Gerry Mulligan Introduction One of the most famous American jazz saxophonist was born in April 1927 with the name Gerald Joseph Mulligan, who later became popular as Gerry Mulligan among his fans and the people he worked with…
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His pianoless quartet performance with a famous trumpeter named Chet Baker in the 1950s has been appreciated of being one of his brilliant works ever. Other than being an impressive saxophonist, he was a brilliant pianist as well. Early life According to Mulligan, there were two things that helped him pursue such a successful career; a vision and a massive amount of guts. Both these things had a major contribution in impressing Warrington, a bandleader, and convinced him to believe that Mulligan had the potential to excel well in the field of music. He therefore, not only bought him arrangements but also gave him both critical yet productive criticism regarding his career. Following that, Mulligan organized for two bands that were led by important people like Tommy Tucker and Elliot Lawrence. Since Mulligan had three brothers and hence, a large family for his mother to look after, his mother chose to employ Lily Rose as their nanny. Lily Rose was African – American and very fond of playing the piano. She was the one who instigated Mulligan’s love for music when he used to spend time with her watching her play. Also, while staying at Rose’s place, he got the chance to meet a lot many black musicians who used to stay at her place when in town since the motels would not accommodate them in those days. In his early life, his family moved around a lot all over the country with stops made in the following order; southern New Jersey and Chicago, followed by Illinois, Kalamazoo and lastly, Michigan. It was sometime in 1940s that he first played in a concert. This concert was held at Philadelphia’s Music Academy, where he was accompanied by Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker, all of whom turned out to brilliant musicians later on. Among these, Mulligan became closes to Parker since he not only encouraged him well on his first performance but also helped him recover a lost tenor which he was afraid that he had lost and also invited him to attend jam sessions with him. Mulligan officially started playing for orchestras at the age of nineteen. These were for people called Gene Krupa and Claude Thornhill. It was at this point also that he started correlating his music skills with important musicians from the past such as John Lewis and George Russell and made himself capable of touching new boundaries. Rise to fame When Mulligan first came to New York, he was clearly astonished of the originality the city offered. But he soon realized that even the best musicians had to strive to make a living in that city. So it was in 1951 that he moved to the west in the pursuit of better chances, playing his music all along the way as he traveled through the country. In the same year, he created his first ever piano less quartet that later and still has had a massive amount of impact for many jazz musicians that have followed him which includes bands like Art Farmers and Zoot Sims. He also formed a band of four which was successful in gaining much popularity in terms of Jazz music all along the west coast. Duke Ellington was Mulligan’s favorite composer and that is exactly why he often paired up with him for tours. They both shared a chemistry so strong that every time they went on stage, they performed wonders. Ellington was the same person who composed one of Mulligan’s most famous works called the ‘Prima Bara Dubla’ (Klinkowitz 65).A predicament that Mulligan faced during his musical
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