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The Modern Jazz Quartet: In A Crowd

This is a tiny confection-just the size of a set at the Monterey Jazz Festival, where it was recorded in 1963-but it’s as fluffy and delicious as anything the MJQ has ever served up. Particularly treasured are the title tune, a warm stroll composed by leader, pianist, and sometime Monterey musical director John Lewis, and his redolent “Winter Tale,” with its Eastern European melody and phrasing and its evocation, reinforced by vibraharpist Milt Jackson, of that region’s cimbalom (hammer dulcimer). These two pieces of the hard-to-find soundtrack for “A Milanese Story” are joined by tastefully turned standards and an especially energetic “Bag’s Groove.”

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