Jazz CD Reviews

Billy Taylor & Gerry Mulligan, Live at MCG – MCG Jazz

This 1993 concert is right up with the best of the recent jazz reissues

Published on August 9, 2007

Billy Taylor & Gerry Mulligan, Live at MCG – MCG Jazz
Billy Taylor & Gerry Mulligan, Live at MCG – MCG Jazz J1025, 68:35 ***** [Release date: August 28, 2007]:

(Billy Taylor, piano; Gerry Mulligan, baritone sax; Chip Jackson, bass; Carl Allen, drums)

There’s been some terrific jazz reissues lately, and this one is right up there with them. It comes from a series of concerts that longtime friends and jazz giants Taylor and Mulligan played at the Manchester Craftsmen’s Guild in Pittsburgh in 1993. During that stint material was recorded for the pilot for NPR’s “Billy Taylor’s Jazz from the Kennedy Center.”

Billy Taylor got his start with Ben Webster’s Quartet and served as house pianist at Birdland for years. He is not just a pianist but also a noted jazz educator, lecturer, broadcast personality, author and composer. What needs be said about Gerry Mulligan, one of jazz’s immortals? Dave Brubeck said of him, “…you feel as if you’re listening to the past, the present and the future of jazz, all in one tune.”

All ten tunes are classics, including two by the participants themselves: Gerry’s Line for Lyons – written for the Monterey Jazz Festival’s founder Jimmy Lyons – and Taylor’s Capricious. Among the great tunes of this live date is Come Sunday – one of the most affecting tunes by Mulligan’s favorite composer of all: Ellington.

TrackList: Stompin’ at the Savoy, Just You Just Me, Darn That Dream, All the Things You Are, Laura, Line for Lyons, Body and Soul, Indiana, Come Sunday, Capricious.

- John Henry




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