Album of the Week: Midtown Jazz Quartet, ‘Voyage’

Midtown Jazz Quartet take listeners on a musical Voyage, exploring a wide range of influences and emotions on their new album, and celebrating jazz legends along the way.

The Midtown Jazz Quartet, an ensemble of highly-skilled musicians, emerged from the renowned Nashville Jazz Workshop. The quartet comprises Michael Morton on flute, Steve King on piano, Gary J. Smith on bass and Gus Duffy on drums. Notably, all four musicians possess vocal abilities, adding an extra layer of depth to their captivating performances.

Their latest album, titled Voyage, stands as a testament to their exceptional chemistry. It offers an exhilarating blend of instrumentals and four mesmerizing vocal tracks, showcasing the quartet’s versatility through refreshing interpretations of a wide range of compositions, spanning from well-known standards to hidden musical gems. Taking listeners on a captivating musical journey, it explores diverse landscapes and emotions, encompassing swing, bossa nova, bebop and beyond, while paying homage to jazz legends along the way.

For example, the opening track, which titles the album, breathes new life into Kenny Barron’s renowned modern jazz standard. Infused with a pulsating swinging beat, Morton’s soaring flute enhances the piece with newfound warmth and texture. Another standout moment is the quartet’s poignant rendition of Billy Strayhorn’s soul-stirring composition, “A Flower Is a Lovesome Piece,” evoking powerful introspection and leaving a profound impact.

Among the four vocal tracks on the album, “Night Dreamer” shines as a timely and heartfelt homage to the late great Wayne Shorter. Additionally, “Ev’ry Now and Then” features lyrics by the esteemed Marilyn and Alan Bergman and has been previously recorded only once. These tracks provide a glimpse of the treasures featured on Voyage, solidifying the Midtown Jazz Quartet’s position in the contemporary jazz scene. Through this collection of jazz standards, original compositions and captivating vocal performances, they continue to captivate audiences and showcase their remarkable talents.

Midtown Jazz Quartet’s Voyage is available now. Listen to it via the player below.

Featured photo courtesy of the band.

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