Although an earlier CD added five previously unissued tracks to the original LP Gerry Mulligan Meets Ben Webster, this Verve Master Edition two-CD set adds just about everything else recorded during the two sessions that produced the original record, and also features 20-bit sound. Even though Gerry Mulligan was outspoken against issuing material omitted from his original recordings, it is a treat to hear how the songs evolved in the studio. Webster and Mulligan seem mutually inspired throughout the sessions, and strong performances by pianist Jimmy Rowles, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Mel Lewis are of considerable help.
One of the genuinely innovative modern jazz groups to emerge in Los Angeles during the early '50s, the original Gerry Mulligan Quartet featuring Chet Baker is captured live, on stage, at their regular Hollywood haunt, The Haig as well as San Francisco's famed Black Hawk Club. The album has been compiled by the legendary Roy Carr.
Monk and Mulligan blend together quite well on what was essentially Thelonious' repertoire of the era including "'Round Midnight," "Rhythm-A-Ning," "Sweet and Lovely," and "I Mean You."
This is a rather relaxed recording featuring baritonist Gerry Mulligan and some of his top alumni (trumpeter Art Farmer, trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, guitarist Jim Hall, bassist Bill Crow, and drummer Dave Bailey) exploring three of his own songs (including "Festive Minor"), Chopin's Prelude in E minor, "In the Wee Small Hours of the Morning," and "Morning of the Carnival" (from Black Orpheus). The emphasis is on ballads and nothing too innovative occurs, but the results are pleasing and laid-back.