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The Classical Jazz Quartet Play Rachmaninov

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 16, 2006
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The Classical Jazz Quartet's first two recordings - Play Tchaikovsky and Play Bach - were released to great critical acclaim. Arranged by Bob Belden and produced for the Vertical Jazz label they were unavailable soon after release. These much sought-after recordings have now been re-issued fully re-mastered from the original tapes by Kind of Blue.

This new volume, Play Rachmaninov, is here released for the first time and features the Piano Concerto #2 in C Minor. Bob Belden, who has worked with the likes of Herbie Hancock and Sting as well as being a successful Blue Note artist in his own right (and also producer of the acclaimed Miles Davis re-issues on Sony), is again the arranger.

The Classical Jazz Quartet is truly a jazz supergroup, regularly performing together in the US. Their music is at the same time both original and timeless and most definitely jazz!

Kenny Barrron is now recognized as one of the most important pianists of his generation. A musician of true creative talent, he is perfect in this setting. Ron Carter's accomplishments certainly need no introduction - he is the master of the double bass. After his legendary years with Miles Davis he has gone on to perform and record with the finest players in the world. Stefon Harris is a young and distinguished vibraphone player who has taken on the mantle of Bobby Hutcherson and Lionel Hampton. His Blue Note recordings have been met with both critical and commercial success. Lewis Nash is now recognized not just as a stellar sideman much requested for recording sessions but as a leader in his own right.

''...they overcome the MJQ comparisons by pushing the nuanced aggression that makes each member so singular... the CJQ has succeeded in making this a solid and enjoyable CD...'' - Downbeat

''...similar to the late, lamented Modern Jazz Quartet (or MJQ). The instrumentation is the same, and the CJQ is almost as stellar. Their music is elegant and polished in the MJQ manner. If you didn't know it was classical, you'd think it was just admirably cool and melodic jazz.'' - Daily Telegraph (UK)

''Album of the week...this CD is a wonder. Inspiration by the late-lamented Modern Jazz Quartet, this band, which comprises Kenny Barron, Ron Carter, Stefon Harris and Lewis Nash, has the chops to take on classical music and the swinging ability to make it sound like newly minted top-quality modern jazz. The good news is that there's more to come.'' - The Independent (UK)

''...the idiom is cool and timeless... such elegance that you can't help being charmed.'' - John L. Walters, The Guardian (UK)

''...the quartet joyfully bends Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor into an unequivocally jazzy shape... as the nine tracks unfold intriguingly over lilting sambas, intense modal passages, and a heart-felt blues.'' - Mike Hobart, Financial Times (UK)

''Evincing exquisite ensemble interplay and adroit arrangements by producer Bob Belden, all three albums are worth checking out.'' - Record Collector (UK)

Review

One of a series of sessions featuring Bob Belden's arrangements for the Classical Jazz Quartet, this volume focuses exclusively on one piece, Sergei Rachmaninov's Piano Concerto No. 2 in C Minor. As a result, this is by far the most ambitious project tackled by the quartet, though Kenny Barron, Stefon Harris, Ron Carter and Lewis Nash are more than up to the task. Belden subdivides each movement into several parts. For example, the first movement is initially played in a fairly straight-ahead manner, followed by a brisk post-bop segment, a slow blues, a quiet ballad, and finally, a mid-tempo bop setting. The musicians never allow themselves to get stuck in a rut, thanks to their ability to flesh out Belden's conception. In any case, the crossover effect of this recording is more likely to get jazz fans not already familiar with Rachmaninov's original work to investigate it versus classical fans seeking out this extensive revision of his landmark piece. --Ken Dryden, All Music Guide
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Product Details

  • Performer: The Classical Jazz Quartet, Ron Carter, Kenny Barron, Stefon Harris, Lewis Nash
  • Audio CD (May 16, 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Kind of Blue
  • ASIN: B000ERU6G2
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #259,790 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Mark D. White on June 26, 2006
Format: Audio CD
I loved the CJQ's Bach and Nutcracker CDs, so I very anxiously anticipated this one, and I was not disappointed. If anything, this CD is even more spirited than th previous two - Stefon and Kenny in particular sound like they're having a blast. VERY highly recommended!
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The Classical Jazz Quartet brings together four remarkable musicians--Kenny Barron on piano, Stefon Harris on vibes, Ron Carter on bass, and Lewis Nash on drums--who together produce a sound as lyrical and sophisticated as the Modern Jazz Quartet at its peak, but with a lot more punch. Rachmaninov's melodies provide fertile ground for improvisation, but above all, this album swings like a mother. Earlier albums by this group target Bach and Tchaikowski--and swing just as hard. Highly recommended!
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Arrived as promised, but I'm not sure if it has a skip on the CD or not. Will give it a more thorough cleaning with some CD cleaner and then decide.
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My items arrived on time, and they were the correct order. I have no complaints.
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