Gerry Mulligan meets Ben Webster {Verve}[MFSL]

Review by Cub Koda (

The swing and bop start right here on this legendary 1959 session between baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and tenor man Ben Webster. The opening track, Billy Strayhorn’s “Chelsea Bridge,” is lush and emotional and truly sets the tone for this album. With Jimmy Rowles on piano (his intro on “Sunday” sounds like a ragtimer like Willie “The Lion” Smith just pushed him off the stool before the band came in), Mel Lewis on drums, and always superb Leroy Vinnegar on bass present and accounted for, the rhythm section is superbly swinging with just the right amount of bop lines and chords in the mix to spice things up. The ghost of Duke Ellington hovers over every note on this record (Billy Strayhorn was one of his main arrangers), and that is a very good thing indeed. There’s a beautiful understated quality to the music on this session that makes it the perfect “relaxing around the house on a rainy day” disc to pop in the player. File this one under cool, very smooth, and supple.

01 – Chelsea Bridge.flac
02 – The Cat Walk.flac
03 – Sunday.flac
04 – Who’s Got Rhythm_.flac
05 – Tell me When.flac
06 – Go Home.flac

Gerry Mulligan – baritone saxophone
Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Jimmy Rowles – piano
Mel Lewis – drums
Leroy Vinnegar – bass

Recorded Nov. 3 / Dec. 2, 1959 at Radio Recorders, LA.

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork

Barney Kessel – Let’s Cook! {Contemporary}[OJC]

Review by Scott Yanow (

This is an excellent session from guitarist Barney Kessel. Kessel is matched with vibraphonist Victor Feldman, pianist Hampton Hawes, bassist Leroy Vinnegar, and drummer Shelly Manne for a blues-with-a-bridge (the 11-minute “Let’s Cook”), Vernon Duke’s ballad “Time Remembered,” and “Just in Time.” The second half of the album has modernized versions of “Tiger Rag” and “Jersey Bounce” as played by the guitarist, tenor saxophonist Ben Webster, trombonist Frank Rosolino, pianist Jimmie Rowles, Vinnegar, and Manne. Throughout, Kessel keeps with the other all-stars, swinging hard while paying tribute to the legacy of Charlie Christian.

01 – Let’s Cook!
02 – Time Remembered
03 – Just in Time
04 – Tiger Rag
05 – Jersey Bounce

Barney Kessel – guitar
Ben Webster – tenor saxophone
Frank Rosolino – trombone
Victor Feldman – vibes
Hampton Hawes, Jimmy Rowles – piano
Leroy Vinnegar – bass
Shelly Manne – drums

Recorded at Contemporary’s Studio, Los Angeles; November 11, 1957 (#1-3) and
August 6, 1957 (#4,5)

Quality: eac, flac, cue, log, artwork