(1927-1996)'/> (1927-1996)' /> (1927-1996)' /> Biography of Gerald Joseph 'Gerry' Mulligan <small>(1927-1996)</small> - TheBiography.us

Biography of Gerald Joseph 'Gerry' Mulligan (1927-1996)

American musician born in New York on April 6, 1927 and died in Darien on January 20, 1996. Baritone saxophonist and soprano, clarinetist, pianist, conductor, composer and arranger, Gerry Mulligan is perhaps the best known baritone sax in the history of jazz, whose musical urge was key to the development of the so-called West Coast Jazz and its substitute, cool, in the mid-20th century style. Winner of a Grammy Award in 1986 for his album Walk on the Water, much of his musical work was published in Verve and Pacific Jazz labels.

Although he was born in New York City, she spent her childhood in Philadelphia, where he studied clarinet and alto sax, his first instruments. From a young age, she tempted him composition and orchestral arrangements and towards 1944 began to earn a living with the sale of its arrangements to a radio city Orchestra - Johnny Warringston's radio band. After a period of exclusive dedication to the world of music - instruments and arrangements, soon began to stand out as an instrumentalist, first with Elliot Lawrence (1945) and, later, in New York, as accompanist of the great drummer Gene Krupa, in his famous Gene Krupa completo Orchestra (1946). His first steps were vertiginous because it was extremely difficult to find a young man almost without experience who play with the quality that wasted Gerry and he also composed and arranged like it did.

After his strange collaboration in the Gene Krupa Orchestra (as in she played the alto sax), in 1948 joined the Orchestra of Claude Thornhill (where also played the alto saxophone); experience that served to personally meet the paradigm of modern Orchestra conductor Gil Evans, who also introduced him to the same Miles Davis, who broke out at the end as a baritone sax. Trumpeter did not hesitate to sign him immediately for his octet, that that would fashion the cool in the early years of the Decade of the fifties with the most famous disc The Birth of the Cool, recorded for Capitol in New York in April 1949 and March 1950, although before the publication of this memorable album, released an Epe, whose title was a composition of Mulligan: Jeru. The work of the saxophonist in the NoNet of thousands was two-fold; on the one hand, it stood out as a brilliant instrumentalist; on the other hand, composed and arranged for the group with great quality and originality. It was undoubtedly one of the great "white" signings of thousands for your group of cool. Mulligan composed for the training topics such as "Jeru" - archiconocidisimo in the Repertoire of thousands of those years and the own Mulligan solo-, "Venus de Milo" and "Rocker". In terms of the arrangements, included pieces such as "Godchild", of fresh, rhythmic character, or "Dark That Dream". During his stint with Miles, between 1948 and 1950, it coincided with musicians like Lee Konitz, Bill Barber and Kai Wilding. At this time, anyway, he also collaborated with Eliot Lawrence (1949), in arrays and as part of its section of wind.

1951 date from its early formations alone, whose appearances began to be recorded by Dick Bock for the Prestige Jazz label, which began its journey with Mulligan. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet recording resulted in the famous expression "Pianosless Quartet", that is, the formation without piano both baritone style. In 1952, following his relocation to Los Angeles, Mulligan fame grew in the United States.UU. to form the most interesting period of his professional career. The musical feature that predominated in the sound proclaiming Gerry brought together certain coldness and cerebral interpretation with a good dose of sophistication and elegance.

His immediate and reputed fame led him to Los Angeles, where in 1952 he arranged and composed for the footballer Stan Kenton in his LP New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm. He participated in topics such as "Young Blood" - a simple arrangement but with a huge swing-, 'Swing House' and 'Walking Shoes'. His fame as an arranger was notorious, although not less than its quality as a baritone saxophonist, had reached popularity international at this time, as was revealed in the surveys of the journals of jazz (such as Down Beat), where it was voted on various occasions both in its aspect of instrumentalist and arranger.

That same year in Los Angeles, and also within the "pianoless quartet" line, Mulligan set up one of the collaborations that provided it greater international impact, especially in Europe, where was required continuous. Solo was her Duet trumpeter Chet Baker, others of the "white" icons of cool sound. With Baker later formalized a Quartet without piano where he alternated, in different dates of meeting, Bobby Whitlock, Carson Smith, Henry Grimes and Joe Mondragón (a double bass) and Larry Bunker, Guy Hamilton or Dave Bailey (on drums). In principle, the recordings appeared on singles and the first song was recorded in the summer of 1952 with the title "Bernie completo Tune". Without a doubt, more intense collaboration between these two musicians occurred between the years 1951 and 1953, when they recorded some LP of great impact worldwide - Mulligan-Baker (1951) as Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker (1953)-, in which were the themes "Freeway" (one unusual piece of Baker, of fast time); own Mulligan "Soft Shoe", "Swinghouse" or "Jeru"; Quick topics, with a strong melodic line; most other compositions, such as the ballad "My Old Flame", "Love Me Or Leave Me" or the famous "My Funny Valentine", from Rodgers & Hart, hallmark of Chet Baker to over the years, there where to play or record. After the departure of Baker, trumpeter Art Farmer replaced him. However, in 1957, turned to producing a new collaboration between the two, which resulted in the meeting record with Chet Baker, whose repertoire highlighted Mulligan "Festive Minor" part. The last meeting between both musicians would occur much later--in 1975, in the famous Carnegie Hall in New York, where offered a memorable concert, recorded by the CTI label.

