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John Lewis

John Lewis

Born in 1920 in La Grange, Illinois, John Lewis went to New York in 1945 as arranger and composer with DIZZY GILLESPIE, and later worked with ILLINOIS JACQUET, LESTER YOUNG, CHARLIE PARKER and MILES DAVIS.

He resumed his studies in 1949 at the Manhattan School of Music, and for some time also taught piano and music theory there. In 1951 he founded the MODERN JAZZ QUARTET (MJQ), which existed until 1974 with virtually no change in its members. Lewis toured with ELLA FITZGERALD in 1954, and from 1958 to 1964 he was director of the Monterey Jazz Festival. He wrote the music for the film "Odds Against Tomorrow" in 1959, and his best-known compositions are "Afternoon In Paris", "Delauney's Dilemma" and "Two Bass Hit".

Lewis found inspiration for the Quartet's music in the contrapunctual art of Johann Sebastian Bach, but over the years the swinging jazz intensity in the Quartet's music has played an increasingly dominant role over the Bachian music elements; what remains is a leaning towards romantic salon music.

After John Lewis' enormous success as "Leader in time" of the Swiss Jazz School Big Band at last year's Jazzfestival, the jazz-fans of Bern can this year enjoy John in an exceptional musical partnership with Hank Jones.

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