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Manchester author takes you through the musical journey of Gerry Mulligan

Sanford Josephson of Manchester Township has a newly published book out on the life and works of 20th Century Jazz musician Gerry Mulligan and will be discussing it on April 24 at the Ocean County Library in Toms River.

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‘Jeru’s Journey: The Life and Music of Gerry Mulligan’¬†dives into how this musician helped shape the face of Jazz in the 20th Century, with his talents mingling in comparison by Josephson to Miles Davis and Duke Ellington.

“He was a composer an arranger, a band leader and he revolutionized the baritone saxophone,” said Josephson.

Mulligan ascended to fame with his work in producing the 1949 ‘Birth of the Cool’ album recording which includes his vocals.

Josephson met Mulligan in 1980 for a local newspaper interview in which the Jazz artist invited him into his Connecticut home and shared his musical journey.

Mulligan’s legacy lives on in the souls he touched with his music in the 20th century with a splash album in the ‘Birth of the Cool’ recording in 1949 with Miles Davis.

Over 40 years later, he worked alongside Clifton, New Jersey resident and Jazz artist Walalce Roney on the ‘Re-Birth of the Blues’ after originally speaking with Miles Davis on the matter before Davis’ passing.

In a 5 am conversation calling from Europe, Roney spoke to Josephson not too long ago on what Mulligan’s impact was on that album.

“He would just tear it apart,” said Josephson. “They’d be doing something and he would rearrange something in his head.”

Mulligan was best known for changing the role of the baritone saxophone in a band and his musical influence now spans over a generation of artists.

Josephson says Mulligan may have mixed feelings on the ever-changing face of musical groups today.

“Some of it he would not like but I think he would look for ways he could adapt his…what to do using the parts of technology that he could,” said Josephson.

He encourages who don’t know Mulligan or much about his music to stop by the discussion panel next week and listen to one of his songs.

The face of Jazz has changed over the course of time, especially between the 20th century and today, and Josephson discusses the genre’s somewhat poor standing in the 21st century.

“People who have not heard it (Jazz), maybe heard the wrong thing the first time they heard it,” said Josephson.

He adds bands like ‘Chicago’ have brought Jazz into their repertoire by using the horn in some of their songs.

Here are some of Gerry Mulligan’s songs to help you become more familiar with his work:

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