Blues at Carnegie Hall is a live album by American jazz group the Modern Jazz Quartet featuring performances recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1966 at a benefit concert presented by The Manhattan School of Music and released on the Atlantic label.
Recorded at the Avery Fisher Hall in New York on November 25, 1974, The Modern Jazz Quartet comprised of vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath, pianist John Lewis and drummer Connie Kay are at their very best. Performing with their distinctive bebop, cool jazz and third-stream sound, a blend of jazz and classical influences, the quartet performs some of their greatest hits including “Bags’ Groove,” “Summertime,” “A Night in Tunisia” and “Django.” This audiophile recording by one of jazz’s finest small ensembles is an essential for any jazz collection.
The second volume of the Modern Jazz Quartet at the Music Inn was released in 1959, a year after its historic first volume with guest Jimmy Giuffre. The format on this set is similar, with pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Connie Kay moving through a gorgeous medley of standards to open including "Stardust," "I Can't Get Started," and "Lover Man," with beautiful and clever counterpoint between Lewis and Jackson on the melody lines. There are two of Lewis' originals here as well.
On tour for their 40th Anniversary, the four jazz giants stopped in Stuttgart for the “Jazz Gipfel” 1992, where they were joined by the Arcata chamber orchestra, directed by Patrick Strub. As Pianist John Lewis’ compositions had long been influenced by his affinity for the so-called “Third Stream” between jazz and classical music, this seemed an apt celebration. The MJQ existed from 1952 to 1974, and again from 1981 to 1995. Over the years it took such deep root in the consciousness of jazz fans that, quite irrationally, one could believe in the immortality of its members. The past few years have proved us wrong: all four members of the quartet have died, the last was Percy Heath in 2005.