The impetus for this cool and swinging traditional jazz sextet date came from a conversation the producer had with the late Gerry Mulligan, who had always wanted to record an album featuring his baritone sax and clarinetist Pee Wee Russell. Mulligan also never got around to recording with clarinetist Kenny Davern, but the idea to blend the clarinet with the baritone stayed alive when it came to organizing the 18th Annual Floating Jazz Festival about QE2. Most of the the members of the band organized around them had some history with Chiaroscuro Jazz, and so the shipboard performance translates to this sweetly realized recording. "Bernie's Tune" gets things off to a jumpy start, with the two primary instruments blending their low tones perfectly before pianist John Bunch takes off for a solo adventure. Joe Temperley's baritone solo is another highlight. In fact, despite the billing, the arrangements here are very democratic. The lengthy "Mood Indigo" allows them to show the mournful abilities of their combined tones, but the ambience doesn't stay down for long. This amounts to a handful of older, gracefully aged jazz gentlemen showing that having fun isn't just something the kids can do.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Jonathan Widran