In 1999, Collectables Records reissued Jimmy Giuffre's 1958 album Trav'lin' Light as a two-fer with Mabel Mercer's aptly titled Merely Marvelous. Other than the fact that they were both issued on Atlantic and that they both feature a trio (La Mercer is actually accompanied by a trio led by pianist Jimmy Lyon), the reason for the pairing of these two records, as much as I like both of them, totally eludes me. Let's concentrate today on the Giuffre album, which is one of my favorites in his long and usually interesting discography. Giuffre, who was born in Dallas, TX, in 1921, is one of the most experimental and forward-looking musicians ever to grace the West Coast jazz scene, and despite his decision to become an educator, he continued making worthwhile albums into the '90s. Giuffre came up through the ranks of the swing bands, playing with Jimmy Dorsey, Buddy Rich, and Boyd Raeburn (quite the experimentalist himself), and he wrote Woody Herman's famous tune "Four Brothers," which lent its name to a whole saxophone section of the Herman band. In the 1950s, Giuffre, who could play tenor, baritone, and clarinet (as he does on Trav'lin' Light), emerged as one of the foremost proponents of the cool school, his music invariably characterized by its modern, experimental sound.