Pianist John Lewis, vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bassist Percy Heath, and drummer Kenny Clarke were fresh from serving as the rhythm section in the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra when they went into the studio in 1953 to record--only their second session together. "Autumn in New York," which would go on to become one of the group's staple performances in concert, summarized their cameo-like pictorial strengths. The December 23, 1954 session produced two of the group's enduring masterpieces--"Django," Lewis's tribute to the then-recently deceased French gypsy guitarist, Django Reinhardt, and "One Bass Hit," with its delightfully understated exchange between Lewis and Jackson. The "La Ronda Suite" fills out a great collection. --John Swenson
Recorded between 1953 and 1955, this album shows off the talents of each member of the quartet. On La Ronde Suite Kenny Clarke even takes a rare drum solo.