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Artistry of Modern Jazz Quartet
Modern Jazz Quartet
Artistry of Modern Jazz Quartet
Genres: Jazz, Pop
 
  •  Track Listings (15) - Disc #1

Vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist John Lewis, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Kenny Clarke were all veterans of Dizzy Gillespie's big band when they decided to dedicate themselves to the cooperative venture of the Modern...  more »

      
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CD Details

All Artists: Modern Jazz Quartet
Title: Artistry of Modern Jazz Quartet
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Fantasy
Release Date: 11/20/1991
Genres: Jazz, Pop
Styles: Cool Jazz, Bebop
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 025218301626, 0090204021260

Synopsis

Amazon.com essential recording
Vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist John Lewis, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Kenny Clarke were all veterans of Dizzy Gillespie's big band when they decided to dedicate themselves to the cooperative venture of the Modern Jazz Quartet. This compilation brings together material from 1952 to 1955, culled from recordings originally done for the Prestige label, and it shows both the gestation of the group and its early accomplishments. While the group could still swing with the unbridled ferocity of bop, the quieter instrumentation and Lewis's tunes were changing the music considerably. They were in the process of creating a new school of jazz, "cool," and they were already creating a repertoire that would permanently augment the jazz songbook. Heard here are the original recordings of Lewis's "Django," a tribute to the gypsy guitarist that's one of the most beautiful tunes in the canon, and Milt Jackson's "Ralph's New Blues." Sigmund Romberg's "Softly As in a Morning Sunrise" is here, too, in a rendition that would forever associate the tune with the group and make it a jazz standard in the process. By the final session, Connie Kay had replaced Clarke, giving the group the lighter touch that would help define its ultimate identity. Also included are four tracks from a session with Sonny Rollins, including a moving version of Ellington's "In a Sentimental Mood." --Stuart Broomer
 

CD Reviews

Early MJQ, cheerful, lovely, swinging and other good things!
William E. Adams | Midland, Texas USA | 01/07/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This compilation, 15 selections from four albums on the Prestige label, features music recorded between Christmas of 1952 and mid-summer, '55. Later that year, the group switched to Atlantic Records, and gradually began to issue music which was more challenging, cerebral, and complex, yet less fun. The stuff on this disc, however, is a fantastic introduction to the MJQ, and clearly shows why the quartet became so famous once Atlantic's bigger budgets for distribution and promotion began to work for them. These songs are well-chosen for variety and accessibility. There are four "standards", with the highlight being an eight-minute version of "Softly, As in a Morning Sunrise" which features Milt Jackson's vibes in an amazing performance. Four of the selections feature guest artist Sonny Rollins on sax, including two that he composed himself. Bassist Percy Heath gets the spotlight on "One Bass Hit" which is credited to Dizzy Gillespie. Jackson shines again on his own composition, "Ralph's New Blues." Pianist John Lewis, generally credited with being the intellectual and musical leader of the quartet, composed six of the selections, including the famous and beautiful "Django" which MJQ would redo again and again. On this CD, you get the first recorded version, and it is great. Hard to believe that the 64 minutes of near-perfect jazz heard here is half-a-century old. The recording quality is quite good. I became a fan of MJQ about 1962, and had a couple of their Atlantic vinyls but had never heard the Prestige sides which came before until this week. I'm sorry to have missed them. If you like the group, this item is a bargain."
THE BEST music for wine and conversation
William E. Adams | 10/02/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"What a fabulous CD for mellow and flowing melodies. Artistry and skill is marvelous. Highly recommended for any jazz lover."