Line For Lyons – 1986

Gerry Mulligan & Toots Thielemans

A very rare meeting between baritonist Mulligan and harmonica wizard Thielemans

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Gerry Mulligan and Toots Thielemans undoubtedly crossed paths many times through the years but they only recorded together once, on an obscure 1994 album led by singer Judy Argo.

However for a televised New Year’s Eve jazz celebration that was filmed by PBS in 1986, Mulligan and Thielemans appeared both separately and, on one instrumental, together.

For a version of “Line For Lyons,” a classic Mulligan original that he had recorded in 1952 when his pianoless quartet featured trumpeter Chet Baker, the baritonist invited Toots to join him.

With bassist Ray Brown keeping the music swinging, Mulligan and Toots have a great time playing during this unique performance; how often does one hear harmonica and baritone sax blending together?

-Scott Yanow


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