Although the beautiful sound, mutual understanding and harmonic balance mostly predominate, the music of alto saxophonist Paul Desmond performing together with baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan is far from what one calls ‘easy listening’. For many, it is even difficult to identify the melody of evergreens such as “Stardust” and “The Way You Look Tonight”. (And what theme is tucked away in “Two Of A Mind”????)
The recording in the RCA Victor Studio took place over several days in 1962, and this is why different bass players and percussionists are heard – Wendell Marshall, Joe Benjamin and John Beal each take their turn on the bass, while Connie Kay and Mel Lewis change places behind the drum set. These musicians form a brilliant team, and that there is no piano is both deliberate and inevitable for Gerry Mulligan recordings of the day. By the way, the second saxophonist in “The Way You Look Tonight” is Paul Desmond – by means of over-dubbing in the middle of the stereo recording!
The present LP could certainly take a rightful place in a ‘Best Of’ collection alongside the other recordings by Gerry Mulligan with Ben Webster and Stan Getz.