Milt Jackson

The First Q

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The First Q Review

by Scott Yanow

The early evolution of The Modern Jazz Quartet is traced on this perfectly done LP (far superior to the more recent Savoy CD reissue series). Three four-song sessions that were originally released under vibraphonist Milt Jackson's name are included and these only predate The MJQ by less than a year. Pianist John Lewis is on all of the titles, bassist Ray Brown and drummer Al Jones appear on four apiece and original members bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke are on the other eight. Despite the similarity in personnel, these boppish jams are very much Jackson's dates rather than a co-op although some of the songs (particularly "Bluesology" and "Softly as in a Morning Sunrise") would soon enter The MJQ's repertoire.