JazzTimes 10: All-Time Great Jazz Quartets

From Goodman to Shorter, some of the best jazz has carried the sign of four

Gerry Mulligan Quartet

Jazz quartets without a pianist had existed before, but they didn’t sound like this. As Chet Baker blew wistful trumpet melodies, Mulligan’s buoyant baritone sax weaved intricate lines around him, with one of two bassists (Bobby Whitlock in 1952, Carson Smith in 1953) offering clever counterpoint and one of two drummers (Chico Hamilton in ’52, Larry Bunker in ’53) grounding it all. Go to The Best of the Gerry Mulligan Quartet with Chet Baker (Pacific Jazz/EMI) for a solid primer.

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Mac Randall

Mac Randall

Mac Randall has been the editor of JazzTimes since May 2018. Prior to that, he wrote regularly for the magazine. He has written about numerous genres of music for a wide variety of publications over the past 30 years, including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair, The New York Observer, Mojo, and Guitar Aficionado, and he has worked on the editorial staffs of Musician, LAUNCH (now Yahoo! Music), Guitar One, Teaching Music, Music Alive!, and In Tune Monthly. He is the author of two books, Exit Music: The Radiohead Story and 101 Great Playlists. He lives in New York City.