The Modern Jazz Quartet
Long before jazz became a mainstay of classical concert halls, the interchange between classical music and jazz was the norm. Though composers like Gershwin and Ravel were famously inspired by the sights and sounds of smoky jazz clubs, jazz musicians like Dave Brubeck and Gunther Schuller looked back to the conventions of classical music for inspiration. Some musicians, however, were schooled in both traditions and drew upon the time-perfected structures of classical music and the fluid improvisations of jazz in equal measure.
Such was the case for John Lewis, pianist and founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Guided by Lewis’s dual sensibility, the quartet developed a unique sound that blurred the lines between classical and jazz, wrapped up in a suave, tuxedoed presentation that was equally suited to Carnegie Hall or the Village Vanguard.
Pianist Aaron Diehl has taken up the pianistic lineage of musicians like Lewis. Trained as a classical musician but instilled from an early age with the instincts for groove and melody that distinguish him as one of the most celebrated players of his generation, Diehl and his trio team up with another stylistically ambidextrous master – vibraphonist Warren Wolf – to revive the MJQ sound with updated takes on their singular repertoire.
Supported in part by the Reva and David Logan Foundation.