Sunday, 13 July 2014


Gerry Mulligan wrote and/or arranged six of the eleven tunes on the album Birth of the Cool. But it was Miles Davis who, as Gerry explained it "put the theories to work, called the rehearsals, hired the halls, and generally cracked the whip." Miles Davis nicknamed Gerry "Jeru," a name Gerry was very fond of. Although recorded in New York, this new sound became synonymous with the laid-back lifestyle of the West and became known as "West Coast Jazz."

When I was barely a teenager, a neighbour by the name of Tony Reakie honked a big horn nearby. Wiry as a pipe-cleaner, Tony could blow some winsome riffs on his baritone sax. Tony Reekie liked Gerry Mulligan and looked like the musician (who is pictured on the album cover at the foot of this page). I blew a tenor saxophone and eventually, much later, evolved to baritone. I now play both with equal enthusiasm, but have also more recently moved on to the bass saxophone as well. When I heard Tony riffing his Mulliganesque muses I felt an affinity. I stayed with jazz, occasionally returning to early rock, and enjoy everything from hard bop to more experimental and challenging avant-garde pieces. Though my instrument of choice has always been and shall remain the tenor sax (a vintage Selmer Mark VI being my absolute pride and joy), immense pleasure is given playing and performing on the larger horns.

My intention and hope is that my portrait in oils achieves some of the cool warmth of the man Jeru and his unique "West Coast Jazz" sound.

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