The Modern Jazz Quartet

Under the Jasmin Tree

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A more unlikely match of artists and label you will rarely find -- the dignified, classically influenced, indelibly Afro-American Modern Jazz Quartet and the Beatles' Apple Corps, Ltd. But Apple in its Rocking '60s heyday was one of the most daringly eclectic labels on the scene, and as the sole jazz act on the roster, the MJQ was given complete artistic freedom, with no electric guitars or period psychedelia apart from the misleading cover art. The program is more or less standard, poised, painstakingly structured, gently swinging MJQ fare, with the group's contrapuntal interplay as telepathic as ever. The most distinctive of John Lewis' compositions is the revolving minor-key theme of "Three Little Feelings, Pt. 1" (part of a three-movement suite), while "The Blue Necklace" has a bell going off like that of a cash register, and Milt Jackson is clearly in his element on the gospel-ish "The Jasmin Tree." An extremely rare LP -- the Beatles' rock audience ignored it, and MJQ's fans couldn't find it.

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