The Jazztet / John Lewis

The Jazztet and John Lewis

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The idea of the Jazztet playing arrangements by John Lewis written especially for them is intriguing. According to Gene Lees' liner notes, Art Farmer first approached Lewis about writing something for the sextet, to which the composer replied that he'd rather score an entire record. Even though the Jazztet and Lewis' own group, the Modern Jazz Quartet, are dissimilar in many ways, the marriage is a successful one. Still a fairly new band at the time, the Jazztet had already undergone a total change in personnel, except for the two co-founders, Art Farmer and Benny Golson. Trombonist Tom McIntosh, pianist Cedar Walton, bassist Thomas Williams, and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath round out the group. While the overall feeling is a little more conservative than typical recordings by the Jazztet, the free-flowing interpretation of "Django" (with a spirited solo by Golson) and the bluesy "2 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West" (showcasing Farmer's brilliant solo) are more than ample proof of the value of this Argo LP. Long out of print, it was finally reissued on CD in Japan.

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