The 1989 Gerry Mulligan Quartet (with pianist Bill Charlap, bassist Dean Johnson and drummer Richie De Rosa) is well featured on this enjoyable set, performing "Splendor in the Grass" and nine recent Gerry Mulligan compositions including "Lonesome Boulevard," "The Flying Scotsman" and "Good Neighbor Thelonious." Baritonist Mulligan deserves great credit for the consistency of his recordings during the previous 40 years. This CD is easily recommended for the leader remained very much in his prime. ~ Scott Yanow, AMG
I'VE BEEN VERY FORTUNATE over the recent years of the quartet, to have fine musicians who also happen to be good people. I've been lucky to have Tom Fay, Mitchel Forman, Harold Danko and Dill Mays on piano; Frank Luther, George Duvivier and Mike Formanek on bass; Billy Hart, Butch Miles and Bob Rosengarden. on drums. Sometimes we became a quintet or sextet with John Scofield or Mike Santiago on guitar and Dave Samuels on vibes and percussion. I've also been lucky that as players leave, for one reason or another, they find their own replacements! For instance, Bill Mays sent Bill Charlap to the group and Frank Luther sent Dean Johnson.
TRAVELING BANDS LIVE VERY close together for long periods of time, and I value the friendships that have resulted from our association. So, as well as being a presentation of the current group I travel with all the time, this is an expression of thanks to all the previous players in the continuing quartet.
AS REGARDS THE MUSIC, I wrote nine new pieces, the titles of which are fairly self-explanatory, plus a theme of Dave Amram's I've always been fond of.
ONE EXCEPTION TO SELF-explanation is "Rico Apollo." As I was working on it I was reminded of the music we used to play for amateur nights at the Apollo Theater on 125th Street in Harlem. I played there with Charlie Parker, Georgie Auld, Dinah Washington, Stan Getz, and Chubby Jackson, among others. Rico was the head stagehand at the theater, and on Tuesdays at midnight he was very busy. He impersonated a kind of witch-doctor character in a grass skirt and battered top hat who danced onto the stage all benevolence when a contestant was good - a kind escort from the stage into the wings. But if the contestant was truly awful he'd bound onto the stage blowing his policeman's whistle, firing his blank pistol, and, to the accompaniment of appropriately demonic music, pull his hapless victim off stage with his giant shepherd's hook! I had a great time with Rico and the backstage crew, and I also have many fond memories of the acts I played with, such as Willie Bryant, Redd Foxx, Stump and Stumpy, Dusty Fletcher, and the Nicholas Brothers. We all worked very hard there - sometimes doing as many as six shows a day!
SO HERE.'S THE PRESENT quartet: Richie De Rosa on drums (ten years with me), Dean Johnson on bass (five years with me), and Bill Charlap, piano (two years with me), recorded at the Carriage House in Stamford, Connecticut, and I hope it finds its way around the world, from Los Angeles to Tokyo, Brisbane to Buenos Aires, Vancouver to Tel Aviv and points between. ~ GERRY MULLIGAN, April 24, 1990
Gerry Mulligan (Baritone Saxophone)
Bill Charlap (Piano)
Dean Johnson (Double Bass)
Richie De Rosa (Drums)
All compositions - by Gerry Mulligan
Gerry Mulligan - Lonesome Boulevard tracks:
01 Rico Apollo 3:36
02 I Heard the Shadows Dancing 5:19
03 Lonesome Boulevard 4:19
04 Curtains 8:06
05 Ring Around a Bright Star 4:30
06 Splendor in the Grass 4:48
07 Good Neighbor Thelonious 4:58
08 Wallflower 5:35
09 The Flying Scotsman 5:29
10 Etude for Franca 2:30