Album: Jeru

"Jeru" is a 1962 jazz album by the popular American saxophonist and composer, Gerry Mulligan. The album includes the artist playing baritone saxophone with a supporting cast of accomplished jazz artists, consisting of Tommy Flanagan, Ben Tucker, Dave Bailey, and Alec Dorsey. This dazzling collaboration of talented artists brought to life an extraordinary album swarming with innovative improvisations, sophisticated melodies, and an unrivaled level of musical intimacy. Recorded and produced by the distinguished label, Columbia Records, "Jeru" stays a definitive and momentous album in the world of jazz.

Background and Development
Following the success and acknowledgment that Gerry Mulligan received as a member of different well-known jazz ensembles, his pursuit of a solo profession materialized. Mulligan was well-known for his work within the historical "Birth of the Cool" recordings by Miles Davis in the late 1940s and as a co-leader in the well-known piano-less quartet with trumpeter Chet Baker. Throughout the 1950s and early 1960s, he continued to team up with other jazz legends, such as Stan Getz, Paul Desmond, Thelonious Monk, and Duke Ellington. This substantial experience of dealing with the best in the market assisted Mulligan refine his skills, shaping his unique musical identity.

During the year 1962, Mulligan moved his focus and pursued a more standard quintet setup, hiring a few of the finest skills of that age. He collaborated with versatile artists like pianist Tommy Flanagan, bassist Ben Tucker, drummer Dave Bailey, and conga gamer Alec Dorsey. This group, under Mulligan's artistic direction, taped "Jeru", producing a charming album that showcased the baritonist's impressive improvisational capabilities and exceptional composing skills.

Album Composition and Style
"Jeru" includes six tracks, each displaying Mulligan's unique approach towards jazz, defined by advanced consistencies, lyrical melodies, and an undeviating sense of swing. The album opener, "Capricious", is an up-tempo structure that highlights the intricate interplay between Mulligan and Flanagan. The duo seems to have a nearly telepathic connection, perfectly complementing each other's phrasing and improvisations throughout the piece.

On the other hand, tracks like "Here I'll Stay" and "Inside Impromptu" display Mulligan's ability to embrace a tender and wholehearted approach to ballads. The former functions the saxophonist's warm and emotive tone, fully catching the essence of the song's melody. The latter exhibits a more introspective side of Mulligan, displaying moments of vulnerability and unguarded emotion.

"Jeru" also showcases Mulligan's excellence as a composer and arranger. The track "Get Out of Town" highlights his skill in constructing complex and powerful plans, as he weaves elaborate lines and harmonies. On the other hand, "You've Come Home" displays his more lively and imaginative side, providing a captivating and appealing efficiency.

One standout piece and a fan favorite from the album is the title track, "Jeru". This composition shows Mulligan's extraordinary prowess on the baritone saxophone and his signature easygoing design, creating an atmosphere of unpretentious sophistication and grace that draws listeners into the musical journey.

"Jeru", launched in 1962, stays an iconic album in Gerry Mulligan's extensive discography, showcasing his amazing talents as a saxophonist, author, and leader. The album's combination of memorable structures, impressive musicianship, and unique noise makes it a must-listen for any jazz lover. As a testimony to Mulligan's enduring mark on the category, "Jeru" continues to be valued and appreciated by jazz aficionados over half a century after its release.

Artist: Gerry Mulligan

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