Saturday, January 02, 2016

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-The Classical Jazz Quartet

Artist:The Classical Jazz Quartet
Song:The Swingin' Nut

Of course jazz musicians all study classical music. And sometimes they adapt classical works to jazz. French pianist Jacques Loussier has based his whole career on performing jazz versions of Bach. I don't know if The Classical Jazz Quartet started out to record jazz adaptations of classical composers. But they recorded three albums that are well worth checking out. The Classical Jazz Quartet is four of today's top jazz musicians. Legendary bassist Ron Carter has worked with just about everyone in jazz since he started out with Miles Davis in the early 60s, sometimes as a leader but usually as a sideman. He contacted pianist Kenny Barron about working together. They discussed possibly adapting classical works with sax player and producer Bob Belden. They brought in veteran sideman drummer Lewis Nash and young vibraphonist Stefon Harris. Belden wrote the arrangements and produced. He did not play on the albums. The Classical Jazz Quartet's 2001 debut CD was a jazz adaptation of Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker Suite. The Swingin' Nut is on that album. They recorded Bach on their second album. These albums were recorded for Vertical Jazz but it looks like that company went out of business in 2004. They moved to the Swiss label Kind Of Blue and released their third album The Classical Jazz Quartet Play Rachmaninov in 2006. Kind Of Blue picked up the previous albums. Because The Nutcracker Suite is considered to be a Christmas classic, Kind Of Blue decided to re-release that album as Christmas. It's the Nutcracker Suite album with the addition of Handel's Messiah and Bach's Jesu, The Joy of Man's Desiring. The original Nutcracker Suite album is out of print. So it's only available on the CD Christmas. It looks like great Christmas listening for any jazz fan. The Classical Jazz Quartet haven't recorded since then. But all four guys are still very busy in the New York jazz scene. You never know. They might reunite someday but minus Bob Belden who died in 2015. Here's a video for the Swingin' Nut by The Classical Jazz Quartet.

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