Top Artists – Gerry Mulligan

Paul Desmond & Gerry Mulligan – Two Of A Mind

More Paul Desmond

More Living Stereo Recordings

  • Superb Double Plus (A++) sound from the first note to the last on this RCA pressing in glorious Living Stereo
  • Both sides here are tonally rich, and with killer Living Stereo sound, you hear both of these brilliant hornmen presented as solid and real in the soundfield as any you may have heard
  • If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1962 All Tube Analog sound can be, this vintage pressing may be just the record for you
  • 4 1/2 stars: “Altoist Paul Desmond and baritonist Gerry Mulligan always made for a perfect team during their infrequent collaborations. Both of the saxophonists had immediately distinctive light tones, strong wits, and the ability to improvise melodically. Highly recommended.”
  • If you’re a fan of the smooth jazz stylings of Paul Desmond, this is a Must Own Classic from 1962 that belongs in your collection.
  • The complete list of titles from 1962 that we’ve reviewed to date can be found here.

THIS is the sound of Tubey Magic. 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, and YouTube videos of it too, but those of us with good turntables could care less.

And if you have an especially good turntable and the system that goes with it, we think you will find a world of difference in the sound of our Hot Stamper early pressing and any of the Heavy Vinyl records being produced of this very title.

They may be good — excellent even — but you won’t know what you are missing until you hear our record (or yours if you have an especially good one).

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Jimmy Witherspoon – Witherspoon Mulligan Webster At The Renaissance

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This is an original Hi-Fi Records Mono LP from 1959. Jimmy is joined on stage by Gerry Mulligan and Ben Webster, with support from Mel Lewis, Leroy Vinnegar and Jimmy Rowles. Now that is some group of top jazz talent.

The sound is decent, but the music is the real thing, as you can imagine from the list of players. There’s also some slight groove distortion which is almost unavoidable on vintage pressings such as this.

Gerry Mulligan / The Gerry Mulligan Quartet – Reviewed in 2009

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This is a very nice Verve T Label Mono LP with Very Little Sign of Play (VLSOP). The record has very good sound and plays Near Mint. (We did not find the stereo pressing to our liking by the way.)

[Not sure if we would still feel that way, so try the stereo press and see if it doesn’t sound fine to you.]

“One of the harder Gerry Mulligan records to find from the early 1960s is the Verve disc simply titled The Gerry Mulligan Quartet…. The interplay between Mulligan and Brookmeyer rekindles the magic of their work together a half dozen years earlier…” – AMG

Gerry Mulligan Quartet – Spring Is Sprung

More Gerry Mulligan

More Jazz Recordings featuring the Saxophone

  • With shootout-winning Triple Plus (A+++) grades on both sides, it just doesn’t get any better than this copy of Mulligan’s superb sounding and Hard To Find 1963 release on Philips
  • Quincy Jones directed, and Phil Ramone made sure the album would be exceptionally well-recorded, which it is!
  • Big, rich, and Tubey Magical, this pressing let us hear Mulligan’s quartet with the energy and clarity these classic jazz performances deserve
  • 4 Stars: “Mulligan and Brookmeyer always seem to stimulate one another’s playing to a high level, and this album is no exception. The group gets into a swinging groove right away with its updated treatment of a Count Basie favorite, “Jive at Five,” followed by Mulligan’s brisk yet intricate jazz waltz “Four for Three.””

Need a refresher course in Tubey Magic after playing too many modern recordings or remasterings? These Philips pressings are overflowing with it. Rich, smooth, sweet, full of ambience, dead-on correct tonality — everything that we listen for in a great record is here.

This record is the very definition of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made that sound like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of this album, but those of us with a good turntable couldn’t care less.

This vintage stereo pressing has the kind of Midrange Magic that modern records barely begin to reproduce. Folks, that sound is gone and it ain’t coming back. If you love hearing INTO a recording, actually being able to “see” the performers, and feeling as if you are sitting in the studio with the band, this is the record for you. It’s what vintage All Tube Analog recordings are known for — this sound.

