Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band: at the Village Vanguard (1960)


Track list:

01. Blueport (Farmer) 11:05
02. Body and Soul (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour) 5:43
03. Black Nightgown (Mandel) 4:06
04. Come Rain or Come Shine (Arlen, Mercer) 5:33
05. Lady’s Chatterley’s Mother (Cohn) 6:12
06. Let My People Be (Mulligan) 7:59


Gerry Mulligan: baritone sax, piano & arr [#04]
Don Ferrara, Clark Terry, Nick Travis: trumpet
Bob Brookmeyer: valve-trombone, arr [#02]
Willie Dennis, Alan Ralph: trombone
Gene Quill: clarinet, alto sax
Bob Donovan: alto sax
Jim Reider: tenor sax
Gene Allen: baritone sax, bass clarinet
Bill Crow: bass
Mel Lewis: drums
Al Cohn: arr [#01]
Johnny Mandel: arr. [#03]

Original LP Released: 1961 | Label: Verve V6-8396
CD Released: 2002 | Label: Verve 589 488-2

reissue Producer: Bryan Koniarz

Recorded: live at the Village Vanguard (New York City);  December 1960

Mastering: Ken Reeves

Liner Notes: Nat Hentoff

Art Direction: Hollis King
Art Producer: Sherniece Smith
Design: Isabelle Wong


Anyone who’s ever complained that so-called “cool jazz” artists don’t know how to swing should check out this one from Gerry Mulligan’s Concert Jazz Band.
The 13-piece group was sure swinging hard one Sunday afternoon at the Village Vanguard in December 1960.


What sets this ensemble apart isn’t so much the compositions (though they’re a fine mix of standards and originals) or even the star quality of the soloists (though Mulligan, Clark Terry, Bob Brookmeyer and others provide some memorable solo moments).
The key is the cohesiveness of the band as a unit and the crisp, tight arrangements and orchestrations by Mulligan, Brookmeyer and Al Cohn.
The bouncy, vibrant tone and sheer big band power on up-tempo numbers like Johnny Mandel’s “Black Nightgown” and Cohn’s “Lady Chatterly’s Mother” evoke, perhaps oddly, the great Basie bands.
Mulligan even takes an impressive turn at the piano to lead the group through the Basie-esque “Let My People Be”.
And familar ballads, like “Body and Soul” and “Come Rain or Come Shine”, are given fresh treatments that evoke moods of tenderness and romance without being syrupy.
Mulligan was no avant gardist, but he knew how to push the limits while working within a straight-ahead context, and he knew how to make a band swing.
Joel Roberts (allaboutjazz)