mulliganInstantly familiar, even today, Bernie’s Tune was a big hit in 1952 as well as the first release on the Pacific Jazz label and therefore the start of so-called “West Coast Jazz”. It’s distinctive for the instinctive close interaction between Mulligan’s baritone sax and Chet Baker’s trumpet – something helped along by the absence of a pianist in this quartet, which opened up some space in the arrangement. Incredibly, it wasn’t recorded in a studio but in the Laurel Canyon bungalow of the recording engineer Phil Turetsky, who happened to have an Ampex tape recorder in his living room. The B-side, Lullaby of the Leaves, is equally impressive, and this quartet produced a strong set of classic recordings, all without piano, in the year-and-a-half that it was in existence. “Bernie” was Bernie Miller, a pianist from Washington DC about whom not much is known.

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