Jazz CD Reviews
Ted Hogarth and the Gerry Mulligan Mosaics Big Band – Live At The Jazz Showcase – Mulligan Mosaics
Published on May 27, 2010
Ted Hogarth and the Gerry Mulligan Mosaics Big Band – Live At The Jazz Showcase – Mulligan Mosaics, 47:23 ****:
(Ted Hogarth, baritone saxophone, baritone clarinet; Chris Madsen, alto saxophone and clarinet; Mark Colby, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Rob Denty, tenor saxophone and clarinet; Nick Moran, baritone saxophone and bass clarinet; Tim Coffman, trombone; Bryan Scott, trombone; Tom Matta, bass trombone; Terry Connel, trumpet; Tom Tallman, trumpet; Art Davis, trumpet; Joe Policastro, bass; Ed Breazeale, drums.)
As The Big Band sound began to disappear, the era of cool jazz began. One of the pioneers, Gerry Mulligan, never lost his fascination with the arrangements for larger groups with huge horn sections. In the early 60s he put together the Gerry Mulligan Concert band, emphasizing the “combo in a band” context. The project was short-lived. Ted Hogarth, a passionate jazz musician, teacher, composer and arranger, went on a quest to revive this music. After contacting Franca Mulligan, Gerry’s widow, Hogarth has resurrected this material with his own big band as well as making the material available for student performance and study.
At the core of The Mulligan Mosaic Big Band is the unique lineup, 11 horns and a bass and drums. Without the usual chordal instruments (piano, guitar), the compositions are loaded with solos and sonically connected backgrounds. Several of the musicians on the CD are also teachers and composers, and have contributed to the intricate arrangements.
The opening two pieces, “Five Brothers” and “Black Nightgown”, gives the band room to swing and develop multiple solos. There are seamless transitions from baritone saxophone (Ted Hogarth) to trombone (Tim Coffman), trombone into trumpet (Tom Tallman), and excellent background sound blending. A blistering version of “Apple Core” gives Mark Colby (tenor Saxophone ) a chance to showcase his swing playing abilities. A scintillating cover of Billy Strayhorn’s “Intimacy of the Blues” surprises with an extended bass solo that precedes an inspired baritone romp by Hogarth. A modern composition, “Waltz For Ruth” is distinguished by the bass trombone lead. Jazz aficionados will appreciate the melody chart of “Lady Chatterly’s Mother, with its subtle thematic nod to “Sleigh Ride.”
Recorded at the Jazz Showcase, the live audience is an ideal setting for this appealing and nostalgic elegy to the jazz pastime.
TrackList: Five Brothers; Black Nightgown; All of You; Apple Core; Intimacy of the Blues; A Ballad; Soft Shoe; Waltz For Ruth; Lady Chatterly’s Mother.
— Robbie Gerson