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Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges is the 1960 album by Gerry Mulligan and Johnny Hodges. Originally released on Verve, Mulligan and Hodges are joined by Claude Williamson (piano), Buddy Clark (bass), and Mel Lewis (drums). This is from a CD released by Verve Music Group on 24 June, 2003.
By this time Mulligan's place in jazz history was assured, mainly due to his work with Chet Baker in the famous pianoless quartet, which became a cornerstone of the West Coast sound. Meanwhile Hodges (twenty years Mulligan's senior) was still making vitally important contributions to the Ellington Orchestra.
According to Nat Hentoff's sleevenote a fair amount of pre-planning went in to this session, and it's certainly not the usual run through a set of blues and standards that you usually find on such one-off meetings. Having said that though, there's a casual, informal vibe to the proceedings too.
Though the sound of the band is pretty typical of the West Coast style, Mulligan avoids the kind of intricate counterpoint that characterised his recordings without piano or meetings with contemporaries like Stan Getz or Paul Desmond. He's content to keep out of Hodges' way and even sits out on "What's The Rush", the album's only ballad. Here 'The Rabbit' demonstrates his mix of poise and bluesy emoting that makes him one of the most instantly recognisable alto players of the 20th century.
Meanwhile Mulligan wears his influences proudly, so much so that at times you could be listening to Hodges or Lester Young pitched down an octave or so. Maybe that's just a consequence of hearing him in close proximity to one of his heroes, but the two men's styles do seem like different sides of the same coin. As the title suggests, this is a meeting rather than a cutting contest, and it's all the better for it. Lovely."
2. What's The Rush
3. Back Beat
4. What It's All About
5. 18 Carrots For Rabbit
6. Shady Side
Gerry Mulligan-baritone saxophone
Johnny Hodges-alto saxophone
Recorded November 17, 1959 at United Recorders, Hollywood
CD mastered by Kevin Reeves at Universal Mastering Studios-East