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Best Of Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker

Best Of Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker

18 Mar 1991
4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 18 Mar. 1991
  • Release Date: 18 Mar. 1991
  • Label: Blue Note Records
  • Copyright: ℗ 1991 Blue Note Records. All rights reserved. Unauthorized reproduction is a violation of applicable laws. Manufactured by Blue Note Records, 150 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10011. © 1991 Blue Note Records
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 48:47
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001JJAX58
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 133,261 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)
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Customer Reviews

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By Sentinel TOP 500 REVIEWER on 7 Jan. 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This attractive compilation brings together a mixture of singles and album tracks recorded by Mulligan and Baker during their 'golden year' between August '52 and May '53, adding an intriguing 'Festive Minor' from their '57 reunion. With the exception of a glorious live version of torchsong 'My Funny Valentine', which clocks in at over 5 minutes, most of the material here is of single duration, around or under the 3 minute mark.

The combination of Baker's silvery trumpet tones against Mulligan's rich register baritone, is a winning one, especially on 'Love me or Leave me' and 'Soft Shoe', although it's the two longer tracks which offer the most potential for development. However, I've deducted one star for the sound quality, for the digital transfer gives a recessed, muted quality to the performances, so you have to crank up the volume to compensate. Nevertheless, this is effectively the best of Baker & Mulligan on one disc at a modest price, so clearly worth acquiring.

If, like me, you enjoy the earthy, rich timbre of baritone sax, I'd strongly recommend two other bargain collections from Mulligan: a great anthology featuring much live material One Man, One Sax (10CD) and a superbly remastered Avidjazz collection of 4 classic Mulligan albums, with really gorgeous sound Four Classic Albums (Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges / What Is There To Say? / Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster / Gerry Mulligan Quartet At Storyville) Lovely stuff.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Relaxed jazz.
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By A Customer on 13 Jan. 2001
Format: Audio CD
The Best of Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker
To quote Humphrey Lyttleton, speaking of a different CD, I have run out of superlatives to describe this music. It is difficult to believe that this has been around in one format or another for almost fifty years, and that the first releases were on 78 rpm shellac discs. This actually gives a clue to the content; every track is an exquisite miniature, designed to shoehorn into the 3 minutes, which was as much as the disc could accommodate. I first heard this music in the mid-fifties when I was still at school; in the midst of a record session devoted to Lonnie Donegan if I remember rightly, someone turned up with an Extended Play 45 rpm record, and I stayed behind out or curiosity to hear it. It has been a part of my life ever since. My experience of Jazz up until then had been at the St Albans Jazz Club in the Market Hall, and I had adopted unconsciously certain criteria. To play Jazz successfully you had to be drunk, you had to be loud, and you had to be dirty. You went to such a club to chat to your friends and nobody listened to the music. It was what I now call 'Hairy Jazz', and it followed very strict format with a trumpet/clarinet/trombone front line, and if it was "modern" it had a piano instead of a banjo.
My exposure to the Mulligan Quartet changed all that. My first impression was that these blokes know what they were doing. It was quiet; it did not shout at you; it sounded different to anything I'd ever heard, and it was precise. Every note was where it should be and, more importantly, every note could be heard.
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Format: Audio CD
Another schoolboy fan of the fifties!! I think I came upon Gerry Mulligan before I knew much about Coleman Hawkins and Lester Young. The baritone saxaphone has the same appeal as a bass voice. Either instrument, played well, is a departure from the standard - tenors and altos in the case of saxaphones, tenors and baritones in the case of voices. Thus the baritone sax has a freshness about it and, when played by Gerry Mulligan, warmth and excitement. His rapport with other musicians is, seemingly, instinctive. The pairing with Chet Baker may have been a well-considered piece of planning but to the listener their partnership comes over as the best of serendipity. One or two tracks fall short of the immediacy of this group in full flight but, overall, the disc is a gem which I know I can turn to with pleasure.
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Format: Audio CD
When I was 14, in 1960, all I knew of so-called "Modern Jazz" was an MJQ EP (No Sun in Venice) and a Dave Brubeck EP owned by my mate's uncle. At that time, my mum let me have a party. It was a tame affair. Some Chelsea blokes turned up, friends of one of the few girls I knew. They were dressed in baggy trousers with turn-ups(!), waisted tweed jackets with one vent at the back, check shirts, and roll collar tops. They had their hair sort of high, and short at the front. They looked so different, so "cool", and they acted "cool", standing in a sort tribal pose, their hands behind their backs. They were so unlike the kids I knew at the Park Walk Youth Club down the World's End. And you certainly wouldn't "mess" with them. I was impressed, very(!), and some-one whispered to me that they were "modernists". Well, whatever they were, they pre-dated the the "Mod" cult, and I wanted to be one of them.
But these blokes, they brought some strange records to the party: Thelonious Monk (what a name to conjure with!) on Riverside, and the Gerry Mulligan Quartet on the Argo label (that maroon coloured 12' LP that included Chet Baker in the band). I was hooked there and then (!!) to both Mulligan and Monk, and many others to follow, of course. But the Mulligan stuff at that party consisted of a load of beautiful gems of recordings by that Mulligan/Baker Quartet. (So too did were the recordings of the subsequent Mulligan/Brookmayer Quartet, by the way, that I saw in concert at the Royal Festival Hall a year or 2 later.)
And all these gems have remained with me like a sacred text. They ARE a sacred text! (Along with many others along the way of course.) They are exquisite pieces, and the interplay between Mulligan and Baker is "divinity" itself.
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