BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: Entertainment: Music
Front Page 
World 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Entertainment 
Showbiz 
Music 
Film 
Arts 
TV and Radio 
New Media 
Reviews 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 

Sunday, 1 April, 2001, 15:08 GMT 16:08 UK
Modern Jazz Quartet founder dies
Miles Davies
Miles Davis played alongside Lewis
The founder of the Modern Jazz Quartet, John Lewis, has died at the age of 80.

The renowned pianist and composer was suffering from prostate cancer.

The Modern Jazz Quartet, with vibraphonist Milt Jackson, bass player Percy Heath and percussionist Connie Kay, played to packed houses from the 1950s to the early 1990s.

Charlie Parker
Charlie Parker was an admirer of the pianist
It was Lewis who ordered the musicians to wear tuxedos at every performance to create a sophisticated ensemble.

Born in Illinois, the Lewis family moved to New Mexico where a seven-year-old John took up the piano.

He went on to work with Dizzy Gillespie in 1946, touring in Europe and composing the bebop standard Toccata for Trumpet for the horn player.

He also played alongside Charlie Parker and Miles Davies before creating MJQ.

The first recording was released in 1952.

His final release, entitled Evolution II demonstrated his extensive influence on the jazz scene.

The classically-trained pianist never turned his back on his roots, taking on Bach with fellow musicians Ben Webster, Charles Mingus and Stan Getz.

Lewis leaves a wife, Mirjana, and a son and daughter, Sasha and Nina, and three grandchildren.

New York Times critic Adam Shatz classed Lewis' compositions as "music that's utterly at peace with itself".

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE
See also:

27 Sep 98 | Entertainment
Jazz singer dies
15 Dec 99 | Entertainment
America's 20th century greats
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Music stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Music stories