The musical director of the Modern Jazz Quartet for its entire history, John Lewis found the perfect outlet for his interest in bop, blues, and Bach. Possessor of a "cool" piano style that (like Count Basie's) makes every note count, Lewis with the MJQ has long helped make jazz look respectable to the classical music community without watering down his performances.
After serving in the military, Lewis was in the Dizzy Gillespie big band (1946-1948). He recorded with Charlie Parker during 1947-1948 (including "Parker's Mood"), and played with Miles Davis' Birth of the Cool Nonet, arranging "Move" and "Rouge." He worked with Illinois Jacquet (1948-1949) and Lester Young (1950-1951), and appeared on many recordings during the era.
In 1951, Lewis recorded with the Milt Jackson Quartet which by 1952 became the Modern Jazz Quartet. Lewis' musical vision was fulfilled with the MJQ and he...