Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz are far and away two of the greatest legends of jazz. Both men have appeared in this space before, and you’ll find links to those previous reviews at the end if this article.
As always when I am writing about an artist who has appeared here before, I won’t waste too much space repeating the same biographical info that appears in the earlier reviews.
The basics are this: Gerry Mulligan was born in New York City on April 6, 1927 and died on January 20, 1996 in Darien, Connecticut. His career was the stuff of legends, and a listing of the artists he played with would read as a virtual “who’s who” of jazz artists of the time. The same could be said about his costar, Stan Getz. He was born in Philadelphia on February 2, 1927 and died on June 6, 1991 in Malibu, California.
The album I want to tell you about this week is their 1957 collaboration, “Getz Meets Mulligan In Hi-Fi.”
The personnel for this one are:
Gerry Mulligan, baritone and tenor saxophone
Stan Getz, baritone and tenor saxophone
Lou Levy, piano
Ray Brown, bass
Stan Levey, Drums
The album opens with a grand old standard, “Let’s Fall In Love,” from Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler. This song begins with the now familiar refrain and moves on, the boys trading licks while the rhythm section, anchored by Ray Brown’s bass, moves it right along.
“Let’s Fall In Love” is followed by the Cole Porter classic, “Anything Goes.” This one hits the ground running from the first note and hardly lets up. The guys trade off so fast it’s hard (okay, make that impossible!) to keep up with who is doing what.
“Too Close For Comfort” is next. This ballad, written by George Weiss, Jerry Bock and Larry Holofcener for the 1956 Broadway Musical, “Mister Wonderful,” is somewhat more restrained than the first two tracks. Despite that, there is no danger of nodding off into dreamland while this one is running. On an album that is primarily intended as a showcase for the two principal artists, I have to say it was nice o hear Levy on piano finally get a little bit of a showing, albeit a short one. This is a beautiful song and the guys do a bang up job on it.
“That Old Feeling” follows, a nice song set at a lively pace. Les Brown and Sammy Fain wrote this one, and I have to tell you it is one of my favorites on this album. Drummer Levey and Brown on bass set a nice but not blistering pace for a while and the results are superb. Levey once again gets to show us his piano skills were more than merely background level.
Here is a chance to listen to “That Old Feeling.”
“This Can’t Be Love”, from Lorenz Hart and Richard Rodgers, is up next. This one moves right along, driven by the renowned skills of bassist Brown. Brown is front and center on this one, figuratively speaking. Another great song, carried off superbly.
The Gerry Mulligan original song, “A Ballad” follows and on the original vinyl LP version of this album this was the final tune. Both saxes blowing lend a mournful sound to this.
Here are the boys performing “A Ballad.”
Next we have Charlie Parker’s famous “Scrapple From The Apple” is next, and a livelier song would be hard to find. It’s interesting hearing the interplay of the two horns, seemingly chasing one another from phrase to phrase.
For the finale, the boys return to the Hart and Rodgers library and pull out another classic, “I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,” originally written for the 1939 Broadway musical, “Too Many Girls.” This is another animated work that will keep you on your toes.
I am fairly certain that you will find “Getz Meets Mulligan In Hi-Fi” to be a great addition to your personal playlist, for a Saturday or any other night!
Gerry Mulligan has been featured here twice previously. In JFASN #4, on September 4, 2011, I discussed his twin albums, “Pleyel Concert: Volumes 1 & 2.” Almost two years later in JFASN #85 on August 17, 2013, I talked about “The Gerry Mulligan Songbook.”
Stan Getz has made one previous appearance here, in JFASN #9 on October 8, 2011, where the subject was his album “The Steamer.”
If you would like to learn more about Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz, you’ll find links to other resources listed at the end of those articles.
Thanks for reading this.
Wood Village, Oregon
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