Saturday Night Tunes: What Is There to Say?

Friends, without making this All About Me, I’m scrambling right now. I forgot to put this in the queue before I left town, and I’ve been stymied in most of my efforts to grab a bit of internet while I’ve been away, which is why you’ve gotten a total of one (1) post since Wednesday that I hadn’t already scheduled before I left. Sorry. My problems also mean that we’re going to go straight to the music this evening without a lot of chatter.

Baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan is perhaps best known for his collaboration with Miles Davis on Birth of the Cool, but he did some very interesting piano-less quartet work throughout the 1950s, of which 1959’s What Is There to Say? is the last. Good name for the last album in a series, if you ask me. I decided on this one because tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, and this album includes one of the coolest renditions of the overplayed “My Funny Valentine” that you’ll ever hear, featuring Art Farmer on trumpet. So it seemed appropriate.

Mulligan was kind of a specialist at recording ultra-cool versions of this one particular tune, featuring whatever trumpet player he happened to be collaborating with at that time. This 1952 version, featuring Chet Baker on trumpet, is actually in the Library of Congress for being so awesome (that’s a technical term). I like it slightly better than the version on this album, but they’re both quite good (and similar in a lot of respects):

Farmer and Mulligan are joined by Bill Crow on bass and Dave Bailey on drums. Now, before I lose my connection again and/or drive myself crazy in some other technology-related way, here’s the full album:

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