Blogging is going on the back burner—or maybe a side burner—for a few days while I wrap up an assignment. I am writing the essay and program notes for a seven-CD Mosaic box of the Modern Jazz Quartet’s Atlantic studio recordings from 1956 to 1964. It involves a lot of listening, a lot of interviewing, a lot of work and an enormous amount of pleasure. This video from an MJQ concert in Holland in 1982 underlines the point about pleasure. The piece includes a splendid John Lewis solo, Connie Kay’s irresistible time keeping and at the end, following Milt Jackson’s dazzling vibes passage, something even rarer than the Percy Heath bass solo—what may be a smile from Jackson. Mr. Lewis announces the tune.
Percy Heath’s work before and after that solo brings to mind this Rifftides archive item about the importance of the bass line to understanding the nature of a jazz performance. The first installment of a six-part series, it contains a bonus video from the MJQ and another solo by Percy. I’m told that the Mosaic box will be out in late spring or early summer.