"Play Tchaikovsky" is based on the composers ballet The Nutcracker Suite and a hard swinging version of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” appropriately entitled “Groove of the Sugar Plum Fairy” is amongst the highlights.
One of a series of sessions featuring Bob Belden's arrangements for the Classical Jazz Quartet, this volume focuses exclusively on one piece, Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto №2 in C Minor. As a result, this is by far the most ambitious project tackled by the quartet, though Kenny Barron, Stefon Harris, Ron Carter and Lewis Nash are more than up to the task.
Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite has previously been arranged in a jazz setting by Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn, but Bob Belden's charts for the superb Classical Jazz Quartet (Kenny Barron, Stefon Harris, Ron Carter, and Lewis Nash) are also worth investigating.The musicianship is at a high level throughout the session; Carter's fluid basslines and Nash's subtle percussion are essential to the date.
The names of Johann Sebastian Bach, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and Sergei Rachmaninoff do not necessarily conjure images and sounds of jazz in one's mind, that is until one has listened to recordings by the Classical Jazz Quartet. Although these musicians utilize the same instruments as the Modern Jazz Quartet, they are in no way clones or copycats of that groundbreaking group. They have very much their own sound and style. This is not surprising given the huge talent of the musicians involved; all four are virtuosos on their respective instruments. The themes, although composed in a different time and place, become excellent vehicles for complex, sometimes, bluesy, often swinging and always fresh improvisations in the hands of these musicians. And although one might think of any recording billed as "classical meets jazz" as background music, this music definitely is not. The double CD consists of the group's three previously released recordings, plus one bonus track featuring their interpretation of Handel's Hallelujah.
The Classical Jazz Quartet are a superstar group with great critical and commercial success. This disc features music mostly taken from their Bach and Tchaikovsky albums. It also features the unreleased "Hallelujah" from Handel's "Messiah" and is practically a CJQ greates.
Cannonball Adderley - One of the great alto saxophonists, Cannonball Adderley had an exuberant and happy sound that communicated immediately to listeners. His intelligent presentation of his music (often explaining what he and his musicians were going to play) helped make him one of the most popular of all jazzmen.
Adderley already had an established career as a high school band director in Florida when, during a 1955 visit to New York, he was persuaded to sit in with Oscar Pettiford's group at the Cafe Bohemia. His playing created such a sensation that he was soon signed to Savoy and persuaded to play jazz full-time in New York.
On tour for their 40th Anniversary, the four jazz giants stopped in Stuttgart for the “Jazz Gipfel” 1992, where they were joined by the Arcata chamber orchestra, directed by Patrick Strub. As Pianist John Lewis’ compositions had long been influenced by his affinity for the so-called “Third Stream” between jazz and classical music, this seemed an apt celebration. The MJQ existed from 1952 to 1974, and again from 1981 to 1995. Over the years it took such deep root in the consciousness of jazz fans that, quite irrationally, one could believe in the immortality of its members. The past few years have proved us wrong: all four members of the quartet have died, the last was Percy Heath in 2005.