Friday, October 25, 2013

Vinyl Reissue of the Month - "Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker: Carnegie Hall Concert"

Vinyl Reissue of the Month
Gerry Mulligan & Chet Baker: "Carnegie Hall Concert - Vol. 1 & 2" (CTI/Speakers Corner)

Produced by Creed Taylor
Featuring: Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone), Chet Baker (trumpet & vocals), Bob James (acoustic piano), Ron Carter (acoustic bass), Harvey Mason (drums), John Scofield (electric guitar), Ed Byrne (trombone), Dave Samuels (vibes & percussion)

*180g Virgin Vinyl
* High Quality Pressing
* Pure Analogue Audiophile Mastering

LP1 - Volume 1
1. Line For Lyons
2. (Song) For An Unfinished Woman
3. My Funny Valentine
4. Song For Strayhorn

LP2 - Volume 2
1. It's Sandy At the Beach
2. Bernie's Tune
3. K-4 Pacific
4. There Will Never Be Another You

A new issue of "Gerry Mulligan/Chet Baker: Carnegie Hall Concert" just came out this month in Europe, on 180g vinyl, through the German label Speakers Corner. And it's the first time ever that the 2 albums (released individually as single LPs at the time of its original release in 1975) appear on a 2-LP set.

For ordering & additional infos, please visit Speakers Corner's website:

The front cover (as shown above) is a little different from all previous analog and digital issues, since it mentions "Volume 1 & 2," and also includes the names of the musicians who appeared in each of the original vinyls. All 8 songs included in the original "Vol.1" and "Vol.2" appear, but this 2-LP set doesn't includes the ninth tune performed, "Margarine," which remains available only on the out-of-print Gold CD issued by Sony in 1995.

For those not familiar to this great CTI album, that November 24, 1974 night at Carnegie Hall was more than a concert; it became a media event, celebrating the first Mulligan/Baker reunion since their heyday in the 50s, when they became the top act of the so-called West Coast Jazz.

The tracklist includes "Line For Lyons," "(Song) For An Unfinished Woman," "My Funny Valentine," (sung by Chet Baker, obviously), Mulligan's haunting ballad "Song For Strayhorn," "It's Sandy At The Beach," Bernie Miller's "Bernie's Tune," the terrific "-4 Pacific," and Harry Warren's lovely standard "There Will Never Be Another You," another feature for Chet Baker's unmistakable vocal style.

According to CTI historian Doug Payne, "the above titles come from a concert featuring Baker, Mulligan, Stan Getz and each of their groups individually. Baker's group included Bob James on piano, Ron Carter on bass, Harvey Mason on drums, and Ed Byrne on trombone. Mulligan used the same rhythm section, adding vibist Dave Samuels, guitarist John Scofield and sometimes Baker. Getz - who is not present on the issued titles but whose tenor sax is clearly visible on the cover photo (and confirmed by Gerry Mulligan) - was joined by his own group, highlighted by drummer Buddy Rich and four female singers during one number."

Let's hope that, someday/somehow, the "lost" Getz tracks will also see the light of the day. Something possible by now, since Getz was signed to Columbia (now Sony Music) at the time of the concert, and the label also became owner of all the CTI catalog from the 70s.

However, the most sought-after digital issue ever of "Carnegie Hall Concert" remains the Gold CD released back in 1995 by Sony. For all the previous issues, the original 2-track master tapes (mixed by Rudy Van Gelder for the first vinyl LP in 1975) had been used. But, for the 24-karat Gold CD, with 4-color picture label, the NY-based French Didier Deutsch decided to request engineer Mark Wilder to remix everything at Sony Music Studios in New York.

"We had access to the multi-track tapes, which enabled us to remix the selections properly and make them flow naturally with appropriate audience response," says Didier. He tried to recreate the concert more or less as it happened (without Stan Getz' portion, of course), changing the track sequence to restore the original setlist, and adding a previously unreleased track: "Margarine," composed by Hal Galper (best known for his work as Phil Woods' pianist).

Two other classic CTI albums - George Benson's "White Rabbit" and Paul Desmond's "Pure Desmond" - also came out on Gold CDs remastered with 20-bit digital SBM (Super Bit Mapping) technology. All, unfortunately, currently out-of-print.

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