If you exclusively play modern repressings of vintage recordings, I can say without fear of contradiction that you have never heard this kind of sound on vinyl. Old records have it — not often, and certainly not always — but maybe one out of a hundred new records do, and those are some pretty long odds. Clean and Clear Yet Rich and Sweet.

This copy managed to find the ideal balance of these attributes. You want to find that rare copy that keeps what is good about a Tubey Magical analog recording from The Golden Age of ’60s Jazz while managing to avoid the pitfalls so common to them: compression, opacity, veiling, and too many more to list.

To be sure, the fault is not with the recording (I guess; again, not having heard the master tape) but with the typical pressing. Bad vinyl, bad mastering, who knows why so many copies sound so thick, dead and dull?

What the Best Sides of Spring Is Sprung Have to Offer Is Not Hard to Hear

  • 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 1963
  • 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

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.

The Big Room

Huge amounts of ambience fill out the space and extend 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.

What We’re Listening For on Spring Is Sprung

  • Energy for starters. What could be more important than the life of the music?
  • 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.

Vinyl Condition

Mint Minus Minus is about as quiet as any vintage pressing will play, and since only the right vintage pressings have any hope of sounding good on this album, that will most often be the playing condition of the copies we sell. (The copies that are even a bit noisier get listed on the site are seriously reduced prices or traded back in to the local record stores we shop at.)

Those of you looking for quiet vinyl will have to settle for the sound of other pressings and Heavy Vinyl reissues, purchased elsewhere of course as we have no interest in selling records that don’t have the vintage analog magic of these wonderful recordings.

If you want to make the trade-off between bad sound and quiet surfaces with whatever Heavy Vinyl pressing might be available, well, that’s certainly your prerogative, but we can’t imagine losing what’s good about this music — the size, the energy, the presence, the clarity, the weight — just to hear it with less background noise.

TRACK LISTING

Side One

Jive At Five
Four For Three
17 Mile Drive

Side Two

Subterranean Blues
Spring Is Sprung
Open Country

AMG Review

This obscure Phillips LP features Gerry Mulligan leading a quartet with his frequent collaborator Bob Brookmeyer, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Gus Johnson. Mulligan and Brookmeyer always seem to stimulate one another’s playing to a high level, and this album is no exception.

The group gets into a swinging groove right away with its updated treatment of a Count Basie favorite, “Jive at Five,” followed by Mulligan’s brisk yet intricate jazz waltz “Four for Three.” Brookmeyer switches to piano for the leader’s loping “Subterranean Blues.” Mulligan takes his place at the keyboard for “Spring Is Sprung,” a brisk blues that showcases the valve trombonist extensively, though Mulligan’s piano chops shouldn’t be discounted. The session wraps with yet another look at Brookmeyer’s “Open Country,” a great piece of which Mulligan was very fond.

Peter Stenshoel’s album of the week: Spring Is Sprung by Gerry Mulligan

Fresh on the heels of learning to love both Dave Brubeck and Thelonious Monk, I spied yet another Quartet record at Sioux Falls’ Lewis Drug. Not familiar with the name Gerry Mulligan, I still took a chance and somehow cajoled my mother to buy Spring Is Sprung–perhaps for somebody’s birthday.

The find was delightful. The reason didn’t hit me at first, but the music’s airy texture owes itself to the lack of piano. And at least two geniuses are at work. Gerry Mulligan’s baritone sax is confident and friendly. Bob Brookmeyer’s valve trombone collides with Mulligan and teases out tangy counterpoint and growl. Listen to how well they communicate in their pared down version of the Count Basie and Harry “Sweets” Edison vehicle, Jive At Five.

Pianoless quartets were something Mulligan pioneered with Chet Baker in the late 40s. It requires a special ear to arrange charts without the large harmonic assistance of a keyboard. Mulligan’s skill as an arranger is evident in his collaborations with Miles Davis, Claude Thornhill, and Stan Kenton. Piano does make its way in to side two of Spring Is Sprung, where Mulligan and Brookmeyer play one chart each to enhance the other’s solo performance.

