Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band [RTE]

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At a time when all of the important Verve recordings by Gerry Mulligan's Concert Jazz Band of 1960-63 are long out of print, this previously unissued concert performance (a two-CD set made available by the European RTE label) helped to fill the gap. There are many exciting moments among the 14 selections, including hot versions of "You Took Advantage of Me," "Apple Core," "Moten Swing," and "Bweebida Bobbida"; the ballads include "Body and Soul" and "My Funny Valentine." With the leader's baritone, trumpeter Conte Candoli, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer and tenor saxophonist Zoot Sims all getting plenty of solo space and drummer Mel Lewis driving the ensembles, the 14-piece big band is heard at its best. One of the high points is the 21½-minute, medium-tempo blues "Spring Is Sprung," which finds Mulligan soloing and comping enthusiastically on piano. Highly recommended.