Gerry Mulligan: Lady Chatterley's Mother
Lady Chatterley's Mother
Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band
Gerry Mulligan and the Concert Jazz Band at the Village Vanguard (Verve V6- 8396)
Nick Travis, Don Ferrara (trumpets), Willie Dennis (trombone), Alan Raph (bass trombone), Gene Quill, Bob Donovan (alto saxes), Jim Reider (tenor sax), Gene Allen (baritone sax), Bill Crow (bass).
Composed & arranged by Al Cohn.
Recorded: live at the Village Vanguard, New York, December 11, 1960
Rating: 92/100 (learn more)
Gerry Mulligan's early '60s Concert Jazz Band was one of the most musically influential big bands of its time. That influence carries on today, as this band was the spiritual forerunner of the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis band, which begat the Mel Lewis Jazz Orchestra, which begat the present-day Vanguard Jazz Orchestra. The CJB's slightly reduced instrumentation, with one less player in each section than was and still is customary in big bands, gave it a unique and original lightness and transparency.
The supreme irony of this band is that Mulligan originally formed it as a vehicle for his own writing, but the demands of running the business side of things, combined with pressing matters in his personal life, left him little time for writing. As a result, Bob Brookmeyer assumed the role of straw boss and de facto music director, handling the bulk of the writing. The band's book was filled out by works from such outstanding writers as Bill Holman, Johnny Mandel, John Carisi, George Russell, Gary McFarland, and Al Cohn, among others.
"Lady Chatterley's Mother" is perhaps Al Cohn's finest work for the CJB. It is a lively 40-bar theme in AABA form with a distinctive 16-bar bridge. Brookmeyer, Terry and Mulligan contribute characteristically fine solos, and there is a dazzling sax soli with Mulligan joining the section. The sax soli is followed by a great ensemble passage in which Cohn derives maximum intensity using minimum density by pitting a declarative unison line in the trumpets against a pedal tone in the lower horns, with no harmony in between, thus providing a great lesson for today's voicing-obsessed big band writers.
Reviewer: Kenny Berger