Thursday, January 22, 2015

Modern Jazz Quartet & Kammerorchester Arcata

Thanks to my good friend Neil who kindly accepted to digitize some rusty VHS tapes from my collection, there is a good supply of jazz videos for 2015, most of them never released before (except their original airing on German TV) and not even available online.

However, the one I'm about to play here, of a Modern Jazz Quartet concert in Germany, seems to be released on DVD by at least two different companies: TDK's jazz series and Arthaus Musik in Deutschland.

This concert, from (possibly) July, 1992, was held as a part of Jazzgipfel festival in Stuttgart. What makes this particular date different from other MJQ's 40th anniversary concerts is a) the absence of Connie Kay due to the ailment which led to Mickey Roker's involvement in the band. (Although the TV broadcaster of this show erroneously credits the drummer as Kay.) b) a chamber orchestra, Kammerorchester Arcata, backing the quartet with reasonably satisfactory results.

The two pieces in this video footage are Sketch (originally written for the MJQ plus a string quartet) and Alexander's Fugue in which the string orchestra is joined by the wind players.

The TV broadcast of this performance, later titled as 40 Years of MJQ, was directed by Christian Wagner (born 1959) who in the 1980s and 1990s made many live film-concerts for Rockpalast, a series of live Rock performances produced by German TV.

Modern Jazz Quartet & Kammerorchester Arcata
John Lewis (p),  Milt Jackson (vib), Percy Heath (b), Mickey Roker (d), Patrick Strub (conductor).
Jazzgipfel Festival, Stuttgart, 1992

i Sketch
ii Alexander's Fugue

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