Mulligan, Gerry

Alternative names
Birth 1927-04-06
Death 1996-01-20

Biographical notes:

Biographical Note

  • 1927, Apr. 6: Born, Gerald Joseph Mulligan, Queens, New York
  • 1934: Began studying piano and clarinet
  • 1941: Mulligan family moved to Reading, Pennsylvania Studied saxophone and clarinet with Sammy Correnti who also encouraged him to study arranging
  • 1943: Mulligan family moved to Philadelphia Contacted Johnny Warrington, director of WCAU-CBS radio orchestra, and began working as an arranger Dropped out of high school and began arranging for Tommy Tucker and pianist Elliot Lawrence
  • 1946: Mulligan's arrangements of "How High the Moon" and "Disc Jockey Jump" are recorded with Gene Krupa, marking Mulligan's first appearance on a recording
  • 1947: Arranged for and performed with the orchestras of Woody Herman and Claude Thornhill Began studies with arranger Gil Evans
  • 1949 - 1950 : Created arrangements for and performed on the Birth of the Cool sessions with Miles Davis The album included original Mulligan compositions "Jeru," (a nickname Davis gave to Mulligan), "Venus de Milo," and "Rocker”
  • 1951: Tentet was formed Mulligan Plays Mulligan, his first recording as a leader, was released containing seven of his original compositions
  • 1952: The first recording of the pianoless Gerry Mulligan Quartet was released. The 78rpm recording Lullaby of the Leaves, with "Bernie's Tune," featured Mulligan, Chet Baker (trumpet), Bob Whitlock (bass), and Chico Hamilton (drums) Wrote and arranged "Young Blood" for Stan Kenton's band
  • 1957: Mulligan Meets Monk was recorded with pianist Thelonious Monk, Wilbur Ware (bass), and Shadow Wilson (drums)
  • 1960: Concert Jazz Band was formed Band appeared at Village Vanguard in New York and featured pianoless rhythm section, five reeds (including Mulligan), and six brass
  • 1965: Mulligan, playing baritone saxophone and clarinet, recorded Feelin' Good with a quintet and ten-piece string section
  • 1968 - 1972 : Toured frequently with Dave Brubeck Appeared as soloist on Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Brubeck’s oratorio, The Light in the Wilderness
  • 1971 - 1972 : Recorded and released The Age of Steam
  • 1974: Met future wife Countess Franca Rota Borghini Baldovinetti Recorded Summit with Astor Piazzolla in Milan
  • 1976: Married Franca Rota Borghini Baldovinetti
  • 1977: Composed score for the French film La Menace
  • 1978: Re-formed Concert Jazz Band for the Newport Jazz Festival Performed at President Jimmy Carter's festival, "Jazz at the White House"
  • 1980: Recorded Walk on the Water
  • 1981: Walk on the Water won Grammy Award for "Best Jazz Instrumental Performance by a Big Band"
  • 1982: Played solo soprano saxophone in Ravel's Bolero with the New York Philharmonic, at Zubin Mehta's invitation
  • 1983: Little Big Horn released on the GRP recording label
  • 1984: Commissioned composer Harry Freedman to write The Sax Chronicles, a work in which Mulligan's melodies were arranged in the styles of Bach, Brahms, and Mozart Completed Entente for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra, his first composition for symphony orchestra and solo saxophone
  • 1987: Symphonic Dreams, the first recording of Mulligan with a symphony orchestra, was released
  • 1988: Named a "Duke Ellington Fellow" by Yale University
  • 1989: Recorded Lonesome Boulevard
  • 1991: Assembled Gerry Mulligan Tentet for Re-Birth of the Cool
  • 1992: Performed on National Mall in Washington, D.C. in ceremonies celebrating the inauguration of President Bill Clinton
  • 1994: Elected into the Down Beat Hall of Fame
  • 1995: Dragonfly was released Performed at benefit concert with the Tibetan Monks of the Sera Je Monastery in India and Ornella Vanoni at the Teatro Nazionale in Milan, Italy, where he improvised with thirteen monks playing traditional instruments Won Down Beat International Critics and Readers Poll for Baritone Saxophonist of the Year
  • 1996, Jan. 20: Died at his home in Darien, Connecticut
  • 1996, Oct. 19: Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed a concert, "Jeru: The Music of Gerry Mulligan," at Lincoln Center
  • 1997: The Gerry Mulligan All-Star Tribute Band, with soloists Bob Brookmeyer, Lee Konitz, and Randy Brecker, gave a concert series at the Blue Note in New York
  • 1999: The Library of Congress Music Division opened an exhibition of materials from the Gerry Mulligan Collection in the James Madison Memorial Building
  • 2004: The Gerry Mulligan Collection, featuring his oral autobiography, was launched as part of the Library of Congress' "Performing Arts Encyclopedia" initiative

From the guide to the Gerry Mulligan Collection, circa 1940-1994, (Music Division Library of Congress)


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  • Jazz musicians--United States
  • Jazz
  • Music--Manuscripts
  • Saxophonists--United States
  • Arrangers (Musicians)--United States
  • Composers--United States
  • Music--Manuscripts--United States
  • Jazz--Lead sheets


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