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The Modern Jazz Quartet

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In A Sentimental Mood Sonny Rollins, The Modern Jazz Quartet 03:17
Softly, as in a Morning Sunrise The Modern Jazz Quartet 07:59
Pyramid The Modern Jazz Quartet 10:52
Blues in a Minor The Modern Jazz Quartet 07:54
Blues in C Minor The Modern Jazz Quartet 08:00
Don't Stop This Train The Modern Jazz Quartet 01:48
Blues in B Flat The Modern Jazz Quartet 04:58
Bags' Groove The Modern Jazz Quartet 05:40
Blues in H (B) The Modern Jazz Quartet 05:47
Precious Joy The Modern Jazz Quartet 03:15

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Influenced by classical music as well as the cool jazz movement, The Modern Jazz Quartet was a major jazz institution for 40 years with a distinctive style built around the brilliant vibraphone playing of Milt Jackson and the piano virtuosity of John Lewis, exploring the outer limits of jazz.

The seeds of the group were sewn in 1946 when Jackson, Lewis, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Kenny Clarke were recruited into the rhythm section of the Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra, gradually evolving into the Milt Jackson Quartet, with Percy Heath taking Brown's place on the double bass. Connie Kay succeeded Clarke on drums in 1955 as the quartet became a permanent entity, with Jackson and Lewis dictating musical direction. They started integrating jazz improvisations with blues and classical influences as well as swing, reaching out to an audience that stretched far beyond the normal confines of jazz, making a permanent mark with striking original compositions such as 'Bags Groove' and 'Django' in tribute to Django Reinhardt, during an extensive recording career with the Prestige label in their early years before moving on to Atlantic, Verve, United Artists and later Apple.

They toured intensely all over the world for many years, working occasionally with guest artists like Sonny Rollins, Jimmy Giuffre, The Beaux Arts String Quartet, Laurinda Almeido and the Swingle Sisters. The heavy schedule eventually took its toll, however and - frustrated by musical boundaries which restricted the opportunity for improvisation - Milt Jackson announced his departure in 1974 and the group began to wind down. They did sporadically reunite in the 1980s, releasing their last albums 'A Night at the Opera' and 'MJQ & Friends: A 40th Anniversary Celebration' in 1992 and 1993, but the death of Kay in 1994 put paid to any more shows, with Jackson passing away in 1999, Lewis in 2001 and Heath in 2005.