings speak for themselves. After some mediocre demos, which show Mulligan still struggling with the absence of the piano's harmony, the quartet hits perfection with "Bernie's Tune", soon followed by "Nights at the Turntable", "Swinghouse", "Freeway" and "Walkin' Shoes". This is Chet Baker at his early creative peak, before the drugs and vocal sessions kicked-in, and, until his later days, he rarely hit such heights again. The lyrical counterpoints he and Mulligan engage in are as hypnotizing as they are subtle. Likewise, Chico Hamilton's drumming is truly amazing, and why his subsequent Pacific Jazz recordings are not available domestically is beyond me. The entire band fits together like a tight machine, often rushing ahead full-force in a tone barely audible. Of course, if one is a purist and anal about maintaining the design and song structure of the original recording, as I am, then you ought to buy the Pacific Jazz Japanese import entitled simply THE GERRY MULLIGAN QUARTET. This features not only 20-bit mapping, but also the original cover art, an overhead photograph of the band taken by William Claxton. I can't imagine what Pacific was thinking when they opted for this new goofy collage over such a fantastic black-and-white photograph. But I digress--if you want quantity and don't want to shuck out the bucks for an import, this is the disc for you.