Gerry Mulligan

Concert Jazz Big Band Featuring Zoot Sims

Zurich 1960 TCB 02122

Gerry Mulligan, baritone saxophone; Conte Candoli, Nick Travis, Don Ferrara, trumpet; Zoot Sims, Jim Reider, tenor saxophone; Bob Donovan, alto saxophone; Gene Quill, clarinet, alto saxophone; Gene Allan, clarinet, baritone saxophone; Bob Brookmeyer, valve trombone; Willie Dennis, trombone; Alan Raph, bass trombone; Buddy Clark, bass; Mel Lewis, drums

This one goes back a bit. Zurich 1960 and Mulligan personally in fine form, together with what amounts largely to a bunch of star players. Mulligan sounds positively light and airy throughout, his often short solos handled with a beguiling grace, executed with his truly lovely, rounded and unmistakable tone all of which perfectly confound the idea that the baritone is an unwieldy monster. But it is probably Mel Lewis to whom a great deal of praise must be given for the success of this gig. This is a rattling good drummer and his work behind the soloists and as part of the rhythm section in general is a joy to hear. There is a piece from the film "I Wan't To Live and Mulligan's hit, "Walkin' Shoes," which is taken at a more leisurely pace than we seem to remember. "Body and Soul" is also given a meandering treatment, and we must wait for Zoot Sims to get some real excitement going with his fluent, swinging and utterly exhilarating solo on "The Apple Core," which is aided and abetted by some solid ensemble writing and playing and the ever-attentive Lewis. And Sims, always able to add sparkle to any occasion, brings the house down. Just about everyone is inexpressibly hip on Ben Webster's "Go Home," which jogs in at ten minutes, allowing plenty of space for the guys to approach the mic and lay down some beautiful solos. It all winds up with Ellington's "I'm Gonna Go Fishin'" a number that must be impossible not to get excited about. The band does this one justice and crowd love every minute of it.                                                                                 

byLawrence Brazier

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