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The Music of John Lewis

In 2013, when the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis set out to celebrate the esteemed pianist and composer, they teamed up with then rising star Jon Batiste. The bandleader of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and a prodigious pianist in his own right, Batiste joined the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra to tackle some of Lewis’s most iconic tunes during a sold-out concert in Rose Theater, the House of Swing.

The Music of John Lewis

Album Info

Ensemble JLCO with Wynton Marsalis featuring Jon Batiste
Release Date March 24th, 2017
Recording Date January 19, 2013
Record Label Blue Engine Records
Catalogue Number BE0008
Formats CD, Digital Download
Genre Jazz at Lincoln Center Recordings

Album Links

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Track Listing

Track Length Preview
2 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West 7:08 Play
Animal Dance 3:55 Play
Django 4:52 Play
Jon Batiste Introduces the Band 1:03 Play
Delaunay’s Dilemma 5:03 Play
La Cantatrice (from The Comedy) 5:08 Play
Piazza Navona (from The Comedy) 6:35 Play
Pulcinella (from The Comedy) 4:07 Play
Spanish Steps (from The Comedy) 4:49 Play
Wynton Marsalis Discusses John Lewis 1:40 Play
Two Bass Hit 6:45 Play

Liner Notes

John Lewis is undoubtedly a seminal figure in jazz history. To join this venerable federation of musicians, one must clearly be born with an innate musical talent. But that natural ability must be matched or surpassed with the militaristic discipline to develop the technical skills to play an instrument with a recognizable sound, the distinct rhythmic feeling required for deep swing, the ability to hear intention and communicate emotional intensity, and the intellectual curiosity to enrich your playing with an historical perspective. A select few have been able to climb this artistic Mount Everest and still possess the energy and wherewithal to become prolific composers and bandleaders. These musicians are a special breed…

…As music director of the Modern Jazz Quartet, his genius was clearly evidenced. During a time when most jazz groups were focused on the charisma of individual soloists, Mr. Lewis created a collective conception that incorporated the fundamentals of jazz in a most sophisticated manner. This uncommon approach, as well as their elegant dress and presentation, garnered quite a bit of opposition, but John Lewis responded with music. He was not a flamboyant, flashy player, choosing instead to display virtuosity with the gravitas and clarity of his sound and the thematic consistency and cogency of his solos. The same can be said of his composing and arranging styles. He was all music, all the time…

…Having the opportunity to internalize Mr. Lewis’s densely constructed arrangements was intellectually exhilarating and intrinsically rewarding. The study of his artistic philosophy and of the spirit of his era added a deeper dimension to my understanding of what it means to be prepared. His personal experiences and beliefs permeate every composition represented on this recording. My own related experience as a pianist, bandleader, and composer provided a great deal of insight into Mr. Lewis’s approach. There is much imagery in his music and so much personality. The depth of his belief makes his music timeless. For artists, what remains impactful and meaningful in one’s art depends on the accuracy and intensity of your insights. Mr. Lewis’s music is still with us, and it is an honor to place my artistry in the tradition of serving it…

Credits

1. 2 Degrees East, 3 Degrees West (7:08)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed by John Lewis
Soloists: Victor Goines – clarinet Doug Wamble – guitar
Jon Batiste – piano

2. Animal Dance (3:55)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed and arranged by John Lewis
Soloist: Jon Batiste – piano

2. Animal Dance (3:55)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed and arranged by John Lewis
Soloist: Jon Batiste (piano)

3. Django (4:52)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed by John Lewis
Soloist: Jon Batiste (piano)

4. Jon Batiste Introduces the Band (1:03)

5. Delaunay’s Dilemma (5:23)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed and arranged by John Lewis
Soloists:
Wynton Marsalis – trumpet
Ted Nash – alto saxophone
Chris Crenshaw – trombone

6. La Cantatrice (from The Comedy) (5:08)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed and arranged by John Lewis Adapted by David Berger
Soloist: Jon Batiste – piano

7. Piazza Navona (from The Comedy) (6:35)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed and arranged by John Lewis Adapted by David Berger
Soloists: Wynton Marsalis – trumpet
Jon Batiste – piano

8. Pulcinella (from The Comedy) (4:07)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed and arranged by John Lewis Adapted by David Berger
Soloists: Jon Batiste – piano

9. Spanish Steps (from The Comedy) (4:49)
M J Q Music Inc (BMI)
Composed and arranged by John Lewis Adapted by David Berger
Soloist: Jon Batiste – piano

10. Wynton Marsalis Discusses John Lewis (1:40)

11. Two Bass Hit (6:45)
M J Q Music (BMI)
Composed by John Lewis
Arranged by John Birks “Dizzy” Gillespie and Gil Fuller
Soloists: Carlos Henriquez – bass
Wynton Marsalis – trumpet
Jon Batiste – piano

SPECIAL GUESTS
Howard Johnson – tuba (tracks 2, 6, 7, 8, 9)
Doug Wamble – guitar (tracks 1, 2)

Sidemen