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“When pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke became the MJQ, a popular hybrid of jazz and baroque-like classical forms developed.”
“I heard the MJQ live, once, about 30 years ago, and no other Jazz at Lincoln Center event this Spring fills me with as much anticipation.”
“Jackson and Lewis were both highly percussive players, no less than Kay, and at its most intense, the MJQ sometimes seemed like the hardest-swinging percussion ensemble that ever existed.”
“He had opened with his quartet, co-starring vibraharpist Warren Wolf, with an untitled piece that summoned up the interpersonal dynamics, though not the specific tunes, of the MJQ.”
“Thankfully, in the last few seasons, the music of the MJQ has been stealthily swinging back into New York clubs and concert stages.”
“The only thing pedestrian about this show is its title: "A Tribute to the MJQ" brings to mind an Atlantic City-style "tribute" to Kiss or Aerosmith.”
“Mr. Motian uses the same instrumental line-up as the MJQ—with vibraphonist Steve Nelson, pianist Craig Taborn, and bassist Thomas Morgan—and for the most part plays the compositions of John Lewis and Milt Jackson.”
“Last September, a pair of very young but already seasoned players, pianist Aaron Diehl and vibraphonist Warren Wolf, offered an exceptional evening of the MJQ at Dizzy's.”
“The MJQ's charts were always tight, even on the more freely improvised pieces, while Mr. Motian prefers a more ambiguous, flowing beat.”
“Yet from that point on, he goes his own way; this is anything but a re-creation, but rather a tribute in the truest sense, one that the MJQ members themselves would have felt honored to hear.”
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