"I was the engineer on the recording sessions and I also made the masters for the original LP issues of these albums. Since the advent of the CD, other people have been making the masters. Mastering is the final step in the process of creating the sound of the finished product. Now, thanks to the folks at the Concord Music Group who have given me the opportunity to remaster these albums, I can present my versions of the music on CD using modern technology. I remember the sessions well, I remember how the musicians wanted to sound, and I remember their reactions to the playbacks. Today, I feel strongly that I am their messenger."
—Rudy Van Gelder
Django put the Modern Jazz Quartet on the international musical map. Although the group, which traced its beginnings to Dizzy Gillespie’s breakthrough big band of the 1946-47, had previously drawn attention, Django crystallized the MJQ’s elegant approach to blending American improvisational and European classical music. Pianist/musical director John Lewis (1920-2001), with the innovative vibist Milt Jackson (1923-1999) as foremost soloist, spearheaded the MJQ’s trailblazing work—from the blues to Basie, from Bach to bop. The first notes of the title piece, Lewis’s elegy to the peerless Belgian gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, firmly established a new jazz tone. The fugue that was "The Queen’s Fancy" and the bebop-in-counterpoint theme statement of "One Bass Hit" further accomplished the mission. With original MJQ drummer Kenny Clarke (1914-1985), in his final recordings with the ensemble, and bassist Percy Heath (1923-2005) lightly swinging with precision, Django is a classic fusion of classical forms.