Don Ferrara, Conte Candoli, Nick Travis (tp), Willie Dennis (tb), Alan Raph (b-tb), Bob Brookmeyer (v-tb), Gene Quill (cl, as), Bob Donovan (as), Jim Reider, Zoot Sims (ts), Gerry Mulligan (bs, p), Gene Allen (bs, b-cl), Buddy Clark (b), Mel Lewis (d)
Reference: FSRCD 710
Bar code: 8427328607100
America's Newest Musical Provocation!
· The complete concert for the first time ever!
· DeLuxe 6 panel Digipack Edition (2-CD Set)
· Excellent Stereo Sound Quality
· 12-Page illustrated booklet with extended notes
This is the exciting Gerry Mulligan Concert Jazz Band that held the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium spellbound in October 1960a live recording that shows why the CJB was acclaimed for its unity and cohesion.
By contemporary standards, this was a small big band, made up of thirteen men, performing according to Mulligans very definite idea of how a band should work and sound. Though studded with stellar names, it was a close-knit team, with Zoot Sims as the featured guest soloist. There was room to stretch, but when the time came to get together, the boys were there.
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, said Mulligan. Our Santa Monica concert had a driving quality that I think was in great part the result of the fact that the audience was loaded with many of our friends and fellow-musicians.
The fine Mosaic box set of the CJB included six of the 19 performances recorded at Santa Monica, but this two-CD set issues, in excellent sound quality, the complete concert for the first time ever!
"The mid-20th Century was a fertile time for large ensemble jazz developments and experiments, most notably Miles Davis Birth of the Cool bands of the late 40s and Gil Evans work with Miles in the late 50s. In the vanguard of new approaches to the big band sound was Gerry Mulligan, an integral member of those Birth of the Cool sessions, who formed his 13-piece Concert Jazz Band (CJB) in early 1960. This double CD album is the first complete release of a concert by that band on Oct. 1st, 1960, at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium (six tracks have appeared on a CJB Mosaic boxed set).
Mulligan built his little big band sound from the bottom and core up, borrowing many concepts from the small groups - piano-less quartets and sextets - he had led in the 50s, including polyphony, dynamics, open voicings and nimble swing. Like those small groups, the CJB was largely piano-less, the rhythm section consisting of bassist Buddy Clark and drummer Mel Lewis, whose work here presages his seminal work with Thad Jones and the Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. Three trumpets, three trombones and five reeds rounded out the band, with the leaders baritone sax not just prominent as a solo instrument but also in leads in the ensembles. Mulligan also moved to the piano at this concert for his long keyboard feature: Piano Blues, his arrangement spotlighting fine interplay between the horns and piano. Most solo spots other than the leaders are taken by valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, trumpeter Conte Candoli and, in the last half of each CD set, guest tenor sax soloist Zoot Sims. Alto saxophonist Gene Quill, who often plays clarinet within, not leading, the sax section, is featured soloist on 18 Carrots for Rabbit.
The bands charts and performances expand upon while never abandon the swing tradition and apply the lessons of section and voicing flexibility pioneered by Duke Ellington, whose orchestral philosophy and practice greatly informed those of Mulligan. The charts have myriad ways to involve the musicians, from shout choruses and riffing to counter-melodies, stop-times and abrupt dynamic changes. Soloists are never left alone for long with the rhythm section, keeping the rest of the bandmembers on their toes. Polyphonal interplay sparks many of the tracks, but never impedes the nimble swing momentum of the band. A perfect example is Al Cohns arrangement of Art Farmers Blueport, at a flagwaving tempo that just flows along from intricate ensemble polyphony to solos over and around horn figures, all while Clark and Lewis keep the rhythm lithe and limber as the dynamics move easily from whisper to shout and back. This is, simply, a superb album from one of the great jazz ensembles of the mid-20th Century."
-The New York City Jazz Record (January, 2013)
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