Friday, September 30, 2016

The Modern Jazz Quartet & Orchestra

September 30, 2016. Today's @NashLibrary vinyl is by The Modern Jazz Quartet & Orchestra (Atlantic Records, 1961). I love that the front of this album emphatically declares that it's in STEREO.

The original members of The Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) first performed together as part of Dizzy Gillespie's big band in 1946. The group went through various membership iterations, but the longest-standing membership included John Lewis on piano, Milt Jackson on vibraphone, Connie Kay on drums, and Percy Heath on bass. 

The works on this recording are the result of third-stream composition, that is, a composition that synthesizes the essential techniques and characteristics of contemporary Western art music and other musical traditions. In this case, "classical" music is fused with jazz. The first person to coin the term "third-stream" was the composer, conductor, and writer Gunther Schuller during a lecture at Brandeis University in 1957. One of Schuller's works, the "Concertino for Jazz Quartet & Orchestra," is performed on the B side of the album. Schuller also conducted several of the works on the album.

One of the oddest arrangements is "England's Carol" by John Lewis. It is a combination of jazz and classical orchestra for an arrangement of the tune that most of us know as "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen."

As a flute player, the third-stream example that instantly comes to mind is Claude Bolling's "Suite for Jazz Piano Trio". Guess what? Nash Library has vinyl of that piece too!

Gunther Schuller"Third stream." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University PressWeb30 Sep. 2016.<

Thomas Owens"Modern Jazz Quartet." Grove Music OnlineOxford Music OnlineOxford University PressWeb30 Sep. 2016.<

Gunther Schuller. The Modern Jazz Quartet and Orchestra. New York: Atlantic, 1961. Sound recording.

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Since earning her Ph.D. in music theory and history from the University of Connecticut in 2014, Dr. Sekula has been a full-time faculty member with the department of music at USAO where she teaches the music theory curriculum and conducts the concert band. Sekula also serves as the coordinator for the department of music. She has previously earned Bachelor’s degrees in music education and flute performance from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s of Music in flute performance from George Mason University. Sekula has studied flute with Barbara Divine, Dr. Theresa Bowers, Judith Lapple, and Dr. Barbara Hopkins.