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Modern Jazz Quartet

The Modern Jazz Quartet was a major jazz institution, a band that, counting a seven-year “vacation,” lasted 43 years. During a time when jazz musicians were stereotyped as unreliable, rarely sober and erratic, the MJQ played at concert halls while wearing tuxedos. They are not known to have ever been late, missed a gig, or disappointed an audience.

The Modern Jazz Quartet’s evolution began in the Dizzy Gillespie big band of 1946. Due to the complexity of the charts and the strain that it caused in the trumpet section, Gillespie featured his rhythm section on an occasional number. Vibraphonist Milt Jackson (1923-1999), pianist John Lewis (1920-2001), bassist Ray Brown (1926-2002) and drummer Kenny Clarke (1914-1985) made for a very self-sufficient group and they discovered that they had a great deal of musical chemistry. That was not too surprising considering that Jackson was the new pacesetter among vibraphonists, Lewis offered a sparse and bluesy but boppish alternative to Bud Powell, Brown was a major new bass soloist, and Clarke had revolutionized the drums.

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Albums

Modern Jazz Quartet: The Complete Atlantic Studio Recordings 1956-64
Modern Jazz Quartet:...
Mosaic Records
2011
buy
1963 Monterey Jazz Festival
1963 Monterey Jazz...
Douglas Records
2010
buy
Bluesology: The Atlantic Years 1956-1988
Bluesology: The...
Warner Jazz
2009
buy
The Complete Modern Jazz Quartet Prestige & Pablo Recordings
The Complete Modern...
Fantasy Jazz
2003
buy

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