(Darien, CT – Jan 11, 2011) On February 15, 2011 Lancia Media Factory will release “Little Big Horn” by the legendary baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan. Recorded in 1981 with a first-rate ensemble and originally released on GRP Records, the album features six Mulligan compositions written for big band, small combo, and vocal performance – all featuring his distinctive melodic approach to arrangement and improvisation.
The tracks on “Little Big Horn” exemplify Gerry’s career-long tradition of innovation by exploring new writing styles while maintaining the intuitive sense of melody that makes his music so accessible. “People always said that I play the baritone like a little horn,” he explained. “With this album, I’ve attempted to create the illusion that it’s not playing in the low register by concentrating on its qualities as a melodic instrument. There are many basic ways of hearing jazz – mine will always be the melodic.”
Joining Gerry is a stellar lineup with Dave Grusin on piano, Anthony Jackson: electric bass, Jay Leonhart: acoustic bass, Buddy Williams: drums, Richard Tee: piano, Marvin Stamm and Alan Rubin on trumpets, Keith O’Quinn: trombone, Lou Marini: alto saxophone, and Michael Brecker on tenor saxophone.
As a composer, arranger, bandleader, and instrumentalist, Gerry Mulligan left an indelible mark at several turning points in the history of jazz.
In the late 1940’s, Gerry played with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Sarah Vaughn. As a composer and player, he was an important collaborator on Miles Davis’ hallmark “Birth of Cool” album and it was Miles who gave him the nickname “Jeru.” In 1951, he headed west to California and formed the first pianoless quartet: an innovation that has influenced jazz musicians ever since. The quartet, which featured Chet Baker on trumpet, Carson Smith on bass, and Chico Hamilton on drums, became a focal point of the West Coast Jazz movement and often toured with Duke Ellington. Later groups featured Bob Brookmeyer, Zoot Sims, Art Farmer, and Red Mitchell.
One of the most important saxophonists in the history of Jazz, a Grammy recipient, and an astonishing winner of 29 consecutive Downbeat Magazine Readers’ Poll Awards, Gerry Mulligan continued to lead bands until his death in 1996.
“Little Big Horn” will be available from Lancia Media Factory on audiophile-grade vinyl, as well as a 24/96 HD and MP3/AAC download. The track listing is as follows:
1. Little Big Horn
2. Under a Star
3. Sun on Stairs
4. Another Kind of Sunday
5. Bright Angel Falls
6. I Never Was a Young Man