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Musician

Connie Kay

Born:

Connie Kay will forever be remembered as the legendary drummer/percussionist for the Modern Jazz Quartet. Self-taught on the drums, Kay played in the mid-'40s with Sir Charles Thompson, Miles Davis, and Cat Anderson. He was in Lester Young's quintet off and on during 1949-55, a time in which he also worked with Beryl Booker, Stan Getz, Coleman Hawkins, Charlie Parker and others. In February 1955, he joined the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ), traveling the world with the band up until it called it "quits" in 1974. During that era he also was a guest on small-group sets with Chet Baker, Cannonball Adderley, Jimmy Heath and Paul Desmond with Jim Hall

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Article: First Time I Saw

Connie Kay Plays the Drums Impeccably

Read "Connie Kay Plays the Drums Impeccably" reviewed by Rob Mariani


This article first appeared at All About Jazz on December 27, 2006. The impeccable Mr. Connie Kay plays perfectly. If you say that sentence out loud in a chamber where there is just the slightest echo, and emphasize the “p" sounds and the hard “c" sounds just a little, you get a feeling of ...

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Article: Film Review

The Modern Jazz Quartet: From Residency To Legacy

Read "The Modern Jazz Quartet: From Residency To Legacy" reviewed by Kyle Simpler


There are plenty of fictional stories about utopian societies where life is good and everybody gets along. Of course, the word utopia literally means “no place," suggesting that an actual utopia is nothing more than an illusion, but that hasn't stopped people from trying. Although there are many utopian societies that didn't work, there are a ...

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Article: Jazz & Juice

Ease: Chardonnay meets The Modern Jazz Quartet

Read "Ease: Chardonnay meets The Modern Jazz Quartet" reviewed by Kristen Lee Sergeant


I'm thrilled to have you back for the second month of “Jazz & Juice“--thanks to all of you who made April's adventure all the more fun with your comments on the article, video, and podcast. I'm excited to share this month's music and wine with you without further ado! EaseI've found that the biggest ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Chet Baker: An Alternative Top Ten Albums To Get Lost In

Read "Chet Baker: An Alternative Top Ten Albums To Get Lost In" reviewed by Chris May


Chet Baker was born to a farmer's daughter and a hard-drinking, weed-smoking singer and guitarist in a Western Swing band in Yale, Oklahoma in 1929. Like many Okies, the family fared badly during the Great Depression but did a little better after moving to Glendale, California in 1939. Largely self-taught as a trumpeter, Baker honed his ...

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Article: Under the Radar

The Rebel Festival

Read "The Rebel Festival" reviewed by Karl Ackermann


On the morning of July 4, 1960, there were more than a few signs of the mayhem that had taken place the night before in Newport, Rhode Island. Newport's Millionaires Row woke up to broken store windows, overturned vehicles, and storm drains clogged with garbage and beer bottles. One-hundred-eighty-two people, mostly young, New England college students ...

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Article: Building a Jazz Library

Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums

Read "Atlantic Records: More Giant Steps: An Alternative Top 20 Albums" reviewed by Chris May


Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun's Atlantic Records differs in one key respect from Prestige, Riverside, Impulse!, Strata-East and Flying Dutchman, the most prominent labels covered so far in this Building A Jazz Library series. Those labels' discographies consist almost exclusively of jazz. Atlantic had parallel interests in soul and rhythm-and-blues and, later, rock. This had consequences, as ...

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Article: Highly Opinionated

Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker

Read "Craft Recording's "Chet" is a Rare Win for Baker" reviewed by Patrick Burnette


"There's a little white cat out here who's going to eat you up." —Charlie Parker (to Miles Davis) Chet Baker and Miles Davis. Two trumpet players born three years apart. Both unusually handsome and slight of build. Both lacking, as trumpeters, the qualities most often associated with those brass alphas of the jazz ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

The Modern Jazz Quartet and the Third Stream (1956 - 1961)

Read "The Modern Jazz Quartet and the Third Stream (1956 - 1961)" reviewed by Russell Perry


As the Modern Jazz Quartet, members of which were once Dizzy Gillespie's rhythm section in the 1940s, moved into the 1960s, they continued to swing in their own quiet way, even as their music director, pianist John Lewis, explored the third stream, a synthesis of jazz and classical music. Having been founded in 1952, the MJQ ...

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Article: Interview

Monty Alexander: Still Rolling

Read "Monty Alexander: Still Rolling" reviewed by Geno Thackara


If there's one defining quality to Monty Alexander's music, it's joy. An unmistakable undercurrent of happiness has been constant across several decades, dozens of recordings and countless performances all over the world. He could be honoring classic jazz balladeers, exploring the danceable “riddims" of his native Jamaica or anything in between, and you can always hear ...


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