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Library of Congress Restores Gerry Mulligan Scores

In an attempt to reconstruct nearly lost, illegible and unpublished jazz scores, University of Idaho music professor Al Gemberling will work with the Library of Congress on the library’s “I Hear America Singing” project.

Gemberling will work specifically on the works of jazz saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and his project will feature scores and recordings of Mulligan’s 1971 recording Age of Steam, to which he wrote and arranged the music for the eight songs. Currently, the only copies of the arrangements were Mulligan’s unpublished, hand-written manuscripts. But his widow, and president of Mulligan Publishing Company, Franca R. Mulligan provided the manuscripts to the Library of Congress in hopes that they could be recovered, shared and played by others.

The collaboration between the University of Idaho and the Library of Congress came about after Jon Newsom, head of the library’s Music Division, contacted the director of UI’s International Jazz Collections, Lewis Ricci. Ricci recruited Gemberling for the task of turning Mulligan’s manuscripts into finished, notated scores because of Gemberling’s expertise in jazz performance education, especially with high school and college students.

“This cooperative project among the International Jazz Collections, the Library of Congress Music Division and Mulligan Publishing Company is a great example of different types of organizations working together with one goal in mind—to help another generation understand, enjoy and have access to jazz,” said Ricci in a press release.

“The project brings the educational resources of a premier university music program together with a unique, nationally acclaimed online education effort by the Library of Congress,” he continued. “Of course, the project is also an example of great generosity, as Franca R. Mulligan is allowing these arrangements to be freely accessible for educational purposes to all teachers, students and scholars.”

Gemberling also expressed excitement at the project, especially working on the song “K-4 Pacific.” He said in a press release, “I listened to ‘K-4 Pacific’ I don’t know how many times, just over and over as I was trying to decipher who’s doing what on the recording as opposed to what I saw on the manuscript… I never got tired of it. It excited me more as I went along. With any good composition, you get more out of it with every listening.”

He explained that the original manuscript he was working with and the recording of the song were not always the same. While the song was composed for 19 instruments—a five-person rhythm section, a five-person horn section and nine other instruments—the recording only features a portion of the whole orchestra.

In addition to “K-4 Pacific” Gemberling has completed notating “One to Ten in Ohio” and plans to notate arrangements for the other six tracks on Age of Steam. He said that once he completes notating all eight songs, he would like to perform the entire album live with musicians from the Lionel Hampton School of Music and a baritone saxophone guest artist. “Maybe someone approaching the caliber of Gerry Mulligan,” said Gemberling.

More details on the Library of Congress’ “I Hear America Singing” project, which features tributes to a variety of musical styles and performers, and both scores and manuscripts to Mulligan’s songs can be found at

Originally Published