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Gerry Mulligan

Gerry "Jeru" Milligan is the subject of the upcoming Napa Valley Jazz Society program. 

The Napa Valley Jazz Society presents “A Tribute to Jeru” at Silo’s Napa, Sunday, Sept. 16 at 4 p.m.

Gerry “Jeru” Mulligan was best known for his piano-less quartets of the 1950s, highlighting his swinging work on the baritone saxophone paired with several of the best horn players in jazz, including trumpeter Chet Baker, valve trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, and flugelhornist/trumpeter Art Farmer.

Grammy Award-winning baritone saxophonist and composer Aaron Lington will be leading a quartet in a program developed for the Jazz Society based on the Mulligan-Farmer group.

Selections will include several from the best-selling “What Is There To Say?” album, and will be performed by the all-star ensemble of Lington on baritone sax, John Worley on trumpet and flugelhorn, Dan Robbins on bass, and Jason Lewis on drums.

Mulligan did pioneering work with larger ensembles, beginning in the late ‘40s with the Lionel Hampton and Claude Thornhill Orchestras, then with the Miles Davis Nonet on the iconic “Birth of the Cool” compilation, and on to his own Concert Jazz Band. He was known for his innovative arrangements influenced by classical music techniques, such as polyphony, and tight harmonies between paired instruments. These innovations were also evident in his quartets.

Producer and NVJS president Bill Hart urges those who wish to learn more to visit the YouTube.com website and enter “Gerry Mulligan” in the search box. Hart considers Jeru to be “one of the most musically interesting and influential figures in the development of modern jazz.”

Tickets may be obtained at nvjs.org or by calling (707) 224-JAZZ (5299). Prices are $25 for NVJS members and $45 for non-members.

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