At the time of its original issue in late 1957, Mulligan Meets Monk was considered an anomaly. Its two namesake artists represented two different, divergent “schools” of jazz. Gerry Mulligan, the baritone saxophonist, was associated with the laid-back, relaxed vibe of cool jazz. He had played with Miles Davis on the sessions that would become the definitive Birth of the Cool. Around the same time, he had made a name for himself as an arranger and performer with Chet Baker. Thelonious Monk, the pianist, was a cutting-edge, rule-breaking composer and performer, so much so that for the first decade of his career he was often viewed as a misguided outcast. Monk’s harder, angular, almost percussive style was a crucial influence on the bebop style of jazz. Musically, Mulligan and Monk seemed to have little in common.(...) The sessions that became Mulligan Meets Monk occurred by happenstance, as John Coltrane, with whom Monk had been performing at the time, was the Riverside label’s original choice of sax player. Coltrane was unavailable, though, so producer Orin Keepnews decided to have Mulligan take part instead. Good things often happen by accident, and Mulligan Meets Monk is one of those. Over time and several reissues, it has become a favorite among fans of both artists.