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The Modern Jazz Quartet: 35th Anniversary Tour

5.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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(Nov 15, 2005)
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Editorial Reviews

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Product Details

  • Actors: John Lewis, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath
  • Format: AC-3, Color, Dolby, DTS Surround Sound, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    NR
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Alliance
  • DVD Release Date: November 15, 2005
  • Run Time: 57 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BK53MO
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #315,637 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 6, 2006
There is some sadness in watching this wonderful concert DVD of the MJQ recorded in 1987 at a jazz festival in Freiburg, Germany, because they are all gone now. Percy Heath, the elegant bassist, was the last to die, just last year (2005), John Lewis only four years before that. This group grew out of the rhythm section of the 1940s and 50s Dizzy Gillespie band. Their official founding was in 1952 but they had been playing together unofficially for some time before that. The combination of Milt Jackson's bebop vibraphone and John Lewis's classically restrained piano, backed by Heath on bass (was there ever a bassist who was so consistently in tune?) and Connie Kay on drums, was an unforgettable sound. I came to this group from a completely classical background, attracted by its gentle persuasion, and it has been one of my favorite groups for almost fifty years now. John Lewis managed to put classical forms and techniques to use in his numbers, such as 'A Day in Dubrovnik' included in this concert, and that was my 'hook' into this group's distinctive style.

For those of you familiar with the group's repertoire it might be helpful to know what pieces they play here. They are Ellington's 'Rockin' in Rhythm', Jackson's 'Echoes', Lewis's 'Kansas City Breaks' (I particularly like this one because I lived in KC for forty years), 'Django', 'Summertime', 'Bags' Groove' (Milt Jackson's nickname was 'Bags'), and 'A Day in Dubrovnik'. To quote what someone once said about Milt Jackson, but applied by me to the whole group: 'If [they] ever did once play a non-swinging note, it must have been in private.
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I first encountered the MJQ in about 1960, saw them perform several times in the SF Bay Area -- John Lewis was a wonderful composer and a very subtle pianist, and Milt Jackson simply couldn't play a note that didn't swing. In one sense this video is boring because they just stood there and played -- no flamboyance whatsoever -- but man could they play!
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This is a truly great disc. Wonderful jazz by the legends!
The M.J.Q. really gel at this concert. One number alone,
"Echoes" is worth the cost of this disc. The rest of the tunes are an added bonus!
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I rented this DVD a couple of weeks ago and was so taken by it that I just had to buy it at Amazon.
I think I will never grow tired of watching and hearing this beautifully done video of this concert performed in Germany in 1987.
This DVD includes some of the best works of the MJQ, and to see these four classy, talented and dedicated players, captured forever in time, even though each of them has gone on to join that big band in the sky, produces a blend of both happiness and sadness every time I watch it. Happy to see and hear them again, and so sad that they are no longer with us.
From the bluesy, swinging "Django" that was one of John Lewis's early pieces that I have loved forever, to his later day composition "A Day In Dubrovnik", a moving dramatc composition with classical overtones. Listen to the last two movements especially of this piece, they are to beautiful to describe.
I feel almost compelled to invite guest in to my den at home to share this video, so they can absorb the wonder of this fantastic performance and music and gain a greater appreciation of this great music enjoyed by so few of us.
Long Live The Music of John Lewis, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath and Connie Kay, the members of the MJQ. The likes of them will never come along together in one group again, but thank God, we still have their beautiful music.
We really miss them.
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Many of the musician in the dvd are long gone but, the music is a wonderful testament to their musicianship. If you want to have a real modern experience then this dvd is a must have.
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