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Gerry Mulligan: The Emarcy Sextet Recordings (5 LPs - #3008)Mosaic Singles
This set was mastered from the original analog masters. Discs four and five were issued only in Japan in the ‘80s and mastered from 16-bit digital masters, so we returned to the original session reels to rebuild those albums in true analog for the first time. Superior sound!
Limited Edition: 3500 copies
5 LPs (180 gram) - $125.00
Possessing The Drive And Intricacy of A Big Band.
The first stage of Gerry Mulligan's career in the late forties was primarily as a composer/arranger for Elliot Lawrence, Gene Krupa, Claude Thornhill and the Miles Davis Nonet. Even his own first recording as a leader for Prestige in 1951, a tentet session entitled "Mulligan Plays Mulligan," emphasizes those aspects of his music.
A funny thing happened when Gerry moved to Los Angeles in 1951. He started recording for Dick Bock's fledgling Pacific Jazz Records in June 1952. His first informal session was as stripped down as a band can get with just Red Mitchell and Chico Hamilton in support of his baritone sax. The quartet with Chet Baker and a residency at The Haig in downtown Los Angeles ensued within a couple of months. The absence of a piano in the group brought them a lot of attention, but it was the counterpoint in the artful arrangements and the interplay between Mulligan and Baker that defined the music.
The light, buoyant sound of the pianoless quartet obviously appealed to Gerry. After Baker left to pursue his own career, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and then trumpeter Jon Eardley filled his spot.
The Birth Of The Mulligan Sextet
The On December 14, 1954, Mulligan added to Zoot Sims and Bob Brookmeyer to the quartet with Eardley for a concert at Hoover High School in San Diego. Luckily Dick Bock was there to record the results which were issued on Pacific Jazz as part of the album "California Concerts." The seeds of the sextet were planted in Mulligan's fertile mind. The following summer, Mulligan organized the sextet in New York with the same front line (Sims, Eardley and Brookmeyer), bassist Peck Morrison and drummer Dave Bailey. The team of Morrison and Bailey would later appear on such high profile recordings as Lou Donaldson's "Blues Walk," Charlie Rouse's "Yeah!" and Bailey's own "One Foot In The Gutter"
The Emarcy Mullgian Sessions
After three productive sessions in September/October 1955, material was selected for "Presenting The Gerry Mulligan Sextet," the first release by the group and Mulligan's first release on a major label, Mercury's Emarcy imprint. The music was hailed as a critical success and the sextet was generally considered the perfect vehicle for Mulligan; it had four melody voices for the intricate and varied arrangements and still allowed the looseness and interplay of a small group setting. However, record sales didn't reflect the success of the music.
When Peck Morrison left at the end of '55, Gerry Mulligan hired bassist Bill Crow who'd spent much of the early fifties with Stan Getz and Marian McPartland. The team of Crow and Bailey would remain with Mulligan through a variety of ensembles including the Concert Jazz Band until 1964. The next session on January 25, 1956 would be Eardley's last with Mulligan. He left the group at end of its European spring tour and was generally inactive until 1963 when he moved to Belgium and resumed his career in Europe.
Don Ferrara, a former member of Woody Herman's orchestra and frequent collaborator with Lee Konitz, joined the sextet in time for its final Emarcy session on September 26, 1956. He would later be a charter member of Gerry's Concert Jazz Band (1960-'62).
The sextet did not last long beyond this session. Mulligan paired back down to a quartet (Brookmeyer, Crow and Bailey) and hit the road. Emarcy pulled one more sextet album together from the 1956 sessions entitled "Mainstream Of Jazz." Again the music was met with critical acclaim and commercial indifference. With the sextet and his major label contract over, Mulligan returned to the quartet format and to Pacific Jazz Records.
The sextet became the stuff of legends and many wonderful performances from the five Bob Shad-produced Emarcy sessions sat in a tape vault. In the early '60s, perhaps because of the acclaim of the Concert Jazz Band, Mercury's producer Jack Tracy returned to this material to create a third album "A Profile Of Gerry Mulligan."
Finally in 1984, Kiyoshi Koyama scoured the vault and rescued two more albums worth of material from the sessions which he issued in Japan as "Mainstream Of Jazz" volumes two and three. Ira Gitler's wonderful liner notes for those albums (reprinted here) provide a wealth of information about the group, the individual musicians and the individual pieces.
With the advent of Compact Discs, this wonderful music faded further into obscurity. Only a dozen or so tracks made it to CD and usually only in Japan. Sixty years from the date of inception comes this Mosaic vinyl set with the complete works of the legendary and largely ignored Gerry Mulligan Sextet.
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