Kerry Strayer, a mainstay of the busy Kansas City scene, was inspired to play jazz thanks to Two of a Mind (1962; RCA Bluebird), the memorable collaboration of Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond. Although a baritone saxophonist like Mulligan, Strayer, with his more straight-ahead approach, doesn’t sound a thing like his idol. Here, rather than Mulligan the player, Strayer salutes Mulligan the composer. With eight Mulligan originals arranged for septet, Strayer gives us an opportunity to appreciate the uniquely engaging writing talent that was Mulligan’s.
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