From the first time I heard that deep baritone honk I was in love. Gerry Mulligan’s smooth, cool sound still has me hooked on west coast jazz. Any of the piano-less quartet stuff he did with Chet Baker or Art Farmer is pure gold, in my opinion. 1959’s “What Is There To Say?” is not only my favorite album of those quartets, but is also in my top 10 all-time favorite jazz albums. As is another album of Gerry’s, “The Age Of Steam” from 1971.
The first copy of Gerry’s autograph I was able to purchase took some time to find. I had only seen one or two and they were a large (and poorly) signed album cover and a typed signed letter, which still occasionally pops up on eBay, that was more than I wanted to spend. Since snagging that first one, I’ve acquired two more and have seen several other nice ones. Like Dizzy Gillespie, I will undoubtedly acquire more for the right price.
The first and favorite of my three. It’s the only one with his name signed all on one line. At about the size of a business card, it fit my size requirements and was successfully pulled out of an autograph album. It ended costing me the equivalent of about $80. It was originally from England and the auction was in British Pounds.
This one I scored for a whopping $5! I wasn’t sure on the size, but it was too nice of a signature to pass up at that price. It turned out to be just small enough.
The newest edition was another cheap find. At $15, including shipping, it was a steal in my opinion. I had thought that it was a bit smaller than it actually was. I was worried when I got it that it would be be too big to trim down, but I made it fit.
If you’re in the market for a Mulligan signature, my advice is be patient and don’t overspend. Nice, clean ones have started to pop up more frequently. Gerry passed away in 1995 so his autograph isn’t too rare, which is nice if you’re on a budget. Be weary however, because you’ll most likely be bidding against me! 😉