A number of posthumous CDs have appeared following Gerry Mulligan's death in 1996. This one combines two previously unreleased quartet concerts, both featuring Bob Brookmeyer, an equally talented composer and arranger and outstanding valve trombonist. The songs are all familiar to Mulligan fans, including the swinging arrangements of "Laura" and great tunes like "Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are" and "Baubles, Bangles and Beads," which few other jazz groups seem to play. Mulligan's very cool but awkwardly titled "Bweebida Bobbida" and "Utter Chaos," his favorite theme song, round out the material from the 1957 Hollywood Bowl concert. Bassist Joe Benjamin and drummer Dave Bailey (inexplicably listed as "Donald Bailey" on the CD's back cover) make up the capable rhythm section. Brookmeyer's catchy "Open Country," which appears on several other live CDs by Mulligan, is the highlight of this release because of its wonderful interplay and strong solos. Mulligan's lovely "Love in New Orleans" almost seems like a briskly waltzing lullaby, while his challenging "Four for Three" poses no problems for his first-rate quartet. Brookmeyer switches to piano for an extended performance of Mulligan's "Subterranean Blues," which wraps the CD. Bill Crow plays bass and Gus Johnson is the drummer on this 1962 Paris concert. This well-recorded pair of concerts should be an essential acquisition for fans of Gerry Mulligan and Bob Brookmeyer.
AllMusic Review by Ken Dryden