A magnificent MJQ album in remastered vinyl sonics.
The Modern Jazz Quartet – Lonely Woman [TrackList follows] – Atlantic PPAN SD1381 (1962)/Pure Pleasure Records (2016) – (4/16) *****:
Lovingly remastered by Ray Staff at Air Mastering, Lyndhurst Hall, London, this is one of the best of the many MJQ albums out there. John Lewis (who in the liner notes by Raymond Mouly in France is called the second greatest American composer after Ellington) decided to honor one of the last great innovators in jazz – Ornette Coleman – by having the first track and the title of this album reflect one of his great compositions. Lewis saw Coleman as the first jazz genius since Parker, Gillespie and Monk.
While not following Coleman’s own harmolodic theory, Lewis emphasizes the often overlooked strength of his compositional ideas. The MJQ adds a chamber music-like feeling to its interpretations of Lewis originals “Fugato” and “Trieste.” Mouly talks about being tempted to call the “Fugato” and some other tracks “third-stream-and-a-half” for the remarkable quartet arrangements of what were originally works for full orchestra. “Lamb, Leopard” is from Lewis’ original ballet Original Sin and is a total delight.
Milt Jackson’s vibes are distinctly on the left channel and John Lewis’ amazingly minimal piano on the right. This is a gorgeous remastering of one of the very best albums by my personal favorite jazz group, the MJQ.
Side One: Lonely Woman, Animal Dance, New York 19, Belkis
Side Two: Why Are You Blue?, Fugato, Lamb Leopard, Trieste