Kerry Strayer

Jeru Blue: Tribute to Gerry Mulligan

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Baritone saxophonist Kelly Strayer gave himself a tough challenge doing a tribute to Gerry Mulligan -- not only does he play the same instrument but he uses Jeru's last rhythm section (Ted Rosenthal, Dean Johnson, Ron Vincent) and sticks to works by Mulligan. While he couldn't possibly match the sound and feeling of Mulligan's recordings, his swinging tone is a delight. The songs chosen emphasize some of the legendary musician's lesser-known (but not lesser-quality) works; the pieces are mainly from the latter part of Mulligan's career, arranged by Strayer. The lively bossa nova "Rio One," the moody ballad "Dragonfly" and the upbeat "North Atlantic Run," with the leader's soprano sax solo, are all highlights. Trumpeter Randy Brecker, trombonist John Mosca and tenor saxophonist Ted Nash also shine in their solo spotlights.

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