John Lewis

Evolution

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John Lewis, a founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet (and architect, with Gunther Schuller, of the "Third Stream" movement that attempted a fusion of classical music and jazz), has always been known for the delicacy and refinement of his playing and for the quality of his compositions. This solo album will only add to his reputation in both regards. That he's able to make "Sweet Georgia Brown" sound like a recital piece is testament to his sophistication (and perhaps his sense of humor); that his own "Two Degrees East, Three Degrees West" manages to evoke New Orleans and Ravel simultaneously speaks to the depth of his musicianship. "Django," perhaps Lewis' most famous composition, is given a stop-action tango treatment here, and his "At the Horse Show" is as graceful as a colt. However, Lewis' voice is far too well-miked, which means he mutters and grunts in the left channel throughout the proceedings. Recommended nevertheless.

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