The Comedy is an album by American jazz group the Modern Jazz Quartet featuring performances recorded in 1960 and 1962 and released on the Atlantic label. The tracks, which form a suite of seven movements by the Modern Jazz Quartet's pianist and musical director John Lewis, were inspired by characters from Commedia dell'arte, and followed on from his first depiction of the theatrical form on the title track of the 1956 album Fontessa.
Complete your The Modern Jazz Quartet collection. This album has seven of Lewis' compositions, episodic works arranged in a suite that portrays characters from a fictional Italian comedy based in the 1500s. Singer Diahann Carroll guests fairly effectively on "La Cantatrice. Despite being tied to a story, there are some strong improvisations from pianist Lewis and vibraphonist Milt Jackson on this unusual material.
This album has seven of Lewis' compositions, episodic works arranged in a suite that portrays characters from a fictional Italian comedy based in the 1500s. The release is not that essential but it is quite interesting.
That is how jazz critic Murray Horwitz describes The Comedy, which tells the story of several fictional denizens of the 1500s. The album also has a surprise appearance by Diahann Carroll, of Dynasty fame. HORWITZ: It makes sense that John Lewis, the artistic director of The Modern Jazz Quartet was intrigued by the European Renaissance. He was, after all, a kind of Renaissance man as a composer. He was at home in a wide range of musical idioms. He was immensely knowledgeable and virtuosic. In 1956, he had written Fontessa - that's the plaintive theme you heard at the beginning, and that opens The Comedy. Four years later, he turned his fascination with commedia dell'arte (the improvisational Italian Renaissance comedy) into a through-composed jazz suite.