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41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on 22 August 2003
This is the coolest record I've ever heard: it can sooth you no matter how wound up you get.
The Modern Jazz Quartet, playing keyboards, vibraharp, double-bass and percussion have produced this little album of nine separate tracks. Each track is based on a tune, mostly from the works of Bach (though there are a couple of new ones), which is developed into about single length. They capture completely in spirit what the composer Bach has come to mean to a modern audience - both the serenity and the emotional depth.
I'm sure I've heard these tracks more than once as movie scores (or at least the scores were heavilly influenced by them).
The only annoying detail is the occasional use of sleigh bells, which can be a bit tacky, but never spoils the whole effect..
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Let me start with an admission - I love the music of JS Bach and consider him the greatest and most influential composer of all time. Having seen a grainy film of MJQ on the BBC some years ago I bought this album. The versions do no damage whatsoever to Bach's music and listening to it makes you realise just how forward-looking it is and that he was, in reality, far removed from the dry academic figure foisted on us at school when we were forced to listen reverently (and then were put off it for years). These are great interpretations of the greatest of composers. Listening to Bach's music you realise that this type of treatment was nascent from the beginning. The spirit of Bach hovers over the proceedings and he would, I think, have approved and loved it. Buy it and listen to it again and again and again etc. and then listen to (say) Glenn Gould playing the 'Goldberg Variations' or John Eliot Gardiner's recording of the Brandenburg Concertos or the Church Cantatas and you'll hear what I mean. Fabulous.Blues On Bach
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 24 September 2010
This is fantastic CD. The music bridges the gap from Baroque to Modern but retains all the character and beauty of a by-gone age. Fantastic!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon 23 September 2012
Unbelievably,the MJQ when this album was recorded in 1973,the band had already been in existence in one form or another since the early 1950's. Yet listening today to 'Blues on Bach' this cleverly conceived and jauntily performed classical meets jazz hybrid, there is no sense of water being trod.What easily could have been a botched attempt at marrying two distinctive and disparate styles somehow sounds 'right'- a very pleasurable blend of the swing and grit of jazz and blues overlaying the richness of Bach's compositional sense.

This is thoughtful,gently swinging chamber jazz- perhaps a little too stiff, twee or polite for some, but for people like me, who don't always want to listen to 'hot' soloing or explore the more arcane areas of jazz,this album is a true pleasure.It's only by listening closely and repeatedly do you get to appreciate the subtlety and musical fire power of John Lewis (piano and harpsichord)and crew, who can on tracks like 'Blues in B Flat' and 'Precious Joy' get as close to perfection as any group is ever likely to get in this genre.

Taken as a whole then,this an easy set to recommend- good remastered sound,interesting and detailed sleeve notes from Stuart Nicholson and of course great music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 February 2015
This fine album was recorded in 1973, in the twenty second year of the MJQ, although initially until 1955 the drummer was Kenny Clarke. John Lewis in particular is an expert on baroque music which has heavily influenced the sound of the MJQ since its inception. If one listens to the early 1950s recording e.g. La Ronde, The Queen's Fancy and later albums such as Fontessa and Concorde emphasise this interest. Of course about this time many jazz musicians were making "classically" based albums (e.g. Jazz Sebastian Bach) so to some extent this was following a trend. However because of their musical background, particularly that of Lewis and Jackson, this MJQ album marries jazz with baroque extremely successfully. Some tracks are heavily adapted works by J.S. Bach, whereas others are tunes written by Lewis or Jackson. The title clearly emphasises the theme of blues and to my ear "Blues In A Minor" sounds very much like "St. James Infirmary Blues".
This album is full of good music, sometimes spoilt to my ear by Connie Kay's love of tinkling bell effects (much preferred Kenny Clarke) and if nothing more (and it is) wonderfully relaxing music.
Recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 1 July 2009
This is an excellent record for anyone just hearing the MJQ for the first time. Great recording from a much missed group of musicians
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 21 February 2010
I had forgotten what a marvellous sound these guys make.Saw them in Brighton (The Imperial) in the late50's.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
I fairly enjoyed this record. Milt Jackson is on topform and the selection of music on the disc is beautiful.
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on 7 June 2014
I bought this CD on the reputation of the MJQ. I have a few of their recordings and many years ago I saw them in concert at Manchester. For some reason that I can not explain I expected more from them, especially Milt Jackson and John Lewis. When you consider how other jazz musicians have approached the works of Bach, sadly, for me, MJQ do not match the lyricism of other interpretations. The other irritant is that John Lewis, on some tracks, switches to the harpsichord. Why? To my ears the sound of the harpsichord and the vibraharp do not make a happy marriage. I just expected more from musicians of the highest calibre
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 7 August 2010
Excellent piece of work from MJQ. Superb Jazz classic I have listened to again and again.
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World Class Musicians Reflect On Bach's Masterpieces