Album:The Art Of The Modern Jazz Quartet
The Modern Jazz Quartet were one of the most popular jazz groups in history because they appealed to hardcore jazz fans and casual fans. A lot of this goes back to pianist John Lewis' interest in mixing jazz with classical music. They also had guests on their albums like this 1958 recording with sax legend Sonny Rollins. Bags' Groove is one of vibraphonist Milt Jackson's best known songs. He first recorded it in 1952 on Blue Note as The Milt Jackson Quintet. The band on that album would become The Modern Jazz Quartet including Lewis, bassist Percy Heath and drummer Kenny Clarke. Clarke was later replaced by Connie Kay. Another notable version of Bags' Groove was recorded by Miles Davis in 1954. So the song was a regular part of The Modern Jazz Quartet repertoire. This version of Bags' Groove featuring Sonny Rollins is from one of two albums recorded live at Music Inn in Lenox, MA. The first was released in 1956 and it featured clarinetist Jimmy Giuffre on three songs. The second was recorded in 1958 and released in 1959. Rollins was featured on Bags' Groove and Night In Tunisia. This was officially the only time Rollins recorded with MJQ. Rollins did record with members of MJQ in 1951 and in 1956 Prestige released it as Sonny Rollins With The Modern Jazz Quartet. They hadn't become MJQ in 1951. The album The Modern Jazz Quartet at Music Inn Vol. 2 is available. But Bags' Groove featuring Sonny Rollins appears on this 2CD comp first released in 1973 and released on CD by the reissue label Wounded Bird. It is recommended to beginners. Of course MJQ was very durable. They split up in 1974 and and reunited occasionally in the 80s. They split up for good after Connie Kay died in 1994. Here's a video for Bags' Groove by The Modern Jazz Quartet featuring Sonny Rollins.