Monday, 17 March 2008

Ben/Gerry

Happy St. Pats! And yes, I did look about for something Irish to post and pondered a few but settled on stretching the genre just far enough to include Gerry Mulligan.


His Father was Irish :)


And in keeping with the fathers and sons, here's a rare clip of Gerry Mulligan with Ben Webster, another evolution in the making that lets you compare the outside Basie-sound put out by Ben with the emerging new sound of Gerry Mulligan backed by Mel Lewis and Leroy Vinnegar on bass, and Jimmy Rowles on an unseen piano.


And that's apropos too because the claim to fame for Gerry's sound was rooted in the piano-less small combo, a session innovation brought about ten years earlier by Red Norvo taking over from Earl Gardner at The Haig club. This was coincidentally the same spot where Mulligan and his group with Chet Baker were fixing up their chops; to make room for the feature vibraphone, and since the feature pianist was gone, the grand was shipped out leaving Gerry to not only craft a new sort of sound, but also, being the ever masterful ensemble arranger, prompted his contributing to that art in a very clever use of widely spaced harmonies among the horns to fill out newly available sonic spaces. Just goes to show: Sometimes improvisation is as much a part necessity and resourcefulness.


Oh, and did I mention? About 'Jazz', it's an Irish word. Tis true as true can be. It means "the breath of life" or some such. Perhaps.


Amazon: Gerry Mulligan / Ben Webster ... and both, too

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