The Modern Jazz Quartet was a jazz combo established in 1952 that played a style of jazz influenced by classical music, cool jazz, blues and bebop. The band performed over a forty year span with only one personnel change.Under John Lewis's leadership they carved their own niche by specializing in elegant, restrained music (touching on bebop, cool jazz, third stream and classical music) that used sophisticated counterpoint yet nonetheless retained a strong blues feel. John Lewis firmly believed that J.S. Bach and the blues were compatible, combining classical form with jazz improvisation and polyphony. The band was also noted for their ability to play alongside a variety of other groups. For the majority of their career the group comprised John Lewis (piano and musical director), Milt Jackson (vibraphone), Percy Heath (double bass) and Connie Kay (drums). Initially active into the 1970s, until Jackson quit due to creative disagreement and frustration with their busy touring schedule, the MJQ reformed intermittently into the 1990s.
The Modern Jazz Quartet
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