- Audio CD (1 Feb. 2010)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Format: CD
- Label: American Jazz Classics
- ASIN: B002PLAL60
- Other Editions: Audio CD | Vinyl | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 250,695 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
European Windows CD
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First Time On CD! European Windows was John Lewis first recording experiment with a full orchestra. The wide range of instruments allowed him a vast tonal palette with which to develop the multiple possibilities presented by his compositions. Recorded in Germany, the exact personnel for the orchestra are unknown. Lewis first recording of Midsömmer took place in 1955, with a group called The Modern Jazz Society (that complete album is added on this CD as a bonus). Lewis also used to play Midsömmer with the Modern Jazz Quartet in a small group arrangement. The Modern Jazz Society album also contained a version of The Queen s Fancy (which, therefore, is also repeated on our CD) that Lewis had first recorded with the MJQ in 1953 for the album Django. Cortége and Three Windows were part of the soundtrack composed by Lewis for Roger Vadim s 1957 film Sait-on Jamais (One Never Knows) and were initially included on the MJQ s soundtrack album: The Modern Jazz Quartet plays One Never Knows. Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West was the title tune from a 1956 John Lewis album, and England s Carol had already been played (and unofficially recorded) by the MJQ in a small group arrangement at the Newport Jazz Festival on July 5, 1956.
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and jazz elements, from the late composer/pianist John Lewis, founder and leader of the legendary, long-lived jazz
ensemble "The Modern Jazz Quartet". I first came across "European Windows" back in the 70's when I was in college,
and spent many hours in blissful relaxation listening to this timeless, haunting work of art - I still have a mint vinyl
copy of it. Recorded in Stuttgart, Germany in February 1958 by members of the Stuttgart Symphony Orchestra, along
with two other members of "The Modern Jazz Quartet", bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay, two European
soloists, flautist Gerry Weinkopf and baritone saxophonist Ronnie Ross, and Lewis, himself, who composed and con-
ducted all six pieces on the recording, Lewis also orchestrated five of the selections; the only piece NOT orchestrated
by him, "Midsommer", was done by Gunther Schuller (President of the New England Conservatory of Music and leading
"Third Stream" authority). "Midsommer", itself, was John's composition describing a Swedish summer festival, and was
first recorded by him in 1955 with the jazz ensemble, "The Modern Jazz Society". The next piece, "The Queen's Fancy",
was composed by Lewis during the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and is related to the ceremonial music written for
Elizabeth I of England earlier by Farnaby, Morley, and others. "Cortege" and "Three Windows" are from John's score for
the 1957 Roger Vadim film, "One Never Knows". "Cortege" is funeral music, and is structured on the second theme in
"Three Windows", which was composed as a triple fugue and describes the personalities of the film's three lead male
roles. "Two Degrees East-Three Degrees West" was written in reference to a combination of two East Coast and three
West Coast musicians who formed the group that originally recorded it at a California session, and is the ONLY piece
on "European Windows" that features a piano solo by Lewis. It, also, is the ONLY piece on the recording that has the
blues form, and not having Europe as its subject. Famed jazz photographer Bill Claxton suggested the title to Lewis.
"England's Carol" is based on variations on "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen"; it had already been recorded by the MJQ
at the Newport Jazz Festival in July, 1956. This first-time cd issue of "European Windows" also includes the complete
1955 recording "The Modern Jazz Society Presents A Concert Of Contemporary Music", with all five pieces composed by
Mr. Lewis and, again, featuring arrangements by both Lewis and Gunther Schuller. "Modern Jazz Society", long out-of-
print, is more jazz-based than "European Windows" and features several of the top players at that time, including J.J.
Johnson, Lucky Thompson, Stan Getz, Tony Scott, and the same two MJQ members who'd appear later on "European
Windows", Percy Heath and Connie Kay. Gunther Schuller performs, as well, on French horn. As previously mentioned,
"Midsommer" appears on record for the first time here, and "The Queen's Fancy" is covered as well, along with three
other Lewis originals. Along with his incredible talent and depth on these two marvelous recordings and his work with
the MJQ, John Lewis worked with jazz legend Charlie Parker and was the pianist in Miles Davis' landmark nine-piece
"Birth of the Cool" band. A brilliant work of art and genius, "European Windows" was John's first recording with a full
orchestra. Gunther Schuller commented, "His great melodic gift is very much in evidence. John has that rare ability to
create a melody which is thoroughly conventional, immediately hummable, sounds as if one had heard it somewhere
before, and yet is in fact absolutely original. Above all, his music has that unassailable quality of rightness for which
there is no substitute." Bravo to all involved for re-issuing these two long-lost, fabulous albums which sound better
than ever now on cd. Sophisticated, timeless music of the highest order. Thanks, John.
P.S. If you can find it, check out the 1996 Columbia cd "The Birth Of The Third Stream",
which combines the 1956 album "Music For Brass" and "Modern Jazz Concert" from 1957.
These two classic recordings defined the "Third Stream" movement, featuring work by
both John Lewis and Gunther Schuller. Lewis' piece "Three Little Feelings" from "Music
For Brass" (conducted by Schuller) features Miles Davis' recording debut on fluegelhorn.
Highly recommended for anyone interested in the evolution of modern jazz and that players that created such beauty.
Seller is highly recommende. CD arrived quickly and in condition as described. BUY IT!!!!!!
For anyone who likes jazz and/or MJQ, I highly recommend buying it.
Shelly Wartell McAlack