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Classical Jazz Quartet: The Classical Jazz Quartet Plays Bach

On the Classical Jazz Quartet’s Plays Bach and its first album, Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, Bob Belden provides arrangements of famous classical pieces that serve as musical fodder for pianist Kenny Barron, vibraphonist Stefon Harris, bassist Ron Carter and drummer Lewis Nash.

The preceding may call to mind the Modern Jazz Quartet, which features identical instruments and also concerns itself with making the Western tradition work with a contemporary jazz idiom. But the MJQ made adventurous recordings with classical musicians and fused jazz and classical in original forms; among the inevitable failed experiments, they made some enduring music. The CJQ just plays arrangements of famous classical pieces, and the lack of imagination involved means nothing here endures for long after the album is done playing.

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