Modern Jazz Quartet: The Golden Striker


The Golden Striker


Modern Jazz Quartet


The Complete Last Concert (Atlantic Jazz 81976)

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John Lewis (piano), Milt Jackson (vibes), Percy Heath (bass), Connie Kay (drums).

Composed by John Lewis


Recorded: New York, November 25, 1974


Rating: 96/100 (learn more)

"The Golden Striker" was a staple of the Modern Jazz Quartet's live repertoire, and this rousing version adds a sheen of perfection to it. On this rendition, it sounds as if the improvisations are meant to remain in check, as, though Milt Jackson generally plays solos that compliment the arrangement, the boundaries are not bent in any significant way. However, this does not take away from the power of the music; Jackson's vibes and John Lewis' intricate piano fills consume the spaces in the upper registers while Connie Kay's trebly percussion chimes in.

Because of this, things do sound quite "golden," as the title implies, and, as Jackson strikes his vibraphone keys with sympathetic pads, the sustain that he and Lewis are able to generate throughout this concert recording helps the composition and this subsequent rendition remain both fluid and luminous. Recordings of the MJQ are usually not as commercial as other competing chart entries from their day from the likes of Dave Brubeck and Cal Tjader, but this particular tune sounds like it could have competed well. It is not as challenging as usual for the group, but the simplicity allows a different side of the MJQ to shine.

Reviewer: Marcus Singletary

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