Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan only worked together from 1952-1953 before the collaboration was halted by Gerry’s arrest on drug charges. The internet gives some really fancy music terms that I don’t understand to describe the music produced by this pianoless quartet. What it seems to really boil down to is magic. The men shared an almost psychic connection. Gerry said, “I had never experienced anything like that before and not really since.” By the time Gerry got out of the pokey, Chet, who was apparently dreamy, had already gone on to solo fame and fortune. He never rejoined the quartet.
Here’s one of their most famous songs “My Funny Valentine.” I really like this song but it’s got to be the worst love song EVER! If you listen to the lyrics, it’s basically saying “you’re ugly and stupid but I love you anyway.” Be still my heart!
Like Bill Evans, Gerry Mulligan seems to have picked up his heroin addiction during his time working with Miles Davis aka the Typhoid Mary of heroin addiction. The collaboration was probably pivotal to each man’s musical development. I wonder if the crippling addiction was worth the incredible musical chops.