JOHN’S GOT RHYTHM (1959)

A note from the CEO: I’m writing this thirty minutes into December 27, the end of an extended period of Judeo-Christian holidaying, and a Monday return to work. I send this swing out to you who might be feeling a thud as a return to the mundane happens . . .

John Lewis is known to many as the musical center of the Modern Jazz Quartet, and we might think of four handsome, austerely solemn men in tuxedos . . . improvising sedately on near-classical themes. But John himself was a delightfully swinging pianist — hear his work with Lester Young and this irresistible, warm improvisation on I GOT RHYTHM, which he called DELAUNAY’S DILEMMA for Charles Delaunay.

This performance comes from a May 8, 1959 trio session where John is buoyed by George Duvivier, string bass, and Connie Kay, drums. I hear Kansas City and Count Basie in John’s bell-like swinging minimalism:

Timeless. And all in good time.

May your happiness increase!

One response to “JOHN’S GOT RHYTHM (1959)

  1. DAN MORGENSTERN

    Spot on re John! He broke in well pre MJQ on 52nd St with Illinois Jacquet! On one of those massive packages George Wein put together for Europe he graciously invited me to tag along. I don’t recall all details but among the “acts” as we say in show biz was a trio of Texas tenors—Illinois, Arnett Cobb, and Buddy Tate—and who was in the rhythm trio but John! We had a chat after the set and he told me he hadn’t had so much fun in years. Needless to say his backing work was splendid. And check him out with Lester Young on a fast one called “Neenah”! Lovely! Perfect comp!! (Always thought title was dedicated to a lady, but when I was in Cleveland years ago, waiting at a light, looked down and saw a manhole cover on which those letters appeared! Never did have a chance to check with Pres but maybe a local can tell us what that acronym stands for! Anyway, gassed me….)

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