Stan Getz & Gerry Mulligan: Getz Meets Mulligan In Hi-Fi

Having the duo swap saxophones on some tunes here was a pointless and musically wasteful gimmick but on their own axes they shine

2055

With two of the finest performers on their instruments accompanied by a stellar rhythm section this really could have been a great collaboration. Somebody (producer Norman Granz perhaps) decided it would be a good idea for Stan Getz and Gerry Mulligan to swop horns on Let’s Fall In Love, Anything Goes and Too Close For Comfort. Years later Mulligan told me that it certainly was not his decision and he also said he didn’t like the sound he achieved on Stan’s tenor.

Anything Goes once confused Ronnie Ross in a 1958 Downbeat blindfold test because he did not have a clue who was playing. This really was a wasted opportunity rather like recording Johnny Hodges on tenor with Lester Young on alto – what would be the point? That said there is still much to enjoy here with both men on top form, producing music of lasting value when not handicapped by an unnecessary gimmick.

The relaxed That Old Feeling is book-ended by eight bars of exchanges leading to Getz’s delightful paraphrase of the melody accompanied by sympathetic backgrounds from Mulligan. There is some extrovert, hard-swinging blowing from both men on This Can’t Be Love, uninhibited by the tempo which storms along at over 70 bpm.

The temperature cools several notches for Mulligan’s A Ballad which is given a sympathetic reading with both horns at their most lyrical. They really should have recorded more together. Their only other studio date was Jazz Giants ’58 with Harry Edison, Oscar Peterson’s trio and Louis Bellson. It’s well worth tracking down – Verve MGV8248CD.

Discography
Let’s Fall In Love; Anything Goes; Too Close For Comfort; That Old Feeling; This Can’t Be Love; A Ballad; Scrapple From The Apple; I Didn’t Know What Time It Was (55.18)
Getz (ts, bar); Mulligan (ts, bar); Lou Levy (p); Ray Brown (b); Stan Levey (d). Los Angeles, 12 October 1957.
Essential Jazz Classics EJC55771