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Long awaited Lewis.
on 10 May 2009
Yet another absolute gem from the Avid Jazz label containing one set that has been missing from the catalogues far too long.
CD 1 kicks off with the 5 tracks from "The Modern Jazz Sextet" a 1956 session featuring Dizzy Gillespie and Sonny Stitt with John Lewis, Percy Heath Skeeter Best (gtr) and Charlie Persip (dms). This is music of the highest quality with everyone at the top of their game. Rounding off the frist CD is the complete "No Sun In Venice" sessions from the Modern Jazz Quartet. I had not heard this in its entirety before and thoroughly enjoyed the cleverly composed and arranged score.
CD 2 starts with all 6 tracks from the album "Grand Encounter 2 Degrees East- 3 Degrees West" featuring Lewis, Bill Perkins, Percy Heath, Jim Hall and Chico Hamilton. This is a superb example of jazz with "none of the tempos above a fast walk". This must be the finest session ever put on record by Perkins but, once again, everyone is on top form. Next up are three tracks from the MJQ being half of the album "The MJQ and the Oscar Peterson Trio at the Opera House". This is a short set but more of an out and out jazz one than usual. Recording quality not so good as the other tracks but still worthwhile.
Last, but no no means least, we have, at long last, the re-issue of "The Modern Jazz Society" sub-titled "A concert of contemporary music". The session was supervised by Lewis who does not play. All five pieces were composed by Lewis and the soloists include Stan Getz, J.J. Johnson, Lucky Thompson, Tony Scott and Aaron Sachs. This was labelled third stream when it first appeared but is rightly considered a classic that has been un-available for far too long. The solo by Getz on "The Queen's Fancy" is worth the price alone. Apart from the Opera House tracks the recording quality is first class.
Now for a little moan. The "Society" tracks have become mis-labelled on the sleeve notes and should read as follows:-
11 = Little David's Fugue
12 = Django
13 = The Queen's Fancy (as listed)
14 = Midsommer
15 = Sun Dance (as listed)
Tony Scott is listed as Anthony Sciacca on these tracks. The sleeve note says changed his name to Tony Scott after this session but I think this is wrong. He reverted to his real name to avoid contractual problems. I have records by him as Scott pre-dating this session.
Needless to say, this issue is thoroughly recommended.