I 100 Album Jazz che hanno sconvolto il mondo #25 #24 #23

MODERN JAZZ QUARTET: FONTESSA (ATLANTIC)

John Lewis (p), Milt Jackson (vb), Percy Heath (b) and Connie Kay (d). Rec. 1956

It’s difficult at this distance, with so much noise and fury intervening, to credit the radicalism of John Lewis’ brief for the Modern Jazz Quartet, but back in 1956 they were doing stunningly new things in jazz in just about every musical area – form, content, arrangement, interplay and theory. They also had a secret weapon in that all four musicians were steeped in the blues and could wail whenever they needed to, thus obviating any tendency to effete noodling when things got a little formal. Fontessa was their first for Atlantic with the fully integrated line-up including Connie Kay: it delivered a perfect blueprint for the many MJQ advances of the next decade. (KS)

WES MONTGOMERY: THE INCREDIBLE JAZZ GUITAR OF WES MONTGOMERY (RIVERSIDE)

Wes Montgomery (g), Tommy Flanagan (p), Percy Heath (b) and Albert Heath (d). Rec. 1960

Wes Montgomery simply played differently from all the others. He picked the strings with his thumb instead of a plectrum, creating a fresh, warm sound – sensitive on ballads but incisive on fast tempos. His solos would move through three stages, beginning with single-line improvisation, then shifting up a gear with passages in unison octaves, before building to a climax with lines stated in block chords. The effect was stunning and like Charlie Christian two decades earlier, his innovations were to open up new possibilities for the guitar and be the inspiration for a new generation of guitar players, including George Benson, Pat Martino and Larry Coryell, who once played Wes’ own solo on ‘D Natural Blues’ to a surprised Wes. Every track on this album is a classic and his songs ‘West Coast Blues’ and ‘Four on Six’ have become part of the jazz canon. (CA)

FRANK SINATRA: SONGS FOR SWINGIN’ LOVERS (CAPITOL)

Frank Sinatra (v), Nelson Riddle (arr, cond) and big band. Rec. 1955-56

Sinatra the jazz singer? There are vast swathes of Sinatra recordings that could never be remotely described as jazz, but the man himself credits Tommy Dorsey and Billie Holiday as his musical mentors and, when he put his mind to it, he could phrase and swing with the best. Additionally – and crucially – he influenced just about every jazz singer and musician worthy of the name between the 1940s and today, including such people as Lester Young, Miles Davis and John Coltrane, all of whom had listened very closely indeed to Sinatra’s balladry. This classic mid-50s session puts Frankie’s jazz credentials perfectly in order and throws down the gauntlet for everyone else. (KS)

I 100 album jazz che hanno sconvolto il mondo sono stati ideati e compilati da Jon Newey e Keith Shadwick con il contributo di Stuart Nicholson, Brian Priestley, Duncan Heining, Kevin Le Gendre, Charles Alexander e Tom Barlow per JazzWise

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