The Classical Jazz Quartet

It’s hard not to compare the Classical Jazz Quartet with the Modern Jazz Quartet. Both have outstanding individual stars and a strong preference for classical music. Many listeners wouldn’t be offended or surprised if the CJQ played “The Cylinder” and “Django”. But they are different. And, this is good for the listener, for we now have a second great piano-vibes-bass-drums lineup to listen to. The Classical Jazz Quartet, an American group that includes Stefon Harris and Ron Carter, has been focusing its efforts on the interpretation of the Classical Music Repertoire to date. The brainchild of producer/arranger/sax master Bob Belden, The Classical Jazz Quartet is the working end of Belden’s fertile plan for classical music cum jazz. Stefon Harris, the youngest member of the group is a youngster who plays with the same intelligence and information as the others. Harris, like Milt Jackson in the other quartet is a focal point. He can change the tone and timbres of his instrument as he pleases and the rest of the band will follow his lead. The CJQ is the leader and elder of this group, but Ron Carter is not the only one. It is so refreshing to see another brilliantly different quartet emerge at a time when Modern Jazz Quartet is a part history.

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