JAZZ: CD REVIEWS

JOHN LEWIS: EVOLUTION

(Atlantic)

At the age of 79 the pianist and leader of the Modern Jazz Quartet might play fewer notes than before, but therein lies the charm of this entrancing solo album. On a series of standards such as the opening "Sweet Georgia Brown", and a few original compositions, including his famous "Django," Lewis produces an exquisite edition of miniatures, tickling the ivories with the very lightest of touches. At times sounding like he's casually picking out a few well-chosen notes with one hand in the echoing acoustic of an empty auditorium, the beauty of the album rests on what Lewis chooses not to play as much as what he does. This is cocktail jazz raised to the status of high art.

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