Miles Davis: Venus De Milo
Venus De Milo
Miles Davis Nonet
Birth of the Cool (Capitol Jazz RVG Edition 30117)
Sandy Siegelstein (French horn), Bill Barber (tuba), Nelson Boyd (bass).
Composed by Gerry Mulligan.
Recorded: New York, April 22, 1949
Rating: 97/100 (learn more)
Gerry Mulligan began his career writing for local bands in Philadelphia, then hit the big time playing and writing for the Gene Krupa Orchestra. Krupa thought him a bit brash and cocky, but loved his music and played everything he wrote. (A dozen such arrangements were recorded for Verve in 1958, and sound just as fresh as when first played.) It was clear that Mulligan was a major compositional voice, and Gil Evans convinced him to move to New York and got him a gig writing for Claude Thornhill. Mulligan later said that Evans was his last important influence. One of the few pieces for the Miles Davis Nonet that Mulligan never redid later for big band, "Venus De Milo" is an elegant gem, spontaneous sounding, yet with every musical element carefully chosen. Davis is featured, as well as Mulligan himself. (Lee Konitz's 16-bar solo before Mulligan's was cut for the recording.) As an improviser, Mulligan was still finding his way, and his solo is a bit awkward. By 1952, however, when he joined forces with Chet Baker on the West Coast, Gerry had become an instrumental master as well.
Reviewer: Jeff Sultanof