Listen: Summertime / The Modern Jazz Quartet MJQSummertime.mp3
The Modern Jazz Quartet’s run with Atlantic Records was a superior one, every new album as superb as the last. Their vibes/piano/bass/drums template perfectly proceeded to calm my nerves. When it comes to jazz, gentle and sparse wins over harsh and busy any day of the week.
In the early 90′s, many a company trip to Seattle became my norm. Corinne and I loved it there, and near moved into one of the endless 50′s ranch houses seemingly round every corner. The junking was superb and the vinyl shops were as close as you can come to dying and going to heaven in the US.
It’s where my fetish for jazz 7″s began. There was a chain of used vinyl only stores, all sectioned within by genre. Nobody seemed even slightly interested in the jazz singles. Albums yes, singles no. If virtually no competition wasn’t enough, the $1 price tag was the straw. Basically anything on Verve, Blue Note, Prestige and Atlantic were no brainers. In only a few visits, my jazz collection went from zilch to very complete. Plus they fed the jukebox perfectly.
‘Summertime’ looked radiant sitting there in The Modern Jazz Quartet’s bin. Shiny Atlantic label (on plastic as opposed to vinyl) + original stock sleeve + unplayed pressing + can’t-lose song delivered via their signature approach + $1 price tag = jackpot.
When I finally got home, ‘Summertime’ went directly onto the Seeburg. It still resides there today, having weathered, I would guess, hundreds of spins hence it’s lovingly played condition. Their version turned out to be better than I could ever have expected.