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Comedy Original recording remastered, Import

Price: £11.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
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£11.19 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Only 2 left in stock. Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By RBSProds - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Five Big Stars!! The MJQ is FABULOUS! Seldom has a 'Concept' jazz work been so successful. John Lewis' fascination with the very distinctive individual characters of the 16th century 'Commedia Dell'Arte' is translated into an artful AND hard swinging character sketch of five of them. In addition, there are two lavish jazz landscapes' (tracks 1 and 7). Lewis fashioned some very elegant 'heads' and 'closings' for each song, but the MJQ swings hard in between. If Milt Jackson's vibraharp is involved, you just know that things will soon be 'swinging with funk' no matter what the subject matter. Bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay are bedrock timekeepers of the first water. John Lewis' very personal pianistic distillation of Count Basie is a wonder of economy, cunning, and improvisation. I don't consider "The Comedy" to be a true Third Stream effort, but a preceding MJQ composition "Fontessa" was the interlacing of fugues (1st stream: classical) and swing (2nd stream: jazz), yielding the Third Stream.

Note how this CD begins and ends with a few bars from "Fontessa", linking that CD and composition with this one. The 'Pieces D'Resistance' begin with a wonderful whirlwind "Spanish Steps" that has a very formal and intricate shapeshifting ensemble head that gives way to great individual solos. Lewis gets off a 'killer' piano solo that teleports us from Italy to the middle of a New Orleans funeral march and back again. Diahann Carroll's cameo on the woeful tale of the stand-in, "La Cantatrice" (The Female Singer"), is just flat out splendid, with the song going from formal to very hip and back again on the strength of Ms Carroll's considerable abilities. But for me the very best tracks begin with "Columbine", describing a foxy Italian lady. It shimmers and swings with a remarkable John Lewis piano solo that is simply elegant, bluesy, and earthy.

But "Pulcinella" (basically Punch) wins the prize as the total embodiment of the MJQ: it's a triumph of ensemble playing with long passages of shifting dynamics and tempos, with a blazing Milt Jackson getting off his best solo, the ensemble flying along pell-mell, and Lewis demonstrating how to maximize the effect of a short solo. "Pulcinella" is one of the best MJQ performances EVER. Five big stars for the MJQ's conceptal jazz explorations of the Commedia characters and landscape. Five Stars for John Lewis' conception, compositions, and arrangements. This is a truly wonderful, timeless jazz CD. Highly recommended. Five Big Overall Stars!!

(BTW, the ornate, beautiful original vinyl LP album cover with Harlequin on the front, and Colombine and Pierrot on the back, won a prize as one of the best of the year of issue.)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Short, sweet, swinging, sophisticated... 7 May 2005
By William E. Adams - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The prior reviewer says his copy lasts nearly an hour. Mine clocks in at 35 minutes, so either there are two versions available, or he is incorrect. No matter. This is a fine MJQ collection from their peak years. It is as good as "Pyramid" and "Odds Against Tomorrow" and any other albums from the group which did not feature a guest to go along with piano, vibes, bass and drums. Actually this disc does have a guest: Diahann Carroll sings on one track, and does so interestingly. John Lewis, Milt Jackson, Percy Heath and Connie Kay were together from the early 50's through the '60's and reunited several times later on. I started liking them back when this album was new, perhaps even a couple of years earlier. I recommend the MJQ highly to fans of classic jazz from the end of WWII to the mid-60's. They were "different" from the superstars of that era...quieter, more cerebral perhaps, but they still grooved uptempo a lot of the time. Their work serves well as background music only after you have listened attentively to the original compositions and the superb interplay between the members.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Classic 27 Dec. 2012
By M. M. S. Nico - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Not for every taste, but the 8 Lewis compositions here reflect the most sophisticated in this composer. Those who prefer the "jam session" and swinging side of Milt Jackson may not like, but his interactions with lewis are really a beauty. Lewis's solo on columbine is one of his most delicate ever.
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