It’s been a decent weekend of riding, drinking beer, consuming a metric shit ton of empty calories (on our last weekend of dietary debauchery), and did some yard work.
Who’s the man?
Anyway, no I’m sitting my ass down with a bowl of Frosted Flakes and this ‘Space‘ album by the Modern Jazz Quartet.
It’s been a while since I’ve tested the girls with any real, new Jazz Boner so, yeah, I’m going ahead and doing that this afternoon.
If they don’t dig it … total toughies.
The Modern Jazz Quartet took a hiatus from Atlantic Records to record two LP’s for The Beatles‘ Apple label (no shit!). Despite the switch, The MJQ’s music remained unchanged; it was too classic to alter.
This now out of print album was released in 1969, the year we landed on the moon, and is a suitably celestial musical journey that still inspires now. An LP often so feather-light as to just caress the ears and that is what the curious ‘Visitor from Venus’ does with soft mallets on metal and a wandering keyboard. The amazing ‘Visitor from Mars’ is more forceful with a very bluesy vibraharp and piano motif this time, before warping into psychedelic territory!
Amid the piano clusters, Milt Jackson soon conjures spacey drones and echoed studio effects from the vibraharp, almost ambient/dub sounds, with Connie Kay’s subtle percussion and Percy Heath’s bended double bass notes enhancing the suspended animation….and then back to that opening jazz-noir riff again (Connie and Percy also helped shape Van Morrison‘s ‘Astral Weeks‘, recorded a year earlier). After that is a classic MJQ cool-jazz piece ‘Here’s That Rainy Day’ and the great John Lewis suggests the sound of cascading water droplets with some nimble piano runs.
Next, ‘Dilemma’ is a mellow improvisation before the Third Stream jazz standard that is the Quartets’ version of the ‘Adagio From Concierto de Aranjuez’. The band give the composition an elegiac, understated treatment. Listen up for some sublime percussion complimenting the haunting theme – Miles Davis‘ version is recalled – including some virtuoso triangle playing! After 33 minutes the elegant album finishes, with MJQ following their own unique muse to the last note.
All this being said, what it is is the perfect, nice and mellow way to begin winding down the weekend before we head out shortly for some chicken wings and whatnot because, hey, that’s just how we roll.