by Anne Carlini
| Title – ‘The Mulligan Chronicles’
Artist – David Larsen
For those not in the know, The Mulligan Chronicles (releasing April 1st, 2021 … honestly!) is the culmination of years of study into the compositions of Gerry Mulligan by saxophonist, composer, and educator David Larsen.
“In my studies, I traveled to the Library of Congress to view hundreds of Gerry Mulligan’s handwritten scores and interview countless musicians,” he reveals.
“Zubin Mehta, Ted Rosenthal, and the many others I spoke with agreed that Gerry Mulligan was a musical genius,” Larsen adds.
David holds degrees from Pacific University, University of Oregon, and Western Oregon University and is currently finishing a PhD from Washington State University where he is studying the music of Gerry Mulligan.
He has studied with Emmy Award winning saxophonist Stephen Kravitz, Steve Owen, and Dr. Greg Yasinitsky.
David has also performed widely with a variety of artists including Ken Peplowski, Francisco Torres, Dave Glenn, Ron Vincent, Bill Mays, Dean Johnson, and the internationally acclaimed jazz vocalist Halie Loren.
Indeed, recently, David appears on the Origin Records release New Normal (2021) by Greg Yasinitsky and was featured on the award-winning Halie Loren album Butterfly Blue (2015).
David’s previous releases include Borrowed Time (2018), One of a Kind (2016), and Night Shift (2016) and his compositions have won numerous awards including JW Peppers Editor’s Choice for 2018, 2019, and 2020.
These charts “Applied Physics,” “Bright Days,” and “Avocado Toast,” and others are available from Dapper Page Music.
The result of years of research into the music of Gerry Mulligan, and after pouring through hundreds of scores, transcribing many solos, and interviewing a number of players, The Mulligan Chronicles brings us 13 of David’s favorite Gerry Mulligan tunes.
1. ‘Walkin’ Shoes’ (6:18)
Opening on the fun, one-two step of ‘Walkin’ Shoes’ he backs that up with the melodic notations of ‘Curtains,’ the stand up bass and horn work of ‘Festive Minor,’ and then we get both the Pink Pantherish ‘Good Neighbor Thelonius’ and the laid back, sunny Sunday afternoon haze of ‘Lonesome Boulevard.’
Next up is the upbeat ‘Idol Gossip’ which is itself followed by the manically foot-tapping excellence of ‘Rico Apollo,’ the mid-tempo, tuneful roll of ‘Open Country,’ and then both the building, finger-snapping, quietly turbulent ‘The Flying Scotsman’ and the more pronounced work found within ‘Out Back of the Barn.’
We are then treated to one of my own personal favorites on this terrifically sculptured new album, the smooth and cordially created lines of ‘Etude for Franca,’ with the album rounding out on more upbeat melodies, this time found within ‘Ring Around a Bright Star,’ closing on the late night, smoky, jazz piano bar ambiance of ‘Taurus Moon.’
“After listening and learning so much about his music, I have put together a collection of some of his best compositions,” David further explains. “Drawing from his early works, ‘Walkin’ Shoes’ and ‘Festive Minor,’ through his later pieces, ‘Lonesome Boulevard’ and ‘Rico Apollo,’ I wanted to capture the breadth of his musical catalog as well as his many musical styles.”
“Gerry Mulligan was fascinated by composition from a young age and always considered himself a composer first. Mulligan wrote for big bands, small groups, film scores, as well as symphony orchestra, so sorting out some of his finest works was a real joy.”