The Origin of The Mulligan Mosaics Big Band

Written by Ted Hogarth

 

In addition to being a popular jazz performer in Chicago, Ted Hogarth maintains a private teaching studio. During a lesson several years ago, one of his students, Chris Weller, told Ted the wonderful story of how, while in pursuit of a copy of Gerry Mulligan’s “Entente for Baritone Saxophone and Orchestra,” the Library of Congress passed along the contact information for Franca Mulligan, Gerry’s wife and President of the Gerry and Franca Mulligan Foundation and Mulligan Publishing. Chris said that Mrs. Mulligan was very helpful to him, and since Chris knew of Ted’s desire to study Gerry’s music, suggested that he contact Franca.

Ted had just completed a Master’s Degree in Jazz Composition at DePaul University in Chicago and was interested in studying some of the scores for Gerry’s Concert Jazz Band in order to understand how this incredible music was constructed. After an exhaustive search for the arrangements on the Internet proved unsuccessful, Ted contacted Ken Poston from the Los Angeles Jazz Institute, which houses some of Gerry’s music, about acquiring scores for research. Ken suggested that Ted contact Franca directly and assured him that she would be a great help.

Ted called Franca and told her how much he admired Gerry’s playing, his lush sound, and his writing, and arranging, and that he wanted to study the scores from the Concert Jazz Band. Franca graciously agreed to send Ted copies of the music, with the understanding that the music was the property of Mulligan Publishing, Inc. and would be used for study, research, and performance for fund-raising only. Ted explained that he did not have a big band and was only interested in studying the music.

After e-mailing a list of requested scores, Franca called Ted and suggested that he come to Connecticut to look through Gerry’s private library to select the pieces he wanted copied. Ted was thrilled to have the opportunity to see where Gerry composed, practiced and rehearsed his groups. Ted went to Connecticut for three days in May 2006 for the first of many visits, which would change his life.

The first visit was very productive with Ted collecting five scores for his study. Upon returning to Chicago Ted decided he not only wanted to study this music, he wanted to perform it. He formed a big band comprised of some of his closest friends, who also happened to be the top players in Chicago.