Monday, January 28, 2013

Birth of the Cool: Venus de Milo

Birth of the Cool, track Four: "Venus de Milo" is a Gerry Mulligan composition, and again, it's been rarely covered, not even by Mulligan except on his "Rebirth of the Cool" album, which was basically a mistake. There's a version by Tito Puente and Maynard Ferguson which is good, and you can find it on Spotify, but if you look for it on YouTube, you get, curiously, directed to a whole string of Audiobooks and episodes of The Great Gildersleeve. And there's a lovely version of it by Jimmy Rowles, which you can find on YouTube with some difficulty, and if you keep digging, you'll discover that it comes from a trio album with Rufus Reid and Mickey Roker, on which they performed four Birth of the Cool numbers -- the others being "Jeru," "Godchild" and "Darn that Dream."

Here's the Jimmy Rowles version of "Venus" -- beautiful. I wish I could find the other three "Birth" interpretations, but no luck on either YouTube or Spotify.

And here's the only other version I could find on YouTube (not counting the song by Prince). This one a bit of an oddity, by the US Army Blues Band. Really not bad -- nice Mulligan-like arrangement.

The entire "Birth of the Cool" sessions have recently been recreated by a Dutch tribute orchestra named Cool Dawn -- you can find them on Spotify, if you're looking for a tribute band. Also on an album of Mulligan compositions (including "Boplicity" from Birth of the Cool) by a group called the Latino Blanco band, also findable on Spotify.

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