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The Modern Jazz Quartet was a unique and impressive beast that emerged from the 1950s cool jazz era. With the pianist John Lewis at the helm (he contributed most of their compositions), Vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay went on to be one of the most enduring and successful small ensembles in jazz history, their recording career lasting well into the 1990s (with a short break in the 70s over financial issues and touring schedule disputes).
One of the reasons for their success was their beautiful and beguiling balance of sounds, mixing jazz “coolness” with the poise of classical music, the feeling of blues, the free chaos of bebop and the pure thrill of live improvisation. Here, in 1962 at the Jazz Pour Tous (jazz for all) series in Brussels, they offer compositions by Milt and Lewis alongside jazz show tunes like “How High The Moon.” The concert’s first part finishes with one of the group’s most celebrated pieces, “Django.”