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Mosaic Records: The Complete Verve Gerry Mulligan Concert Band Sessions


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Mosaic Records Celebrates One of the Most Unique Bands in Jazz History With The release of “The Complete Verve Gerry Mulligan Concert Band Sessions"

Mosaic Records announces the release of The Complete Verve Gerry Mulligan Concert Band Sessions, a 4-CD set that documents the recorded legacy of this remarkable, short-lived ensemble.

Produced for release by Michael Cuscuna, the set contains the Concert Band¹s five Verve albums with eleven unissued performances, all remixed by Ellen Fitton and remastered in 24-bit by Malcolm Addey from the original tapes.

In many ways, Mulligan¹s Concert Jazz Band recordings from 1960 to 1962 were the culmination of ideas that began forming in the late 1940s when he was writing for big bands, and for the “Birth of the Cool" sessions led by Miles Davis. He loved the richness of big band instrumentation. But not the heaviness. He liked the fleeter feel of the Davis-led sessions, but the nonet might have been a little confining. And besides, Mulligan couldn¹t call it his.

As a leader, Mulligan began searching for the ideal environment for his musical ideas. Finally, in 1960, with Bob Brookmeyer, Mulligan began to build out the Concert Jazz Band; six brass, four reeds, plus Mulligan on baritone sax with drums and bass providing the rhythm. It was all he needed to provide the wallop you get when a big band is really cooking, without the loss of spontaneity. For the Concert Jazz Band, Mulligan and Brookmeyer (virtually a co-leader and principal writer) brought together musicians who could make things up on the spot within a written-out chart. He employed writers who got it and musicians who could hack it.

This was a big band that played complex, intriguing, and playful charts like it was a tight little ensemble. The voicings rang through, and they could pop with authority and precision, some numbers were frames for blowing ­ others, refined works of tantalizing counterpoint. The band featured an array of stellar soloists and sidemen, including Clark Terry, Conte Candoli, Willie Dennis, Gene Quill, Zoot Sims, Bill Crow and Mel Lewis on drums. On one session, Jim Hall joins them playing guitar.

The first album “Gerry Mulligan ­ The Concert Jazz Band" was begun in May 1960 with one set of personnel. Only “I¹m Gonna Go Fishin¹" was used on the album, but we¹ve discovered four more pieces by that original lune-up.

That fall, the Concert Jazz Band toured the U.S. and Europe. Mulligan selected the best from a series of live recordings for the album “On Tour". Three more performances, originally selected for the album but eliminated because of time constraints, are included here.

“A Concert In Jazz" which features a masterful reading of George Russell¹s “All About Rosie" and “At The Village Vanguard" are presented as they were originally issued. The final album “Mulligan Œ63" is an ambitious studio affair with Jim Hall¹s guitar added and the compositions of Gary McFarland and Brookmeyer featured; added to the original album are three alternate takes and Gerry Mulligan¹s otherwise unrecorded “Chant".

On November 24, Mosaic Records will release The Complete Verve Roy Eldridge Studio Sessions, a 7-CD collection, and Mosaic Select sets by Curtis Amy and Duke Pearson.

It is requested that all reviews or articles include the following: “All recordings are available solely through Mosaic Records, 35 Melrose Place, Stamford, CT 06902; (203) 327-7111.

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