Santa Monica 1960

Article excerpt

Gerry Mulligan and The Concert Jazz Band

Santa Monica 1960

Fresh Sounds Records FSR-CD 710

Don Ferrara, Conte Condoli, Nick Travis (tp) Bob Brookmeyer (v tb, p-1) Willie Dennis (tb) Alan Raph (b tb) Gene Quill (as, cl) Bob Donovan (as) Jim Reider, Zoot Sims (ts) Gerry Mulligan (bs) Gene Allen (bs, b cl) Buddy Clark (b) Mel Lewis (d). Santa Monica Civic Auditorium, CA, October 1, 1960

CD 1

Theme: Utter Chaos/Out Of This World/Black Nightgown/18 Carrots For Rabbit/Piano Blues/Bweebida Bwobbida/The Red Door/Western Reunion TT 57:52

CD 2

Theme: Utter Chaos/You Took Advantage of Me/As Catch Can/Sweet and Slow/Young Blood/My Funny Valentine/Apple Core/Come Rain Or Come Shine/Go Home/Blueport/Theme: Utter Chaos TT 63:36

The Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band. The name in and of itself is a declaration in no uncertain terms.

Survival of a big band in that era required a dual capacity. Maintaining a book that could satisfy dancers at the few gigs that still existed as well as staying true to their jazz roots. Ellington, Basie, Woody Herman, Harry James - all had considerable dance books along with their high powered jazz libraries. Striving to keep both constituencies happy on any given night. With the Concert Jazz Band Gerry Mulligan was determined to make a go of the idea of a performance orchestra without bowing to the dance band requirements. With the name he chose Mulligan could have just as easily been shouting "We are not a dance band, so don't ask."

As the spiritual forerunner of the Mel Lewis/Thad Jones Orchestra unfortunately this band's recorded legacy is way too small. Which makes this release nothing short of a gift out of the blue. Recorded brilliantly by the legendary sound engineer Wally Heider, this short lived band was captured at what may have been it's absolute peak. (Has anyone ever heard a live performance engineered by Wally Heider that wasn't magnificently recorded?) This was the sixth leg of a long seventeen city fall tour of the United States which directly preceded their first European tour, another great success.

The audience that night in Santa Monica was filled with many musicians and friends, adding a drive to the proceedings that Mulligan felt made it all the more inspired. …

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