For this set, the Modern Jazz Quartet (pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay) were joined by a Germany symphony orchestra conducted by Gunther Schuller. Although these third-stream pieces (Schuller's three-movement "Concertino for Jazz Quartet & Orchestra," Andre Hodeir's "Around the Blues," Werner Heider's "Divertimento" and Lewis' inventive adaptation of "England's Carol") may not have had much potential, they avoid the potential pitfalls of being overly serious and pompous that sometimes plague similar works. "Around the Blues" has its swinging moments; most of the pieces are episodic, with good spots for Jackson and Lewis' soloing. Overall, this is a successful effort worth listening to several times.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow