Recent listening, current

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

84. Modern Jazz Quartet / Concorde (1955)

I vividly remember the day I bought this LP. It was among the first jazz records I ever purchased, and I found it sitting at a yard sale in the next neighborhood. I must have been about 15 years old. In a box filled mostly with movie soundtracks, I found Concorde along with MJQ's Fontessa and Black Sabbath's Live at Last. I bought all three for fifty cents apiece, and went home happy. I didn't know much about jazz back then, but after studying the back cover intently, I made the right choice. This album is classic MJQ and also features the debut of Connie Kay. The Gershwin medley is the centerpiece, paired with an innovative take of "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise" on the second side. But there are surprises everywhere, as with the quiet beauty of "All of You" or lively conversation between Jackson and Lewis on "I'll Remember April." Milt Jackson is a hero pretty much everywhere (can you tell I like him?), at once bluesy and virtuosic. There's strong musicality in each of the tracks blowing sections, and it's hard to tell that Kay hasn't been playing with the other three members all along.

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