Gerry Mulligan

Re-Birth of the Cool

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In the summer of 1991 Gerry Mulligan decided to revisit Miles Davis's Birth of the Cool recordings. He discussed it with Miles Davis himself who said he might be interested in participating but sadly Davis died a few months later. With Wallace Roney (the perfect sound-alike) in the trumpeter's place, baritonist Mulligan got the band's original pianist and tuba player (John Lewis and Bill Barber), used his own bassist (Dean Johnson) and drummer (Ron Vincent), and found able substitutes in altoist Phil Woods (unfortunately Lee Konitz was unavailable to play his old parts), trombonist Dave Bargeron and John Clark on French horn. This GRP CD brings back the dozen Birth of the Cool recordings of 1949-50 with Mel Torme taking Pancho Hagood's vocal on "Darn That Dream." Although the charts are the same (and it is a particular pleasure to listen to them with the improved recording quality), the solos are all different and in many cases have been lengthened; no need to stick to only three minutes apiece. This fascinating disc is most highly recommended to veteran jazz collectors who know the original Birth of the Cool records.

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