Gerry Mulligan – The Concert Jazz Band

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  • Superb nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound from start to finish, the “big band” sound here is really jumping out of the speakers
  • Huge space, size and clarity, with Tubey Magical richness befitting the 1960 recording dates of these sessions
  • “My idea is not so much that we are a big band with a small-band feel, but that we have a big-band feel in the way that a big band ought to be.” — Gerry Mulligan.
  • “Mulligan stages a thrilling musical spectacle in which fierce rivalry, song-like harmony and refined counterpoint play the main roles.”

If you’ve never heard a good All Tube Recording of the baritone sax, buy this record — it will blow your mind!

Huge amounts of ambience fill out the space the extends from wall to wall (and all the way to the back wall of the studio), leaving plenty of room around each of the players.

Full-bodied sound, open and spacious, bursting with life and energy — these are the hallmarks of our Truly Hot Stampers. If your stereo is cookin’ these days, this record will surely be an unqualified Sonic Treat.

We guarantee that no heavy vinyl pressing, of this or any other album, has the kind of analog sound found here. (Or your money back.)

Talk about Tubey Magic, the liquidity of the sound here is positively uncanny. This is vintage analog at its best, so full-bodied and relaxed you’ll wonder how it ever came to be that anyone seriously contemplated trying to improve it.

This album HAS the sound of Tubes. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There actually is a CD of this album, but those of us in possession of a working turntable could care less. You can be sure it doesn’t sound like this record.

What outstanding sides such as these have to offer is not hard to hear:

  • Tight, note-like, rich, full-bodied bass, with the correct amount of weight down low
  • Natural tonality in the midrange — with all the instruments having the correct timbre
  • Transparency and resolution, critical to hearing into the three-dimensional studio space
  • The biggest, most immediate staging in the largest acoustic space
  • The most Tubey Magic, without which you have almost nothing. CDs give you clean and clear. Only the best vintage vinyl pressings offer the kind of Tubey Magic that was on the tapes in 1960

No doubt there’s more but we hope that should do for now. Playing the record is the only way to hear all of the qualities we discuss above, and playing the best pressings against a pile of other copies under rigorously controlled conditions is the only way to find a pressing that sounds as good as this one does.

What We Listen For on The Concert Jazz Band

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • Then: presence and immediacy. The instruments aren’t “back there” somewhere, lost in the mix. They’re front and center where any recording engineer worth his salt would put them.
  • The Big Sound comes next — wall to wall, lots of depth, huge space, three-dimensionality, all that sort of thing.
  • Then transient information — fast, clear, sharp attacks, not the smear and thickness so common to these LPs.
  • Tight punchy bass — which ties in with good transient information, also the issue of frequency extension further down.
  • Next: transparency — the quality that allows you to hear deep into the soundfield, showing you the space and air around all the instruments.
  • Extend the top and bottom and voila, you have The Real Thing — an honest to goodness Hot Stamper.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Sweet And Low 
Bweebida Bobbida 
Manoir Des Mes Reves ( Django’s Castle) 
You Took Advantage Of Me

Side Two

Out Of This World 
My Funny Valentine 
Broadway 
I’m Gonna Go Fishin’

Review and Background

The Concert Jazz Band is an enigmatic name for those who have not yet experienced the unusual sound of the American saxophonist and arranger Gerry Mulligan. But all becomes quite clear after listening to the very first bars of this debut album recorded by the newly founded combo in 1960.

The ensemble is made up of all the usual instruments, but its sound of jazz is far from usual! Instead of a bombastic tone and soloists intent on prominence, carefully defined groups of wind instruments present themselves singly, then retire to allow others to come forward, with each group finally returning to prowl around one another warily, like tigers in the arena.

Mulligan stages a thrilling musical spectacle in which fierce rivalry, song-like harmony and refined counterpoint play the main roles. With its brilliant transparency, sonority and optimal identification of the instruments location, this… recording should not be missed by any cool jazz fan.

This out-of-print Verve LP has the first recording by Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band, his 13-piece unit of the early 1960’s. In addition to the bartonist-leader (who also provided the arrangements), the other key soloists include tenor-saxophonist Zoot Sims and valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer; drummer Mel Lewis propels the ensembles.

Highlights include “Bweebida Bobbida,” a chart on Django Reinhardt’s “Manior Des Mes Reves” that recalls Claude Thornhill, a remake of “My Funny Valentine” and a hard-swinging version of “I’m Gonna Go Fishin’.”

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