Ironically, the greatest achievement of Third Stream music, for all its intellectual pretensions, was an update of the traditional English carol "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." John Lewis first arranged it for the MJQ in 1956, and later added German symphonic backing for what became a surprise hit and perennial Yuletide favorite. It's hard to convey a jazz fan's wonderment at discovering a tip-top Milt Jackson solo swinging across pop radio in the early 1960s. Talk about a gift from Santa! As stocking stuffers go, this remains jolly good, Holmes. Pip-pip and all that. God Rest Ye Modern Jazz Quartet.
Tags: holiday favorites
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