Gerry Mulligan

Dragonfly

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On what was probably Gerry Mulligan's last studio album (recorded less than a year before his death), the great baritonist is heard still in prime form. He contributed all ten compositions and the emphasis is on lyricism and slower tempoes; only three songs are taken above a medium pace. There are fine cameos by Grover Washington Jr. on tenor and soprano (during the first two numbers), cornetist Warren Vache and trumpeter Ryan Kisor. In addition, guitarist John Scofield and vibraphonist Dave Samuels (who both played with Jeru in the 1970's) are on many of the tracks and pianist Dave Grusin is on some although there is no identification as to which songs. A five-piece brass section was overdubbed on a later occasion. But even with the guests, the focus is generally on Gerry Mulligan and his longtime quartet. The music is thoughtful and tasteful although it is doubtful if any of the tunes will ever catch on as standards. This is a tasteful if not quite essential final effort by Mulligan, who seems to have ended his very important career quite peacefully.

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