The Modern Jazz Quartet
Produced by Arif Mardin
All selections were composed by John Lewis
Recorded at Atlantic Recording Studios, New York, N.Y.
Recording Engineer: Lewis Hahn
Re-mix Engineer: Ed Barton at Wally Heider's Studio, Los Angeles, California
Cover Art & Album Design: Stanislow Zagorski
Atlantic Recording Corporation
Members of The Modern Jazz Quartet are:
John Lewis - Piano and Harpsichord
Milt Jackson - Vibraharp
Percy Heath - Bass
Connie Kay - Drums and Percussion
On "Variations On A Christmas Theme" and "Piazzo Navona:
Snookie Young and Joe Newman - Trumpets
Garnett Brown - Trombone
Jim Buffington - French Horn
Don Butterfield - Tuba
From the inside cover:
It (MJQ) began, actually, as the rhythm section of Dizzy Gillespie's 1946 - 48 big band. Indeed, in 1948, its members made a rather obscure record date, under Milt Jackson's name, and with the celebrated Cuban bongo player, Chano Pozo.
As John Lewis has modestly explained, it was the quality of their work on this and subsequent recording dates together (done in 1951 and 1952) that convinced the members of the group that they liked playing together and wanted to continue to.
Of course it was not that easy. The musicians had to bide their time and take other jobs before they could persuade the rest of the world of what they had already discovered for themselves about their potential. Jackson worked with Woody Herman and was back with Gillespie. John Lewis accompanied Ella Fitzgerald and worked with Charlie Parker and Lester Young.
But the recordings together continued, and, with John Lewis appointed musical director of a co-operative group, the style grew. Then, in early 1953, one of the group's LPs caught on with record buyers, and the Modern Jazz Quartet became a going thing in nightclubs and concerts.
There was one change in personnel. In early 1955, the great drummer Kenny Clarke decided to leave the United States and take permanent residence in Paris. Connie Kay, whose work John Lewis had known with Lester Young, was brought in, with little preparation, for a job in Philadelphia. He has been with the group ever since.
Variations On A Christmas Theme