The most characteristic of this type of training was that the two winds were a melodic line (sometimes supported by bass, and with the marked absence of harmony that conferred in jazz piano) trascrita by simultaneous scales, in the form of leakage, in whose context the two voices created "cold" sound passages, but unusual beauty and amazing imagination. You must not forget either his meeting with another Member of the Orchestra of Kenton, the alto saxophonist Lee Konitz, with whom he played and recorded the album Lee Konitz Plays with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1953), or his collaborations with Paul Desmond, another saxophonist high's cool school and belonging to the Quartet of Dave Brubeck, who, on the other hand, replaced in some occasions.

Their problems with drugs away Mulligan of jazz during the year 1953, which meant a brake to the activity of his successful Quartet. A year later, somewhat more recovered, he regained the essence of that training, this time to participate in the Festival of Paris in 1954, he came with a new Quartet consisting of Bob Brookmeyer (trombone), Red Mitchell (bass) and Frank Isola (drums). Certainly, joining his band of trombonetista Brookmeyer involved a tour de force to its commitment by the "pianoless", this time offered with two trombones as performers for the melody and harmony of the Quartet. After his not-very-successful company with The Concert Jazz Band in 1960, in 1964 it resume the above-mentioned training with Brookmeyer to start a tour of Europe.

Between 1955 and 1958, his group was enriched with brilliant instrumentalists, case of the saxophonist of Kenton, Zoot Sims, and the trumpeter Jon Eardley, occasionally members of his Sextet, as evidenced by Gerry's Time or Blues discs in Time, both published in 1957. A year later, the trumpeter Art Farmer joined the Quartet. Precisely, in August of 1957 took place one of the most important collaborations of Mulligan in his entire musical career; an authentic Giants meeting which brought together Gerry with pianist Thelonious Monk, one of jazz's all-time greats. The meeting took place in New York, recorded on the disk Mulligan Meets Monk and counted with the collaboration of bassist Wilbur Ware and drummer Shadow Wilson. The album included three of the most celebrated successes of Monk: "Round Midnight", "Straight, No Chaser" and "I Mean You", more a composition of Mulligan: "Decidedly". A perhaps unique in the history of this standard, formed an original work in a full and relaxed atmosphere moments summits of contemporary jazz, as it reflects the interpretation of the theme "Round Midnigth", where the baritone of Gerry gave to the melody of the theme (and their improvisation) dozens of times interpreted by most of the jazz musicians of all time.

Other collaborations of Mulligan with 'big' of jazz at this period of the second half of the 1950s, were the works with Paul Desmond, Stan Getz, Ben Wester and Johnny Hodges. Desmond presented Gerry Mulligan Quartet/Paul Desmond Quintet (1956), advancement of future collaborations, and Getz and Desmond recorded Mulligan and Getz and Desmond (1957), a work aesthetically cool and of immeasurable beauty. Next Ben Wester he signed a more exuberant collaboration with Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Wester (1959), which Mulligan clinched to the top of the popularity in the field of jazz, while with Hodges edited Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges (1960), also another memorable disk, in spite of the divergent styles of both musicians.

Aside from these brilliant collaborations, Mulligan took place at the beginning of the sixty a happy union with saxophonist Paul Desmond. The fruit of this communion of two of the most representative sound cool saxophonists was the edition of several important, as a Quartet and, above all, Two LP of a mind (1962). This last work showed clearly the mastery of both musicians, in topics such as "Stardust" (really great), "Out of Nowhere" and the splendid "All the Things You Are", in a simple and emotional, sophisticated and elegant version.

Aside from his work both alone and in the company of other jazz musicians of wingspan, Gerry recorded for television, in 1958, the classic Sound of Jazz, at the time that appeared in the film I Want to Live and the underground.

