The Modern Jazz Quartet The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings of The Modern Jazz Quartet 1956-64 Mosaic Records 2011 They were diverse in talent and temperament. John Lewis, the quiet and determined westerner, who told sound stories with his linear and logical blues-based pianisms; Milt “Bags" Jackson, the baggy eyed, Motor City vibraharp virtuoso; Percy Heath, the Philly bassist with deep, in-the-pocket basslines; Kenny Clarke, the bomb-dropping blacksmith of the beat from Pittsburgh; and Connie Kay, the New York groovemaster of West Indian descent who could throw down with bebop or Ruth Brown. Somehow those ...read more
The Modern Jazz Quartet The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings of The Modern Jazz Quartet 1956-64 Mosaic Records 2011 Even now, nearly sixty years later, it seems improbable that a group which came together as the rhythm section for one of the hottest players in bebop's genesis era, trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie, could morph into a standalone group that was the epitome of grace, elegance and cool dignity. But that's exactly what happened when Gillespie recruited pianist John Lewis (1920-2001), vibraphonist Milt Jackson (1923-1999), bassist Ray Brown (1926-2002) and drummer Kenny Clarke (1914-1985), giving the quartet ...read more
From the very first sounds heard on Blink of An Eye's Shadow Splice," a ground is gradually established with bass piano chords, a minor-key string bass arco line, a floating vibe resonance and steady pulse rising from the cymbals. As the Ellingtonian Blues In C" evokes, the source of improvisational music is the tradition of jazz. No argument. But over time, the tools feeding into that tradition change and become a go-to part of the instrumental inventory, more so now than in the nascent application of electronics by Miles Davis or Ornette Coleman. British musician, Robin Rimbaud, ...read more
If the early works of Robin Rimbaud (aka Scanner) can be described as voyeuristic, then Blink Of An Eye might just be Frotteurism, the act of touching others, usually in crowds, without their ever knowing. On Blink of an Eye he alters, accents and manipulates a jazz quartet's sound, often without it being obvious.Scanner began producing music in the late 1980s/early 1990s by pirating cellphone calls and working them into his electronic sound, an approach that fits nicely with pianist Matthew Shipp's nubop" concept. Rimbaud and Shipp built this recording around the tradition and lineup of the famed ...read more
For nearly half a century, the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) endured as one of the most well-renowned ensembles in jazz. The original MJQ came together in 1946 as the rhythm section in Dizzy Gillespie's orchestra: Milt Jackson on vibes and John Lewis on piano, as well as bassist Ray Brown and drummer Kenny Clarke. Brown and Clarke were replaced early on by Percy Heath and Connie Kay, respectively, but Lewis and Jackson would remain mainstays of the MJQ all the way up to its final recordings in the early '90s. This release features that updated lineup in performance from the ...read more
Asked to name the most insurrectionary artists associated with the Atlantic label, most jazz fans would probably think first of saxophonists John Coltrane and Ornette Coleman. Pianist John Lewis' Modern Jazz Quartet would come much further down the list. Yet in its own, more velvet manner, the MJQ was as radical as Coltrane and Coleman. When the group came to prominence in the mid-1950s, its elegant chamber music, a blend of the blues and European baroque, subverted many of the conventions of the hard bop era and caused a storm of controversy.
Appearing on stage in immaculately tailored ...read more
New York City empties out like a condemned playground on a Sunday afternoon in July. People cooped up in air-dried apartments and offices all week escape in search of sunshine and trees. The good things that still happen in the City on weekends happen mostly inside of little hidden enclaves, isolated places well below street level. Places like the Village Vanguard, a wedge-shaped East Village cellar smaller than a one-car garage, where not so much as a splinter of daylight has ever penetrated its night-colored walls.There is light in The Vanguard, but it's an artificial, blood-stained colored light ...read more