Best known for his pioneering, piano-less quartet of the early 1950s that helped chart the course of cool jazz, baritone saxophonist-composer Gerry Mulligan had not often recorded with the traditional piano-bass-drums rhythm section before this 1962 date. In the ever-tasteful Tommy Flanagan, Mulligan is joined by the perfect pianist for the kind of ultra-relaxed session that yielded Jeru, with its mix of medium-bounce tempos, ballads, and the jaunty bossa "Capricious" by the noted pianist-educator Billy Taylor that begins these proceedings. Bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Dave Bailey (who also served as producer on the LP, and contributed wonderfully warm new liner notes to this reissue), abetted by Alec Dorsey's conga drum, played with admirable restraint throughout, backing solos by Mulligan's baritone and Flanagan's piano that are unfailingly impeccable.
Down Beat - p.854.5 stars out of 5
- "Baritone sax icon Gerry Mulligan channels his inner Lester Young on JERU, a relaxed, melodic 1964 quartet recital."
JazzTimes - p.102
"JERU flawlessly swings with a relaxed, throbbing, positive life force."
Mojo (Publisher) - p.1115 stars out of 5
-- "Mulligan's early '50s quartet with Chet Baker was one of the wonders of West Coast jazz."
Personnel: Gerry Mulligan (baritone saxophone); Tommy Flanagan (piano); Ben Tucker (double bass); Dave Bailey (drums); Alec Dorsey (conga drum).
This very fine 1962 session finds baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan playing with an unusual (for him) combo. Abetted by pianist Tommy Flanagan (Mulligan was famous at the time for leading pianoless groups), a conga player, bassist, and drummer, Mulligan lays down a cool bop session that shimmers and glides, with the era's trademark bop freneticism carefully sublimated into ballads and mid-tempo numbers. The interplay between Mulligan and Flanagan is especially tasty.