That sound. One group conceived it. Defined it. Perfected it. The Modern Jazz Quartet was certainly one of the most distinctive voices in the history of jazz, thanks to the unique qualities of personal expression and collective vision of its members Milt Jackson, John Lewis, Percy Heath and Connie Kay (who had replaced original drummer Kenny Clarke by the time the band started recording this music). They were also exceptionally prolific during their tenure at Atlantic Records, producing 14 albums in eight years. And now, that MJQ sound gets the complete respect it deserves, thanks to our new box, The Complete 1956-1964 Modern Jazz Quartet Atlantic Studio Recordings.
In typical Fantasy Records aplomb, this four-CD set collects the eight albums which the Modern Jazz Quartet either mentored or collaborated on during their tenure at the commencement and nadir of their reign as jazz's premier chamber ensemble. Beginning with the 1952 issue of Modern Jazz Quartet/Milt Jackson Quintet recording (the earlier Milt Jackson Quartet sides are not here for obvious reasons, as the band did not commence its fully developed form on them) featuring original drummer Kenny Clarke before Connie Kay replaced him, and ending with This One's For Basie in 1985; the association the MJQ had with Prestige was a monumental one.
Spanning one of the few transitional periods for the Modern Jazz Quartet when Connie Kay replaced Kenny Clarke as the group's drummer, The Artistry of the Modern Jazz Quartet covers the years from 1952-1955. By this point in the group's career, John Lewis was largely overseeing the quartet's repertoire, penning the bulk of the original material. Indeed, on The Artistry Of, the pianist contributes six compositions to Milt Jackson's one (the excellent "Ralph's New Blues"). The set is balanced out by renditions of the most common of jazz standards in "Almost Like Falling in Love," "I'll Remember April," and "In a Sentimental Mood," and the work of more contemporary artists like Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Rollins…
This is a strong recording from the Modern Jazz Quartet, with inventive versions of John Lewis' "Vendome," Ray Brown's "Pyramid," Jim Hall's "Romaine," and Lewis' famous "Django," along with cooking jams on "How High the Moon" and "It Don't Mean a Thing." The MJQ had become a jazz institution by this time, but they never lost their creative edge, and their performances (even on the remakes) are quite stimulating, enthusiastic, and fresh.
This album has an interesting concept, alternating four original blues with five adaptations of melodies from classical works by Bach. The Modern Jazz Quartet had long been quite adept in both areas, and despite a certain lack of variety on this set (alternating back and forth between the two styles somewhat predictably), the music is largely enjoyable. Vibraphonist Milt Jackson, pianist John Lewis (doubling here on harpsichord), bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Connie Kay were still all very much in their musical prime during the 21st year of the MJQ's existence.
More material from the famous Last Concert record from the MJQ – not really the last concert ever from the Modern Jazz Quartet – but a set that seemed so at the time, given that the group went their separate ways for a number of years! The record's got the combo in really top form – very much back to the basics of their early time on Atlantic Records, with a sublime focus on that unique sound that no other group like this could match.
Not really the last concert ever from the Modern Jazz Quartet – but a set that seemed so at the time, given that the group went their separate ways for a number of years! The record's got the combo in really top form – very much back to the basics of their early time on Atlantic Records, with a sublime focus on that unique sound that no other group like this could match.
Features 24 bit remastering and comes with a mini-description. Not really the last concert ever from the Modern Jazz Quartet – but a set that seemed so at the time, given that the group went their separate ways for a number of years! The record's got the combo in really top form – very much back to the basics of their early time on Atlantic Records, with a sublime focus on that unique sound that no other group like this could match.
This fascinating release comprises live recordings made at the end of 1956, when Miles accepted an offer to tour Europe with a formation called the Birdland All Stars, which also included Lester Young and the Modern Jazz Quartet, along with European musicians such as pianist René Urtréger, bassist Pierre Michelot and drummer Christian Garros. We have here the one and only existing evidence of Miles playing with Lester Young and with the MJQ. It also presents a rare occasion to find Miles playing as the sole horn in a quartet format.
A double-length live set from the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet – recorded in Scandinavia in 1960, almost as a summation of the group's growing genius in the 50s! The tunes are a mix of John Lewis and Milt Jackson originals, plus other songs all given the wonderful MJQ twist – distilled into a sublime blend of piano, vibes, bass, and drums – all delivered with a sense of class, but never too much polish. The album is live, but still has that sophisticated composure that made the group so unique at the time – and the whole thing's a perfect complement to their famous studio albums on Atlantic!