Academic journal article Notes

Modern Jazz Quartet

Academic journal article Notes

Modern Jazz Quartet

Article excerpt

The Complete Modern Jazz Quartet Prestige & Pablo Recordings. Prestige/Pablo 4PRCD-4438-2, 2003.

The Modern Jazz Quartet is not single-handedly responsible for turning jazz from a popular dance music into an elite concert music. By the time the quartet formed in 1952, that evolution had been well under way for ten years; the hyperactive tempos and jagged melodies of bebop had helped turn jazz from music played in dancehalls for the masses into a boutique music that was performed in small clubs for audiences of elite, critical, seated listeners. Jazz had been presented as large-scale concert music before, as well, most famously by impresario Norman Granz in his Jazz at the Philharmonic concert series. But the Modern Jazz Quartet brought a unique aura of buttoned-down decorum to the music, finding crossover success both with audiences who would never have ventured inside a smoky basement club and with established jazz lovers. The MJQ also pioneered the now-common gambit of taking classical standards and adapting them in swinging jazz arrangements--the works of Bach were particular favorites for this treatment. …

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