Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Modern Jazz Quartet - Bluesology: The Atlantic Years 1956-1988 (Warner Archives, 2009)

The Modern Jazz Quartet had a lengthy run of successful albums and concerts and their most well known work was done for the Atlantic Records label during the 1950's and 1960's. At this time, the core members of the group had solidified: Milt Jackson on vibraphone, John Lewis on piano, Percy Heath on bass and Connie Kay on drums, and became a very popular recording and touring unit that mixed the Holy Trinity of Jazz: bebop, blues and ballads with some third stream experiments and film music scoring. This two disc compilation takes a look at the band and captures the highlights, one disc of studio recordings and one disc of live music. Their most famous songs are well represented, Jackson's deeply soulful classic composition "Bag's Groove." There are some interesting collaborations on this disc, the Quartet with clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre and Sonny Rollins among others, and the band leading a full orchestra. Overall this makes for a fine introduction for a much loved group, cutting through their vast discography and cherry-picking highlights from their lengthy career. Bluesology: Anthology/Atlantic Years 1956-1988 -

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