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John Lewis Presents Jazz Abstractions

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Album Review

Although John Lewis is listed as the leader (this album's alternate title is "John Lewis Presents Contemporary Music"), the pianist does not actually appear on this record and only contributed one piece ("Django"). On what is very much a Gunther Schuller project, Schuller composed "Abstraction" and was responsible for the adventurous three-part "Variants on a Theme of John Lewis (Django)" and the four-part "Variants on a Theme of Thelonious Monk (Criss-Cross)"; Jim Hall contributed "Piece for Guitar & Strings." One of the most successful third stream efforts, this LP combines avant-garde jazz with aspects of classical music. Among the more notable stars, altoist Ornette Coleman is on "Abstraction" and "Criss Cross" (both of which have been reissued in his Rhino CD box) and multi-instrumentalist Eric Dolphy is on both of the "Variants." Other musicians in the eclectic cast include guitarist Hall, bassist Scott LaFaro, pianist Bill Evans, and several classical string players. This is very interesting music.

Biography

Genre: Jazz

Years Active:

The musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet for its entire history, John Lewis found the perfect outlet for his interest in bop, blues, and Bach. Possessor of a "cool" piano style that (like Count Basie's) makes every note count, Lewis with the MJQ has long helped make jazz look respectable to the classical music community without watering down his performances. After serving in the military, Lewis was in the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1946-1948). He recorded with Charlie Parker during 1947-1948...
Full Bio
John Lewis Presents Jazz Abstractions, John Lewis
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  • $8.91
  • Genres: Jazz, Music
  • Released: 1961

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