Lee Konitz plays with Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1953)

Track Selection: “These Foolish Things” >

Bonus selection: “All The Things You Are”  >

Artists

Lee Konitz (as) Chet Baker (t) Gerry Mulligan (bars), Larry Bunker (d)  Carson Smith or Joe Mondragon (b) recorded  at  various venues, January 23 and 30, February 1, 1953 Los Angeles, CA

Music

Typical early Fifties West Coast, pitting the king of the alto against the king of the baritone, with Chet Baker thrown in for good measure. Everyone with total mastery of both instrument and genre, kicking off from a range of standards.

An Amazon customer review picks up the theme: ” Konitz, freed from Stan Kenton, has all sorts of new ideas about these old standards. And, for many of the cuts, as Lee explores the possibilities, you can hear Mulligan purring far in the background, every once in a while, moving to the foreground to make a few statements of his own. These two jazz minds talk to each other, tease each other,support and–in a gentle way–challenge each other…

Mulligan, Konitz, and Baker, of course, went their separate ways, Konitz and Mulligan to long and brilliant careers, Baker to a briefer, tragic, but still shining career. This, then, was a moment in time, and is now your chance to catch these giants sharing a stage, playing for and with one another, showing admiration and affection for each other’s talents and ideas

Better said than by me.

Vinyl

Seems to have been quite a few West Coast Vogue UK releases come to market at the same time, offering temporary relief from the lack of affordable Blue Notes that I haven’t already got.

Sounds good in any event. Ever-dependable Decca pressing with 1B matrix codes.

Collectors Corner

There were a large number of “X meets Y” formula records at this time. With jazz populated by  giant musical personalities, guesting must have become a way of life.  Mulligan meets Konitz, Konitz meets Mulligan, Mulligan meets Monk, Monk meets Blakey, Konitz meets Giuffre, Konitz meets Friedman, Mulligan meets Ben Webster, Mulligan meets Johnny Hodges, Mulligan meets Scott Hamilton,and so on,  you get the picture. Now with Twitter they can just follow each other. Inexpensive, not top of collectors wants lists, this is great classic  jazz on the cheap.

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11 thoughts on “Lee Konitz plays with Gerry Mulligan Quartet (1953)

  1. How odd. I’m playing this right now on a Fontana pressing. I googled for some further info and this post came up — which of course I must have read at the time but had since completely forgotten. In any case, what just struck me is that side two is live, or at least is in front of an audience. The fact that I have only just noticed this suggests I may never have played side two of my LP. A disgrace.

    The strange thing is that neither the sleeve notes nor any other source I have been able to find says that side two is live. Any further info, LJC?

        • Thanks, Eduard — you’re quite right. Maybe I missed these results when I searched at the weekend (I was using my wife’s iPad and I have a theory that the iPad uses a smaller, inferior version of the internet)… Anyway, recorded at The Haig, a Los Angeles club.

  2. I won’t go back to the well known shoes vs records never ending story.
    here I would like to ask if, in your knowledge, are there ladies you know who are interested in jazz as gentlemen are.
    I can count one, interested, not fanatic.
    and she isn’t my wife.

    • At the Nice Jazz Festival last year there were a few ladies, but only ever in the company of their husbands or boyfriends, I think only being “sociable”. I only ever see men digging crates for vinyl. Whilst especially younger women are intent on occupying what used to be the preserve of men – supporting football teams, drinking pints of beer, wearing tattoos, “behaving badly” even, they do not seem to have caught on to jazz, vinyl, or hifi. Perhaps one day we will see supermodels cat-fighting over first pressing Blue Notes, but somehow I doubt it. Surveys show women’s interests as family, health, fashion and beauty. They let men worry about the important things in life, like politics, cars and old records.

  3. I bought this CD many years ago. A girlfriend I had back then, once begged me to turn it off, ’cause “this pointless fiddling around music is making me itch”. We stopped seeing each other shortly after. The CD is still with me 😉

    • There is a line in the excellent Brett Milano book “Vinyl Junkies”, when the wife/girlfriend says something to the effect “That’s it! I’ve had enough! Either the records go or I do!”. He still has the records.

      This is a book that makes you feel almost normal, secure in the knowledge there are people out there with far more extreme an affliction than yourself. Recommended.
      http://www.amazon.com/Vinyl-Junkies-Adventures-Record-Collecting/dp/0312304277

      • I haven’t bought Brett Milano’s book yet, but I do have the book “Vinylfanaten” (vinyl fanatics) by Dutch journalist and record collector Robert Haagsma. That book, too, contains a variety of interviews with hardcore and, in some cases, loopy record collectors including my hero, famous poet, writer (and jazz drummer in his own band, sporting a collection of 10,000+ jazz vinyls) Jules Deelder. The book also describes one man that consciously lives alone, having given up on relationships with women altogether in order to dedicate his life to record collecting. Thankfully my current wife gives me enough lee-way (pun intended) to indulge in my addiction, although the deliveries from posty sometimes make her ask that dreaded question about how much I spent this time. Needless to say that I then once again remind her of that insane pile of shoes upstairs that only sees the light of day ‘on occasion’. The same old clichés, I know, but they’re all so, so true. Last but not least: click on that link that I put under “Vinylfanaten” -with Google translate you should be able to get some of that review in English. It’s interesting 😉

        • 2,500 Bob Dylan records? If you were not crazy before, you certainly will be after. Reading about these 10,000 to 15,000 record collections, I begin to feel quite “normal” with my 600 jazz LPs. Imagine 30 IKEA Expedit 2m high cabinets. That’s not a record collection, that’s a furniture warehouse.

  4. Excellent! Konitz is killing on this. It’s interesting to me how exciting this can be with the rhythm section playing with such restraint. This may be the earliest Larry Bunker I’ve heard. I enjoyed his playing in Bill Evans trio w/Chuck Israels (who is a very underrated bassist IMO).

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