- Released: March 14, 2006
- Originally Released: 2004
- Label: Collectables Records
- Original Album: Atlantic 1440 (1964)
Description by OLDIES.com:
When Gershwin wrote Porgy And Bess, he not only gave the world memorable songs - but also what the editors of Encyclopedia Britannica have acclaimed as "the greatest American musical drama ever written." Is is appropriate, therefore, that the Modern Jazz Quartet (John Lewis on piano, Milt Jackson on vibraharp, Percy Heath on bass, Connie Kay on drums) should choose this work and this composer for their first examination in an entire album of one composer's music, as this album contains no originals by either Lewis or Jackson.
- 2.Bess, You Is My Woman
- 3.My Man's Gone Now
- 4.I Loves You, Porgy
- 5.It Ain't Necessarily So
- 6.Oh Besss, Oh Where's My Bess?
- 7.There's A Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon For New York
The Modern Jazz Quartet: John Lewis (piano); Percy Heath (double bass); Connie Kay, Milt Jackson.
Personnel: John Richard Lewis (piano); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Connie Kay (drums).
Liner Note Author: John Tynan.
Recording information: 07/23/1964-07/26/1964.
The Modern Jazz Quartet was renowned for their fierce intelligence, technical prowess, serious demeanor, and fine original compositions. While the latter clearly is not part of PLAYS GEORGE GERSHWIN'S PORGY AND BESS, the other characteristics are firmly in place. The MJQ bring the full range of their brilliance to interpreting Gershwin's masterpiece, filtering the score through the lens of post-bop with progressive, tasteful, and adventurous flair. This is musical theater performed as chamber jazz.
Special mention goes to "Summertime" and "It Ain't Necessarily So," both of which have the Quartet elaborating on the sultry themes with precise attention to phrasing and mood. (Pianist John Lewis shines in the former, and vibraphonist Milt Jackson dominates the latter.) Bassist Percy Heath and drummer Connie Kay keep things simmering on up-tempo swingers "Bess, You Is My Woman" and "There's a Boat Dat's Leavin' Soon for New York," while they manage changing meters and taut syncopations elsewhere. The combination of stately sophistication and advanced playing that typifies most MJQ outings is here, fueling (and fueled by) Gershwin's timeless melodies. This set will delight fans of both the group and the musical.