Either way, at the beginning of the 1960's was going to produce a new twist in their musical proposals, when Gerry formed a band of thirteen musicians, whose appearance came under the name of The Concert Jazz Band, ambitious project that contributed figures of the entity of Bob Brookmeyer, Bill Holman, the Cohn or George Russell. Mulligan went touring with this band that, precisely in their direct realized her greater interpretative forcefulness. So formidable were the concerts live Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band at Live (1960), Concert Zoot Sims (1961), Mulligan ' 63 (1963) or At the Village Vanguard (1960), a disc, the latter, of high taste in music, arranged by Johnny Mandel and Cohn, and with two especially inspired instrumentalists: Clark Terry & Bob Brookmeyer. This experience, halfway between a logical broadening of his "pianoless" Quartet and a nod to the cool white orchestras, helped him to the saxophonist for, in addition to writing his own songs and arrangements for Orchestra, playing the piano in a way alternates with the baritone sax.

From 1968, he joined occasionally in the famous Quartet of Dave Brubeck, who continued developing the "white" cool sound. Mulligan joined the formation, where he was participating the drummer Joe Morello, to replace precisely the alto saxophonist Paul Desmond, his former collaborator. During the period between 1968 and 1972, Mulligan recorded and went out on tour with Brubeck. The personality of the baritone was so strong that the Quartet, after it was included, it was renamed as The Dave Brubeck Trio featuring guest star Gerry Mulligan. With Brubeck he recorded five albums, which included the famous Live at the Berlin Philharmonie, The Last Set at Newport or Together Again For the First Time.

In the 1970s, Mulligan was tempted by the big band and the majestic recorded Age of Steam (1971), starting in the new world of electronic jazz, where it proved Fortune with the soprano saxophone. Also in that period, he emphasized his collaboration with the Argentine bandoneista Astor Piazzolla, author who managed to converge the sounds of popular music, classical and jazz, with whom he recorded the album Gerry Mulligan/Astor Piazzolla (1974), to seal Accord.

At the time, included in their groups to vibraphonist Dave Samuels (which joined to a certain type of jazz fusion, as in his collaboration with Grover Washington), while, in 1986, he recorded with saxophonist Scott Hamilton disc Soft Ligths and Sweet Music. Later, in 1987, he participated with his Quartet in the recording of the album Symphonic Dream, which was accompanied by the Houston Symphony Orchestra. Among the most representative topics, it should be noted the series of pieces "The Sax Chronicles" or "K-4 Pacific".

Already in the 1990s, his performances were reduced much, given his delicate state of health. However, he decided to make a tour with his new project: Rebirth of the Cool Band, that he work in his "pianoless" Quartet. With this project, he recovered the cool aesthetic of the early 1950s, where live interpreted those memorable themes from the Miles Davisnonet. Proof of this were his work Re-Birth of the Cool (1992), Dream a Little Dream (1994) or Dragon Fly (1995).

On Sunday, January 21, 1996, after a complicated operation of knee, it suffered a long convalescence, Gerry Mulligan died at his home in Darien (Conn.), with what went out the voice of the most important baritone of all time. After his death, the Gerry Mulligan all-Star Tribute Band paid him tribute on the albums Thank You, Gerry! and Plays Mulligan.

Gerry Mulligan is baritone the jazz's all-time leader. An instrument that, in principle, was meant more as a grave choir of the orchestras in jazz, Mulligan was awarded an own sound, soloist and improviser with a sophisticated and at the same time elegant character. The sound of Mulligan, very close from the beginning, is true, California School of cool (West Coast), it has been described as highly expressive, refined and with a tendency to an absolute calm interpretative. Classical in its form of touch - in this sense partnered you with musicians such as Lester Youngand Ben Wester-, his improvisations, on the other hand, were full of modernity and elegance and superb intelligentsia. It is no coincidence that Miles Davis sign him for its revolutionary Birth of the Cool, when Mulligan was only 22 years of age. Thus, it is not strange that Mulligan was entrusted to entirely disparate encounters; from the classicism of Ben Wester or Johnny Hodges at the forefront of their encounters, brief, but intense, with Charles Mingus or Thelonious Monk.

Without being inserted inside the so-called West Coast Jazz, it is obvious that Gerry Mulligan greatly influenced these "white" musicians. Style, full of simplicity and at the time of extraordinary tension and colorful, became immensely popular, to the point that it is almost impossible not to recognize him after the beginning of some of his improvisations, as happened with other names linked to their style, such as Paul Desmond, Chet Baker and Lee Konitz.

On the other hand, if Mulligan revolutionized the art of playing the baritone in jazz, he always had in mind earlier musicians such as Serge Chaloff (important musician Woody Herman) and Harry Carney (from Count Basiegroups); but most important was, without doubt, his ainheritance confirmed musicians such as Bob Gordon, Cecil Payne, and Pepper Adams, perhaps, the latter, the most important after Mulligan.

