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Friday, June 24, 2011

Music: The Modern Jazz Quartet, Lonely Woman


The Modern Jazz Quartet is among my favorite Jazz combos. I pretty much like all their recordings, so it was hard to pick one to be presented here. I chose the album called Lonely Woman:

The album was released in 1962 under the Atlantic label. The Quartet consisted of: John Lewis (piano), Percy Heath (bass), Connie Kay (drums) and Milt Jackson playing the vibraphone. As on most MJQ albums, the vibraphone is quite dominant. Milt Jacksons play is absolutely brilliant.

The vibraphone is a fascinating instrument with lots of subtle nuances. On a good system you will get lost in the tiny vibrations in tone and loudness it exhibits depending on how it is played. The album opens with the piece after which it is named. An interpretation of Ornette Colemans Lonely Woman. The way they play this piece immediately draws you into the atmosphere which is also well captured on the cover photo. You can just imagine this woman who maybe lost a love. As she is wandering through the streets of New York on a cold autumn day.

If you are not familiar with the Modern Jazz Quartet yet, this album is a good start to get to know them. Other great albums from them are Blues at Carnegie Hall, Concorde, The Last Concert and many others.

Almost all these albums are technically quite well recorded. Not the usual 'audiophile' recordings but they capture the atmosphere quite well and have nice resolution. Good enough to make you forget about technical qualities and get lost in the music. I like to use MJQ records to evaluate phono stages. Only the best phono preamps can reproduce all those variations in tone and color of the vibraphone.

I hope you enjoyed this fourth presentation of my favorite music. You might have the impression that I only listen to 50 year old records. This is not the case. Next time I will introduce a favorite record which is of a completely different music style and more recent release date.

Best regards


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