Gerry Mulligan and Art Farmer made a number of recordings between 1958 and 1963 under the baritone saxophonist's leadership, but this 1959 concert in Rome represents an unofficial recording of the quartet. Evidently taped for radio broadcast and previously issued by both Fini Jazz and Jazz Hour, it appears for the first time on a single CD in complete form. Mulligan is in his usual top form; Farmer is more in command of his instrument than the leader's highly regarded earlier trumpeter, Chet Baker. Bassist Bill Crow and drummer Dave Bailey provide a solid rhythmic foundation throughout the date. Standards include the loping show tune "Bauble, Bangles and Beads" and the perennial favorite "I Can't Get Started," but the inspired tradeoffs between the two horns in "Just in Time" merit especially strong praise. The originals include the explosive Mulligan original "As Catch Can," Bill Crow's intricate yet strutting "Blues from Newport," Mulligan's snappy "Walkin' Shoes," "Spring Is Sprung" (in which Mulligan switches to piano), and an extended workout of Farmer's exciting "Blueport," followed by the leader's low-key theme song, "Utter Chaos." The playing is superb throughout the date, though the source tape shows signs of age in spots.
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AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden