Gerry Mulligan-Paul Desmond Quartet: Gerry Mulligan-Paul Desmond Quartet (1957)

aka: Blues in Time

Gerry Mulligan-Paul Desmond Quartet

Track list:

01. Blues in Time
02. Body And Soul
03. Stand Still
04. Line For Lyons
05. Wintersong
06. Battle Hymn of the Republican
07. Fall Out


Paul Desmond – alto sax;
Gerry Mulligan – baritone sax;
Joe Benjamin – bass;
Dave Bailey – drums

#1,2,5: Capitol Tower Studios, Hollywood, CA; August 2, 1957
#3,4,6,7: New York City; August 27, 1957
Released: 1958
Label: Verve
MGV 8246

Released as “Blues in Time”:
V/V6 8478
2304 329

Jazz Wax
JWR 4518

Supervised by: Norman Granz

Cover Photography: Burt Goldblatt
Cover Drawings (“Blues in Time”): Moselle Thompson

Liner notes: Nat Hentoff

Blues in Time (1 front 1) [Verve 2304 329]


Three years after Gerry Mulligan initially sat in with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, the baritone saxophonist arrived at a point where he could perform alongside Brubeck’s alto saxophonist, Paul Desmond, for this much anticipated session.

When legal issues, wranglings with producer Norman Granz, and the question of which record label would subsidize and release this album were resolved, the two saxophonists went ahead to produce a delightful program of standards and originals where their more playful sides could fully blossom.

The wonderful interaction between Mulligan’s burly but agile horn and the ultimate smooth — but in this case animated and energized — sax of Desmond is more than just magical, and makes for a fluid, jaunty, delicious combination sure to please even the most jaded or stone-eared music listener.

Weaving in and out of improvised phrases, the two sure sound like they are having a ball during Desmond’s compositions — the friendly and carefree discourse of “Blues in Time,” the bop vehicle with its jaundiced title “Battle Hymn of the Republican,” and “Wintersong” with its subdued blues-based theme where the alto is featured while the bari observantly sits on the side and comments on occasion.

Of the three pieces written by Mulligan, one is quintessential in “Line for Lyons,” a classic melody and enduring standard enhanced by the harmonic richness of the horns playing together — it’s a joy hearing their tones and styles mesh beautifully.

“Standstill” and “Fallout” have as much merit as any of Mulligan’s witty charts: the former a fun, melodic bop tune; the latter showcasing more of the harmonic compatibility of the two saxophonists.

The lone popular standard, “Body and Soul,” is mostly Mulligan pining on the age-old lover’s plea, with Desmond listening as if to be convinced.

Drummer Dave Bailey and bassist Joe Benjamin are along for the ride in this typical Mulligan pianoless quartet, doing their yeoman’s work and letting the co-leaders have their spotlight.

This is truly a fine example of modern mainstream jazz, another example from that definitive year 1957, sadly a one-shot, but a document thankfully re-issued on CD that should be treasured by all fans of jazz.
~Michael G. Nastos[]


When originally released in 1958, if the cover were to be read literally, the album was called “Gerry Mulligan Paul Desmond Quartet.”

The original Verve label refers to the record as “The Gerry Mulligan Paul Desmond Quartet.”

On the album is a track called “Blues In Time.”

For whatever reason, probably marketing, at some point a decision was made to name the album “Blues In Time.”

But “Blues In Time” was not the name of the album when it was first released.