John Lewis

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About John Lewis

A founding member of the Modern Jazz Quartet, pianist-composer John Lewis maintained an active solo career apart from that celebrated group. He first emerged on the bebop scene in the mid-'40s, playing with Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, and Miles Davis, arranging several pieces for the latter's Birth of the Cool sessions in 1949. Lewis formed the MJQ with vibraphonist Milt Jackson in 1951, composing, arranging, and playing for the ensemble until its official disbandment in 1974. During this time, he also recorded a number of well-regarded solo albums for Atlantic in which he expanded his interest in 18th century Baroque music in a spare, blues-inflected style. In the '50s, Lewis was one of the foremost proponents of the so-called "Third Stream," the importation of classical elements into the jazz idiom. ~ Richard Mortifoglio

LaGrange, IL, United States of America
May 3, 1920

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