A double-length live set from the legendary Modern Jazz Quartet – recorded in Scandinavia in 1960, almost as a summation of the group's growing genius in the 50s! The tunes are a mix of John Lewis and Milt Jackson originals, plus other songs all given the wonderful MJQ twist – distilled into a sublime blend of piano, vibes, bass, and drums – all delivered with a sense of class, but never too much polish. The album is live, but still has that sophisticated composure that made the group so unique at the time – and the whole thing's a perfect complement to their famous studio albums on Atlantic!
Kenny Barron and Jimmy Owens' first recording was a solid debut. The exciting title cut, "You Had Better Listen," composed by Jimmy Owens, is good, basic, uptempo jazz, nothing fancy, no frills. The Jimmy Owens-Kenny Barron Quintet doesn't condescend like some jazz artists tend to do; casuals can groove, relate, nod their heads in approval and feel righteous about it. Owens plays some beautiful trumpet scales, while Barron keeps busy banging chord progressions. The other members of the quintet are Benny Maupin (tenor sax, flute), Chris White (bass), Freddie Waits (drums on tracks one, two and four), and Rudy Collins (drums on tracks three through five).
Alto veteran Gary Bartz may not have made it as big as originally predicted, but as shown on this 1994 studio date, he developed a sound of his own and was always capable of coming out with exciting yet thoughtful music. Joined by such associates as trumpeter Eddie Henderson, John Clark on French horn, pianist Mulgrew Miller, bassist Dave Holland, drummer Greg Bandy and percussionist Steve Kroon, Bartz is in excellent form on a variety of standards (including "By Myself" and "But Not for Me") and originals.