It turns out this Philips record is quite rare. This quartet did concerts in Europe but after three years was disbanded as Mulligan moved on to yet another quartet and all kinds of collaborations.

Gerry Mulligan – Gerry Mulligan Meets Stan Getz

More Gerry Mulligan

More Stan Getz

  • Mulligan and Getz’s 1957 collaboration arrives on the site with this superb 2-pack offering Nearly Triple Plus (A++ to A+++) sound on both sides – just shy of our Shootout Winner
  • Full, rich, and spacious with tons of Tubey Magic and, better yet, not the least bit dry, hard or transistory
  • Practically impossible to find in stereo with audiophile playing surfaces – it took two different pressings to get two good sides, and they are very good indeed
  • “Produced by [Norman] Granz, Getz And Mulligan In Hi-Fi captures the two saxophone giants as they showcase a world class duet which provided them with a superb rhythm section featuring Lou Levy, proud member of The Stan Getz Quartet at the piano who play with impeccable style and well-conceived ideas that swing with unique vitality, while Ray Brown’s bass solidify the combo’s edge.”

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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. (more…)

Gerry Mulligan – Jeru

  • This 360 stereo pressing put every other copy we played to shame with Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it throughout
  • Tubier, more transparent, more dynamic, with that “jumpin’ out of the speakers’ quality that only The Real Thing (an old record) ever has
  • Hard to imagine any reissue, vintage or otherwise, can beat the sound of this LP – we sure couldn’t find one
  • “Jeru flawlessly swings with a relaxed, throbbing, positive life force… The recorded sound, achieved by an unidentified engineer at Nola Penthouse Studio in New York City, has remarkable presence and three-dimensionality.”

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Gerry Mulligan Quartet – Reunion With Chet Baker

  • This outstanding copy of Mulligan’s superb collaboration with Chet Baker boasts solid Double Plus (A++) sound from start to finish
  • Remarkable Tubey Magical richness, as well as the kind of immediacy and transparency that few copies have – all qualities essential to reproducing both the trumpet and the baritone sax with exceptional fidelity
  • The sound of a vintage Pacific Jazz recording from 1957, on the rare stereo pressing no less, is really something to hear – you can be sure that no reissue can hold a candle to this LP
  • 4 stars: “The Gerry Mulligan Quartet of 1952-53 was one of the best-loved jazz groups of the decade and it made stars out of both the leader and trumpeter Chet Baker… the music is quite enjoyable and the interplay between the two horns is still special.”

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Gerry Mulligan – Gerry Mulligan ’63

 

  • This original Verve All Tube Chain Stereo pressing boasts Shootout Winning Triple Plus (A+++) sound or close to it from first note to last
  • This copy is hard to fault – big, open, clear, with space and three-dimensionality that modern pressings fail miserably to reproduce  
  • “With originals by Bob Brookmeyer, Gary McFarland and the baritonist/leader (in addition to the standards “Little Rock Getaway” and “My Kind of Love”), this is a high-quality if rather brief program. Trumpeter Clark Terry and guitarist Jim Hall co-star with Mulligan in the solo department. It is a pity that this orchestra could not prosper; all five of its recordings are worth getting.”  

For us audiophiles both the sound and the music here are wonderful. If you’re looking to demonstrate just how good 1963 All Tube Analog sound can be, this killer copy will do the trick.

This pressing is super spacious, sweet and positively dripping with ambience. 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 IS the sound of Tubey Magic. No recordings will ever be made like this again, and no CD will ever capture what is in the grooves of this record. There is of course a CD of this album, but those of us who possess a working turntable and a good collection of vintage vinyl could care less. (more…)

Duke Ellington / Newport Jazz Festival 1958

More of the Music of Duke Ellington

More Large Group Jazz Recordings

If you are a fan, this record will be a thrill. If you’re unfamiliar with the Duke’s music, I can’t imagine a better introduction than this.

This LP also includes Gerry Mulligan’s only performance with the Ellington band.

Paul Gonsalves’s saxophone performance is superb and worth the price of the album alone.

The clarinet parts on Princess Blue are out of this world — Ellington at his best!