Back in March, Jan Veldman to a deep dive into the series of historical performances released by BMG and the Montreux Jazz Festival. Launched in 2021, ‘The Montreux Years’ is the embodiment of the spirit of the Montreux Jazz Festival and the legacy of its much-loved founder, Claude Nobs. Nobs refused to compromise on quality or settle for anything other than the best and this ethos lives on in the superb quality of the recordings compiled in ‘The Montreux Years’.
The The Montreux Years series, which began with musical titans Nina Simone and Etta James, followed by Marianne Faithfull and Muddy Waters, John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Monty Alexander, Paco De Lucía, Michel Petrucciani, and most recently Dr. John has been a huge success and today the latest releases in the series were announced, McCoy Tyner: The Montreux Years’ and ‘Modern Jazz Quartet: The Montreux Years’. The live albums, which are out now in multiple-format configurations, including LP and CD, are restored to their full glory and with exclusive liner notes. The releases feature sublime collections of the musical legend’s finest Montreux Jazz Festival performances, which are also available on digital download and streaming services. To celebrate the releases, BMG and the Montreux Jazz Festival have also released a rare live performance of McCoy Tyner performing ‘Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit’ from the 1981 Montreux Jazz Festival.
A force of nature in the maelstroms of jazz improvisation, McCoy Tyner’s musical style and methods have influenced every generation of jazz pianists since the 1960s and stood shoulder to shoulder with such illustrious keyboard modernists as Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, Keith Jarrett and Bill Evans. A ground-breaking pioneer of the jazz piano, McCoy’s performance at the 1973 Montreux Jazz Festival set the febrile 1970s jazz scene on fire and inspired the release of the live album ‘Enlightenment’. The first release from McCoy Tyner in over 10 years, McCoy Tyner: The Montreux Years encapsulates the jazz legend’s time at the festival from 1981 to 2009. The release opens with the mesmerizing ‘Latino Suite’, which was recorded live at the 1986 Montreux Jazz Festival.
Delving further into McCoy’s repertoire of music, fans of the American jazz pianist can immerse themselves in his unique recordings such as 1981’s ‘Eternally Yours’ and ‘Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit’ from the 1973 live album Enlightenment. Taken from McCoy’s ninth album and his third release on the Blue Note label, fans can enjoy the powerhouse performance of ‘African Village’ and ‘Fly with the Wind’ from the 1976 album of the same name.
The origins of the Modern Jazz Quartet (MJQ) will be well known to hardcore fans, but more casual listeners might not be aware that they originally began life as the rhythm section of the seminal Dizzy Gillespie bebop big band, itself a deeply influential and historically significant band, in the late 1940s.
During their 43 years together MJQ grew from being at their outset a typical bebop quartet of the era, playing standards and bebop tunes to playing a completely original fusion of classical compositional techniques with bebop and the blues. The compositions and arrangements became as important as the improvisation. A brief glance at their rather extensive discography reveals a band continually experimenting with new formats almost from the beginning but also regularly returning to the original quartet format, showcasing the incredible chemistry between the four members that can only come from decades of performing and rehearsing together. A key part of that chemistry came from the unique combination of musical personalities within the quartet. Alongside their involvement in the quartet, the band members had an impressive track record of working alongside the most prominent jazz artists of all time, including Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Stan Getz, Oscar Peterson, Herbie Hancock, and Chet Baker.
Reliving their performances at the Montreux Jazz Festival from 1985 – 1993, Modern Jazz Quartet: The Montreux Years brings together an impressive collection of MJQ’s classics, from 1957’s ‘Bags’ Groove’, to 1987’s ‘A Day in Dubrovnik’, and taken from their last appearance at Montreux in 1993 ‘The Golden Striker’.
McCoy Tyner: The Montreux Years
A1) Latino Suite | A2) Eternally Yours | B1) Fly with the Wind | C1) Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit | C2) Ask Me Now | D1) African Village | D2) Ballad for Aisha
1. Latino Suite | 2. Eternally Yours | 3. Fly with the Wind | 4. Walk Spirit, Talk Spirit | 5. Ask Me Now | 6. African Village | 7. Ballad for Aisha
Modern Jazz Quartet: The Montreux Years
A1) Ko-Ko | A2) A Day in Dubrovnik | B1) Django | B2) Blues in A Minor | B3) Bags’ Groove | B4) The Golden Striker | C1) One Never Knows | C2) Le Cannet | D1) Nature Boy | D2) Rockin’ in Rhythm | D3) True Blues
1. Ko-Ko | 2. A Day in Dubrovnik | 3. Django | 4. Blues in A Minor | 5. Bags’ Groove | 6. The Golden Striker | 7. One Never Knows | 8. Le Cannet | 9. Nature Boy | 10. Rockin’ in Rhythm | 11. True Blues
Last modified: June 26, 2023