Sunday, 30 October 2011

Gerry Mulligan - Night Lights

In The Bourbon Hours

It should be late at night, the lights dimmed to a warm glow, a large bourbon in one hand and the music of Gerry Mulligan's sextet coolly caressing the room as I write, but if it was now that time these smooth jazz touches and the bourbon's flow wouldn't be prompting me to scribe. So here I am in the morning, listening again because the aural transportation has a similar calming aura. Having been listening to Farmer, Golson and Fuller of late, I have also enjoyed visiting this 1963 recording of Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax, Art Farmer on trumpet/flugelhorn, Bob Brookmeyer on trombone, and Jim Hall on guitar. No piano, and this places these guys to the fore, especially the horns. It is the quintessence of cool. And the coolest track is the smooth Morning of the Carnival from 'Black Orpheus' where Mulligan's suspiring sound sooths in its softdeep solo along the latin groove, until the horns regroup and Mulligan reigns just over the harmonising. This is followed by In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning where Mulligan has an extended opening and beautiful blow - the track's title supporting the premise for listening - and fourth number Prelude in E Minor is another slowly paced nocturnal gem.

The cd features an additional track, a 1965 version of the opening title song, this time with Mulligan on clarinet. That solo is also sweet and engaging, but the quintet with piano and added 10 piece string section makes it more lounge and therefore mainly serves to highlight the beauty of the original and intimate set.

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