Aside from its importance as a saxophonist, they should point the extraordinary skills of the Mulligan composer and arranger. As composer are his issues of the importance of "Jeru" or "Decidedly", "Walkin' 'Shoes' or"Swinghouse". As an arranger was key its connection with West Coast jazz, or participation in orchestras such as the Stan Kenton. Arrays always brilliant and original, although not exempt from certain brain pragmatism, which charged sometimes.

He received a Grammy Award in the early 1980s for her album Walk on the Water (1980), performed with his Quartet as always and accompanied by an orchestra. The award put the icing to important musical work exerted during four decades devoted to the jazz in its highest expression.


As sideman

Birth of the cool (with Miles Davis), Capitol, 1956. New Concepts of Artistry in Rhythm (with Stan Kenton), Capitol, 1952. Road Show (Stan Kenton), Capitol, 1959. Quartet (with Paul Desmond), Verve, 1962. Two of a Mind (with Paul Desmond), RCA Victor, 1963.

As co-leader

Gerry Mulligan and Chet Baker would Jazztone, 195? Mulligan / Baker, Prestige, 1951. Lee Konitz Plays with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Pacific Jazz, 1953. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet/Paul Desmond Quintet, Fantasy, 1956. The Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker/Buddy DeFranco Quartet, Gene Norman, 1957. Reunion with Chet Baker, Pacific Jazz, 1962. Broadway (with Kai Winding and network Roney), New Jazz, 1963. Gerry Mulligan/Astor Piazzolla, Accord, 1974. The Carnegie Hall Concert, Volume 1 & 2 (with Chet Baker), CTI, 1976.

As soloist

Gerry Mulligan Blows, Prestige, 1952. Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Gene Norman, 1952. Mulligan Too Blows, Prestige, 1953. Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Pacific Jazz, 1953. Gerry Mulligan and His Ten-Telecharger, Capitol, 1953. Presenting the Gerry Mulligan Sextet, Emarcy, 1955. Gerry Mulligan Sextet, Pacific Jazz, 1955. The Original Mulligan Quartet, Pacific Jazz, 1955. Mainstream of Jazz, Emarcy, 1956. Mulligan Plays Mulligan, Prestige, 1956. Paris Concert, Pacific Jazz, 1956. What Is There to Say?, Columbia, 1959. A profile of Gerry Mulligan, Mercury, 1959. Nigthwatch, United Artists, 1960. The Genius of Gerry Mulligan Quartet, Pacific Jazz, 1960. Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Wester, Verve, 1960. Getz Meets Mulligan In Hi-Fi, Verve, 1960. Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges, Verve, 1960. Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band, Verve, 1960. Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band at the Village Vanguard, Verve, 1960. Konitz Meets Mulligan, Pacific Jazz, 1962. California Concerts, Pacific Jazz, 1962. Blues in Time, Verve, 1962. Gerry Mulligan ' 63. The Concert Jazz Band, Verve, 1963. Timeless, Pacific Jazz, 1963. Spring Is Sprung, Philips, 1963. Night Lights, Philips, 1963. Spring Is Sprung, Philips, 1963. Historically Speaking, Prestige, 1963. Jeru, Columbia, 1963. Butterfly with Hiccups, Limelight, 1964. The Essential Gerry Mulligan, Verve, 1964. If You Can't Beat ' Em, Join ' Em, Limeligth, 1965. Feelin' Good, Limeligth, 1965. Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Limeligth, 1966. Concert Days, Sunset, 1966. Gerry completo Time, Verve, 1966. Jazz Fest Masters, Scotti Bros., 1969. Age of Steam, A & M, 1971. Gerry Mulligan Meets Enrico Intra, pause, 1975. Lionel Hampton Presents Gerry Mulligan, Who's Who in Jazz, 1978. Walk on the Water, DRG, 1980. The Menace, DRG, 1982. Symphonic Dreams, Intersound, 1987. Lonesome Boulevard, A & M, 1989. Plays, Fantasy, 1991. Re-Birth of the Cool, GRP, 1992. Paradise-Jazz Brazil, Telarc, 1993. Dream a Little Dream, Telarc, 1994. Dragon Fly, Telarc, 1995. News from Blueport, Lazz Hour, 1996. Two Times Four Plus Six, Jazz Band, 1997. In Sweden, Jazz, 1999. Jazz Casual: Gerry Mulligan & Art Pepper, Koch, 2001. Swing House, Past Perfect, 2002.


Horricks, Raymond: Gerry Mulligan's Ark, Apollo, London, 1986.

Klinkowitz, Jerome: Listen: Gerry Mulligan. An Aural Narrative in Jazz, Schimer, 1991.

Ricardo P. Virtanen