A Little MJQ History

The following was given to me by my homie Derek Brown.

I may have some misspellings, fore the following was scribbled on a napkin. Also Derek and I were enjoying ourselves at a regular pub and if any details have been confused there will be updates. So, I’ll turn off this fan in this downtown condo before my napkin becomes a ant’s parachute down many floors to stick on the foot of someone with too short of a lunch break.

front door
The Q's front door

For most that know of MJQ Concourse, it is a familiar little cave where Duran Duran, Outkast, and even Japanese Techno can bounce off the walls and knock over a couple of PBRs. B-Boys, B-Girls, and even glow stick adorners dance in the underground structure. However, only a handfull of those people can give you any history on the popular place.

This story starts at a place called “Ponce De Leon Hotel.”  From what I’m told, this was the original MJQ. The location is 551 Ponce De Leon Ave NE, Atlanta, GA. A man by the name of George Chang helped run that facility. He worked with Wigdom (or Wygdom,Wigdam, etc). Wigdom gave the new name of MJQ Concourse from the Modern Jazz Quartet who he adored.

The Modern Jazz Quartet was established in 1952 by Milt Jackson (vibraphone), John Lewis (piano, musical director), Percy Heath (bass), and Kenny Clarke (drums). Connie Kay replaced Clarke in 1955. Through the years the quartet had performed in several jazz styles, including bebop, cool jazz and third stream.

The enigma of the MJQ’s music-making was that each individual member could improvise with an exciting vibrancy but in toto the group specialised in genteel baroque counterpoint. Their approach to jazz attracted promoters who sponsored “jazz packet” concerts during the 1950s. One show would consist of several contrasting groups. The MJQ were ideal participants because no other group sounded like them. They provided a visual contrast as well, attired in black jackets and pin-striped trousers.

The group played blues as much as they did fugues, but the result was tantalising when one considered the hard-swinging potential of each individual player. Their best-selling record, Django, typified their neo-classical approach to polyphony.

–by Wikipedia


The theme of the new & current facility was of an airport lounge located at 736 Ponce De Leon Pl. Atlanta, GA. There is also a guy named Ben who you can find there now. He is known as the one who brought the people to the spot with the well-known name now. Unfortunately George died of cancer. So from my understanding, Wigdom created an idea that Ben help relate to the people. Because of such, now I have to get mad at myself for too many dance moves in one night infront of one of the many international djs that pass thru Atlanta without it ever being known to the outside conservatives.

outside front doorway

Even though a regular MJQ-er can tell you how jam packed the big club can get on particular nights, a huge amount of people drive pass the outdoor-shed entrance without a clue of the famous names that have passed through it. As a place for real artists to be around real art, “The Q” keeps itself well grounded (or under-grounded that is).

at the Q...

A different take on the MJQ’s history over HERE

Vodpod videos no longer available.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s