Friday, November 20, 2009

After Hours

Gerry Mulligan & Ben Webster. Who's Got Rhythm?

Here's something special from 1963. I have no idea why the band is so gussied up. It's probably because they knew that someday they'd be playing for you. Sure, why not? That seems as good a reason as any. OK, it's Gerry, Ben, drummer Mel Lewis, a bass player I don't recognize (it ain't Ray Brown) and an invisible pianist making their way through a tune that Gerry probably wrote. It's a pretty basic take on "Rhythm" changes, but, like the blues, it all depends on what you do with it. Both sax guys are pretty formidable on this one. And yes, it's just a tiny bit disturbing to see Gerry shakin' it around onstage. He usually wasn't that animated. He must have been high or something. Anyhow, this is a real nice example of contrasting jazz styles; Webster's got the big, rough sound (that had fallen out of fashion circa 1950) on the tenor and Mulligan chugs away without the growl or vibrato. I've always liked how he plays his horn like it's a great, big alto sax. Altogether it's a wonderful performance.

No comments: