Monday 23 April 2018

More than a tribute

Grainne Farren


The Modern Irish Quartet: MIQ plays MJQ (no label)

Tony Miceli (vibraphone), Phil Ware (piano), Dave Redmond (bass), John Daly (drums).

LAUNCHED during a recent tour of Ireland, this tribute album is no mere imitation. It glows with the spirit of the Modern Jazz Quartet while adding a freshness all its own. Like the MJQ, it is gracefully elegant, combining classical influence with infectious swing; above all it approaches the music collectively. Far from promoting himself as the visiting star, Miceli encourages his hand-picked musicians to participate fully in the ensemble and respond to each other's solos.

The opening track is a mellow nine-minute treatment of Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Heitor Villa-Lobos, a tune the MJQ recorded in 1963 for the LP The Sheriff.

Don't Stop This Train, based on a theme by JS Bach, highlights John Daly's beautifully controlled drumming.

If I could pick out one number in particular to highlight Miceli's affinity with Milt Jackson, it would be True Blues, which also features Ware's rollicking piano and Redmond's warm, throbbing bass. Among other offerings there are two takes of Henry Mancini's Dreamsville, both gentle duets for vibes and piano.

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