"Django" is perhaps John Lewis's best known composition. Certainly it is one of his most durable, having been played and recorded many times over the years with tempo altered but its basic haunting beauty intact. This is its first taping and a benchmark performance for all succeeding versions (by the MJQ and all the others who have interpreted it) to be measured against.
These are the early days of the quartet but it had begun with a standard of excellence, forged by youthful but experienced musicians with a framework that allowed them to exhibit their teamwork and virtuosity. The group's original drummer Kenny Clarke plays timpani on "The Queen's Fancy" and works out on his traps in "La Ronde Suite" which, when Lewis first wrote it in the Dizzy Gillespie orchestra, was called "Two Bass Hit."