The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets

The Gerry Mulligan Quartet, founded in Los Angeles in 1952, was widely acclaimed as the first small ensemble in jazz that did not include a chordal instrument such as a piano or guitar. Using original scores and detailed transcriptions of Mulligan’s work, The Gerry Mulligan 1950s Quartets offers an intimate look at Mulligan’s musical development from the initial quartet with Chet Baker to its successors with Bob Brookmeyer, Jon Eardley, and Art Farmer. The backdrop is an unparalleled account of his musical life from his teenage years to adulthood, analyzing the ways in which his compositions and arrangements evolved through collaborations with Elliot Lawrence, Gene Krupa, and Claude Thornhill, culminating with Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool nonet. Featuring original interviews with many of Mulligan’s associates, author Alyn Shipton presents a fresh take on Mulligan’s harmonic creativity, in the process tracing the ups and downs of Mulligan’s heroin addiction, imprisonment, sobriety, and eventual musical triumph.