183

Pretige Jazz Quartet: Prestige Jazz Quartet

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
With post-bop and free now serving as the primary currencies of innovation the term ‘modernist’ has somewhat dated connotations in today’s jazz speak. Back in the 1950s however the radical advancements of Be-Bop had largely gained acceptability amongst all but the most resolute moldy fig members of the jazz intelligentsia. Modernist players and composers were searching for new directions and fresh soil to plant their roots in. Musicians like Teddy Charles, Mal Waldron, Jimmy Giuffre and John Lewis looked toward Classical and folk forms for inspiration. The Prestige Jazz Quartet was a direct outgrowth of these explorations. Solely a studio aggregation they were initially something of a replacement for the recently absconded Modern Jazz Quartet. While similar in instrumentation their music was decidedly different, delving to more recent innovations in classical and conservatory forms instead of lionizing earlier ones. Debuting as the back-up band for saxophonist (and later producer) Teo Macero, they cut this captivating session several months later.

The album is largely dominated by the opening multi-sectional piece, three parts interlocking into a suite-like whole. Each part can stand-alone or together as evidenced by other versions of the first two: “Route 4” and “Lyriste” recorded by other groups on other albums. Another fascinating reading of “Route 4” is available on Coltrane’s Dakar with an unusual two baritone, tenor frontline. “Lyriste” is also afforded an unorthodox run through on the recently reissued Curtis Fuller & Hampton Hawes With French Horns date. Moving from the fast paced first section, through a meditative middle to a fast tempoed close a wealth of melodic and harmonic ideas are unveiled. Waldron’s geometric “Meta-Waltz” advances the modernist sentiments, whereas his “Dear Elaine,” a dreamy ballad dedicated to his wife, redirects the group onto less probing terrain. Closing out with the appropriately threadbare “Friday the 13th” the four men are allowed generous room to improvise. Charles malleted planks sound particularly luminous and invest the group with a warm glow.

The Prestige Jazz Quartet was relatively short-lived as a regular recording entity, soon morphing into the more dynamic sounding Teddy Charles New Directions Quartet. But even with their truncated longevity this date and the earlier debut with Macero are both well worth considering. Perhaps not ‘modernist’ by today’s terminology, they more than likely bent a few ears when they were waxed.


Track Listing: Take Three Parts Jazz/ Meta-Waltz/ Dear Elaine/ Friday the 13th .

Personnel: Teddy Charles- vibes; Mal Waldron- piano; Addison Farmer- bass; Jerry Segal- drums. Recorded: June 22, 1957, Hackensack, NJ.

| Record Label: Prestige Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read Acceptance CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Tyran Grillo
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Wild CD/LP/Track Review The Wild
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 26, 2017
Read This Is Nate Najar CD/LP/Track Review This Is Nate Najar
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Joy Comes Back CD/LP/Track Review Joy Comes Back
by James Nadal
Published: February 26, 2017
Read Apocalypse CD/LP/Track Review Apocalypse
by Julian Derry
Published: February 26, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read "Nessuno" CD/LP/Track Review Nessuno
by Karl Ackermann
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Freedom is a State of Mind" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom is a State of Mind
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 27, 2016
Read "Travels" CD/LP/Track Review Travels
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 27, 2016
Read "Border Crossing" CD/LP/Track Review Border Crossing
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: April 28, 2016
Read "Mu" CD/LP/Track Review Mu
by Glenn Astarita
Published: December 30, 2016
Read "Acceptance" CD/LP/Track Review Acceptance
by Jim Olin
Published: June 30, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: Jazz Near You | GET IT  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!