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Django

4.5 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 1, 1991
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Kenny Clarke were fresh from serving as the rhythm section in the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra when they went into the studio in 1953 to record--only their second session together. "Autumn in New York," which would go on to become one of the group's staple performances in concert, summarized their cameo-like pictorial strengths. The December 23, 1954 session produced two of the group's enduring masterpieces--"Django," Lewis's tribute to the then-recently deceased French gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt, and "One Bass Hit," with its delightfully understated exchange between Lewis and Jackson. The "La Ronda Suite" fills out a great collection. --John Swenson
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1, 1991)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Ojc
  • ASIN: B000000Y3K
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #338,160 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joost Daalder on December 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is, with "Fontessa", the most celebrated of the original MJQ recordings, and rightly so. When it first appeared it was, like that great record, a huge hit on the jazz scene and beyond, and the fact that it appealed to one's parents is in no sense a reason for thinking it anything less than inspiring. "Django", in particular, is just one of those inexhaustible delights in jazz that always sound satisfying, with Percy Heath on bass driving his instrument in amazing melodious fashion, while John Lewis and Milt Jackson both produce totally convincing and beautiful solos - and boy, did they swing, even though those who like their music only loud don't hear that. To say that these men produced "vignettes" is only half true; certainly they were highly disciplined and eschewed "big" effects, but their very subtlety enhanced - did not reduce - the vitality and intensity of their powerful music. Always a joy to listen to, and therefore unhesitatingly recommended. - Joost Daalder
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Format: Audio CD
First of all, I prefer the MJQ with Connie Kay. This is really ancient MJQ, Chamber Jazz at the beginning. Not only very innovative for the time, but innovative for any time. There is still no group around today that plays like these guys. The arrangements are very tight, the playing is tight. When I used to go to see the MJQ play in the 60's, they looked tight. Very reserved, very focused, they took their music very seriously. And with the utmost of taste, including the tuxedos. This album is the utmost of taste. Django is very deliberate and stiff as compared to others recordings by them, but this is the first one, so I've got to have it. One Bass Hit, Delaunay's Dilemma, Autumn in New York, all MJQ staples, debut here. Great work by Percy Heath throughout. If you are into the history of jazz, and you want a complete collection, you have to have this work.
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Format: Audio CD
Ignore the idiot that gave the fine album a low rating! Without a doubt this is one of the finest albums by one of the finest jazz groups! It is not "Cool Jazz" -- that's the sort of music that gives jazz a bad name and causes fools to forget about the REAL intellectuals of jazz -- and no one could do meditative jazz like MJQ. Like all great jazz, this album is as meaningful as any music can be.

[5 years later] It's still quite good. But, Milt Jackson unleashed without the MJQ is far better, and bouncier. I didn't realize I was such an MJQ fan five years ago!
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Format: Audio CD
I agree with the reviewer below me, the sound of this remastered CD is excellent and perfect for this kind of choral jazz music. I have to say that it took me a while to really get into these guys but now I am completely hooked! To me, there has never been a group that sounds quite like these cats. I have never heard the great Percy Heath sound as good as he does on this recording. It was an absolutely, incredible performance! I'm blown away everytime I hear this album and decide to turn up the bass a bit. Man, it's a trip to see how fast and tight he is. However, the whole group led by legendary Milt Jackson really is as close to perfection as your going to get in this recording. I would have purchased this CD just to hear the song "Django"! Also, their version of "Autumn in New York" gives me such a warm, serene, feeling inside my body every time I listen to it. Yes, everytime.

Overall, this is just one of those recordings that as a jazz fan you have to own. It's a classic on anyone's list and RVG does another fantastic job as the "messenger" releasing it to sound as perfect and clear as if you were in the studio listening to it live. These guys were some kind of foursome and although I am huge fan of the horns, I still put these four at the top of my list of all-time favorite quartets. I highly recommend that if you are new to jazz and do not own this album then please purchase it immediately. You won't be disappointed!
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Format: Audio CD
John Lewis tosses off one of my favorite piano solos in all of music on his tune "The Queen's Fancy." And here is an excellent example of why the Percy Heath/Kenny Clarke rhythm section is one of the best ever. Milt Jackson shines like a star throughout, especially on "Autumn in New York." This is early MJQ. And they never sounded better.
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Format: Audio CD
I'm a fan of the MJQ, although I prefer the later recordings. This disc has some good performances - I enjoyed La Ronde Suite and But Not For Me the most. Unfortunately, the recordings of the time did not match the performance - at least not on this CD.

Four of these performances were recorded at the Rudy Van Gelderen Studios in Hackensack, New Jersey, and four in New York. What's not publicized is that the "studio" was his living room - see Alyn Shipton's "New History Of Jazz" if you doubt me! And I think that this particular recording came before Van Gelderen had the technique quite down - compare the sound quality of cuts 1-3 and 8 to "Somethin' Else" (Adderley/Davis) recorded a few years later at the same location.

I wouldn't say that this is only for MJQ collectors; but be aware that, for me at least, it sounds a little flat, and the sound one critic likened to Steuben glass is only a hint on this CD. I'd say 3-1/2 stars, give it four if you love the MJQ.
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