This album affords good insight into the evolution of the MJQ with its new versions of Django and Vendome . The present interpretations are taken at faster tempos than the original recordings, and while some of the subtle interplay among the instruments is lost, they swing more. In fact the LP swings as much if not more than any of the quartet s previous efforts; but it s a delicate swing, not of the sweaty, down-home sort. Besides swinging, the MJQ offers intelligence also, something that the back-to-the-land advocates sometimes omit. A fine and worthy addition to your file of albums. --Don DeMicheal
2 LPs on 1 CD! The Modern Jazz Quartet s classic original album Pyramid (Atlantic LP1325) in its entirety. Along with the title tune a beautiful composition by Ray Brown it presents the definitive version of John Lewis gem Django . As a bonus, we have added the complete LP Patterns (United Artists UAL4063), which features the exact same personnel. The latter LP was recorded by the MJQ in between the sessions for Pyramid, and consists of six John Lewis compositions. The original 1954 version of Django has also been added as a bonus.
About the Artist
John Lewis was the director of the The Lenox School of Jazz from its inception in 1957, to its end in 1960. During Lewis 1959 teaching period in Lenox, the Modern Jazz Quartet began to record the session that would produce their album Pyramid. According to discographies, sessions were held in Lenox on August 22, 25, 26, 28 and 29, 1959. From the five sessions, only the songs Django and Romaine were ever issued (both on Pyramid). Versions of Harlequin , Slowly , Pyramid and It Don t Mean a Thing were recorded then subsequently discarded and never issued. The album would be completed during sessions held in New York on December 21, 1959, and January 15, 1960. (A version of Exposure was also taped during the second session. It featured the MJQ joined by various other musicians conducted by Gunther Schuller this track became part of the album Third Stream Music.) Before these two sessions, the MJQ had completed the album Patterns, which was the result of two sessions scheduled over two consecutive days on October 9 & 10, 1959. Patterns consisted of John Lewis arrangements (for the quartet) of the music from his own soundtrack to the film Odds Against Tomorrow.