Sunday, January 01, 2023

Bags Fly Free: Milt Jackson 100


Modern Jazz Quartet - Pyramid

I'm trying to sneak this in, as no one told me until 4am this morning that this guy was going centennial.

So we're gonna kick off 2023 in the centenary style with one of the all-time formative greats.

Thought of as the man who brought the vibes from the Swing era to Be-bop, his unmistakable and highly percussive, aggressive attack and funky sense of groove modernized the instrument.

His first big quartet morphed into one of the biggest groups in Jazz, beginning in 1952 and progressing through a decades-long run.

As they evolved, absorbing the changes in the music as well as occasionally provoking them, they became almost the most elegant and revered band in Jazz, performing in evening dress all over the world to the most rapturous receptions.

They called themselves The Modern Jazz Quartet, and through the whole journey, they were led by Milt Jackson, born this day in 1923.

Aside from a brief split from 1974 to the early 1980s, MJ toured the MJQ globally, with a stint featuring other quartets of his in between, until he passed in 1999.

To celebrate his triple-digit ascendancy, we'll break out a devastatingly representative concert, rebroadcast in its entirety over France Musique, from the very month in which I was born.

This is about as gorgeous as it gets, with the birthday boy in particular in toppermost form and spinning sweet solo after solo on them vibes.

Modern Jazz Quartet
Studio 105
Maison de la Radio
Paris, France

01 Pyramid
02 The Cylinder
03 Really True Blues
04 Ralph’s New Blues
05 Monterey Mist
06 Home
07 Blues Milanese
08 Bags’ Groove
09 Inflection and Conception On a Jazz Rhythm
10 My Man's Gone Now
11 For Someone I Love
12 Alexander’s Fugue
13 Animal Dance
14 Summertime
15 Little David’s Fugue
16 Dido's Lament
17 The Sheriff
18 Django
19 A Night In Tunisia

Total time: 1:37:08
disc break goes after Track 09

Milt Jackson - vibraphone
John Lewis - piano
Percy Heath - bass
Connie Kay - drums & percussion

digital capture of a 2018 France Musique rebroadcast
481 MB FLAC/direct link

I'll be back in a week with some gold for your fingers, with a stellar January to follow.

However, I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't acknowledge the 100th b'day of Milt "Bags" Jackson, now would I? Happy New Year and good vibes to all!--J.

1.1.1923 - 10.9.1999

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