All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...


Modern Jazz Quartet with Laurindo Almeida: Collaboration

AAJ Staff By

Sign in to view read count
In the CD jacket notes, Label M founder Joel Dorn informally, as is his wont, tells the buyers of Collaboration that it is one of his two favorite Modern Jazz Quartet recordings. The other is European Concert.

Now, both albums have been re-released, and Dorn's perseverance and dedication to the highest level of jazz have paid off—more for the listening public than for himself.

For on Collaboration, we do get to hear a superlative recording on which Brazilian guitarist Laurindo Almeida teams with The Modern Jazz Quartet in a rare opportunity. It highlights their cultural sophistication as well as their interests in absorbing musical influences and adapting them to their own unique sound.

Almeida's technically astounding and yet understated style is especially appropriate for the MJQ, which investigates a broad range of music without ostentation or even excessive volume. Instead, these master musicians go about their business by delving into the richness of the jazz/classical, and in this case Latin, influences they have studied and enjoyed.

The idea for combining the MJQ with Almeida started at the 1963 Monterey Jazz Festival, when they were booked to perform jointly. At the time, both the individual and the group were highly popular due to Almeida's involvement with the bossa nova craze as well as the acceptance of the MJQ in concert halls throughout the world. Audiences were puzzled about how to react to these well-dressed musicians who bestowed class and respect upon the jazz music they played. And yet, the audiences were appreciative and plentiful.

Even though John Lewis' "Silver" starts the album, including his changes of meter and mixing of blues with can't-put-your-finger-on-it classical suggestions, emphasis is placed upon Latin references, particularly during the suspensions of meter when Almeida colors the tune. "Trieste" goes even further with the same temperament when the tango feel enlivens it, even as the same meditative pauses occur.

Almeida sets the ominous mood for Lewis' "Valeria," but ironically he doesn't assume center stage until the last three tracks, which feature the works of Brazilian and Spanish composers. Almeida's introduction to Jobim's "One Note Samba" attains a liveliness and yet delicacy that announce to the listener that he possessed total control of his instrument. Even as the MJQ joins in, Almeida's Brazilian guitar backup remains a strong presence that flavors the music. "Foi A Saudade" presents Almeida with the melodic lead in a percolation of engaging lines that combine not so much in counterpoint as in a fabric that creates a layer of sound. And "Concierto De Aranjuez," with its deliberate Hispanic flair, deepens the texture with a minor-keyed unhurried stroll accented by Percy Heath's emotive arco bass work and Milt Jackson's shimmer.

Combining the best of the Modern Jazz Quartet with the virtuosity of Laurindo Almeida, Collaboration fortunately allows us to appreciate their recorded work which might have gone undocumented if they hadn't wrapped up their 1964 tour in the Atlantic recording studio.

Track Listing: Silver, Trieste, Valeria, Fugue In A Minor, One Note Samba, Foi A Saudad, Concierto de Aranguez

Personnel: Laurindo Almeida, guitar; John Lewis, piano; Milt Jackson, vibes; Percy Heath, bass; Connie Kay, drums

Title: Collaboration | Year Released: 2001 | Record Label: Label M


comments powered by Disqus

Related Articles

Read This City CD/LP/Track Review
This City
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: March 24, 2018
Read More Songs About Error And Shame CD/LP/Track Review
More Songs About Error And Shame
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 24, 2018
Read West Coast Trio CD/LP/Track Review
West Coast Trio
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Sun Embassy CD/LP/Track Review
Sun Embassy
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 24, 2018
Read The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel – Beethoven Revisited Symphonies 1-9 CD/LP/Track Review
The Pocket Philharmonic Orchestra, Peter Stangel –...
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: March 24, 2018
Read Lala Belu CD/LP/Track Review
Lala Belu
by Chris May
Published: March 23, 2018
Read "Moldy Figs" CD/LP/Track Review Moldy Figs
by Paul Rauch
Published: July 10, 2017
Read "It's Always 9.30 In Zog" CD/LP/Track Review It's Always 9.30 In Zog
by Roger Farbey
Published: August 11, 2017
Read "Gateway" CD/LP/Track Review Gateway
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 25, 2017
Read "Compass" CD/LP/Track Review Compass
by Edward Blanco
Published: May 28, 2017
Read "Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London" CD/LP/Track Review Music For David Mossman / Live At Vortex London
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 7, 2018
Read "Variety of Rhythm" CD/LP/Track Review Variety of Rhythm
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 10, 2018