The Bebop Shop : A Swingin' Affair: Blue Notes & Hard Bop Classics : John Lewis, Milt & The Modern Jazz Quartet
As a bonus, the rare LP by The Modern Jazz Society, included here in its entirety. It also presents compositions and arrangements by John Lewis (two songs are performed on both albums), featuring such outstanding soloists as J. J. Johnson, Stan Getz and Tony Scott, among others. (Harmonia Mundi) Price: £11.99
We start proceedings with a stunning meeting of giants as Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt join the MJQ and we hear the masters joined by Lewis as they all take wonderful solos. No Sun In Venice finds the original MJQ including Milt Jackson tackling the Lewis composed film soundtrack. Grand Encounter is just what it says on the cover 2 x East and 3 x West, thats to say, John Lewis and Percy Heath from the East and Bill Perkins, Chico Hamilton and Jim Hall from the West. And as you will discover, what an encounter it was! We can then rejoin the classic Quartet for the first side of an album (shared with Oscar Peterson and others on the B side), where they slow things down to a couple of twelve bar blues numbers and a cover of Round Midnight. We finish off this well filled double CD of classic albums with "The Modern Jazz Society Presents A Concert Of Contemporary Music" where we can enjoy the MJQ in the company of such jazz greats as Stan Getz, JJ Johnson, Gunther Schuller, Lucky Thompson and many more. And listen out for The Queens Fancy written during the coronation of our beloved Queen Elizabeth II and inspired by Queen Elizabeth I no less!
All four albums have been digitally re-mastered for probably the finest sound quality ever! (AVID Entertainment) Price: £8.99
These are the early days of the quartet but it had begun with a standard of excellence, forged by youthful but experienced musicians with a framework that allowed them to exhibit their teamwork and virtuosity.
The group's original drummer Kenny Clarke plays timpani on "The Queen's Fancy" and works out on his traps in "La Ronde Suite" which, when Lewis first wrote it in the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra, was called "Two Bass Hit." (Fantasy, Inc.)
Modern Jazz Quartet (formed 1952), with recordings from 1953-55, comprising Milt Jackson (vibes), John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums). Pieces like "La Ronde," "One Bass Hit," and "Milano" are solo features, but the policy is essentially co-operative, integrating individual voices into a strong ensemble unit. MJQ material often shows symmetry and formal design---best seen in title-piece "Django," a moving, elegaic tribute to guitarist Django Reinhardt and one of the finest compositions in jazz. The first---and best---MJQ here, true to its original conception. "Django" alone should be on everyone's desert island list. Such beauty and coherence, yes. (Andrew Clark, Editor, Riffs & Choruses: A New Jazz Anthology. Continuum Publishers.)
A BEBOP SHOP MILESTONE- An essential recording for your jazz CD shelf Price: £9.99
Sonny was in one of his more whimsical and sardonic moods that night, but as inspired as always. Milt and Connie buckle down to some real great, swinging playing. Percy joins the fun, as in Bags Groove, where he plays, for instance, a typical oom-pah bass line with a funky swing, and Rollins enters with humorously disjointed parodies of Milts theme, while John prods him soberly with beautiful sustained chords. There are many wonderful moments of simultaneous improvisation throughout.
Personnel : Sonny Rollins (ts), John Lewis (p), Milt Jackson (vib), Percy Heath (b), Connie Kay (d). Tracks #1-4 taken from original Stereo 12" LP "Sonny Rollins at Music Inn / Teddy Edwards at Falcon's lair with Joe Castro" (Metrojazz E1011) - produced by Leonard Feather. Tracks #5-10 from the 12" album: "The Modern Jazz Quartet at Music Inn. Guest Artist: Sonny Rollins" (Atlantic 1299) - produced by Nesuhi Ertegun. (Discovery Records) Price: £12.99
Few groups in the history of jazz can claim such consistency and longevity of genuine inspiration. Few boast a back catalogue of the quality of the Modern Jazz Quartet. This two-CD set includes selections from landmark albums like Pyramid, Fontessa and Blues On Bach, some of their very best live performances , from the Music Inn recordings of the 1950s to the Last Concert of 1974, as well as three bonus tracks from the Plastic Dreams sessions. (Warner Jazz) Price: £16.99
180g pressing. Price: £19.99