Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Gerry Mulligan

Gerry Mulligan (1927-1996) was a jazz saxophonist and composer who is known as one of the greatest sax men in history, and a huge part of the "cool jazz" scene of the 1950s - indeed, he plays with and wrote for Miles Davis on the famous Birth of the Cool album from 1950.

He was well known as an arranger, and played the clarinet and piano as well as mastering the baritone sax, and worked with such greats as Stan Kenton, Chet Baker, Billie Holliday, Count Basie, and many more.

He was also something of a cutie, a 1950s hip-to-be-square beanpole wrangling a gnarled brass bari sax that looks about four sizes too big for him!

Here are a couple of links to performances by Gerry Mulligan on YouTube.  First up, a live performance of his composition "Walking Shoes," which displays a swinging contrapuntal style, and "The Shadow of Your Smile," set to a variety of photos of the jazz great.

(Photo hijacked from the uber-stylish blog Nerd Boyfriend.)

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