We've never met a soul who didn't like jazz music, but we have met a few souls who adore it! If you count yourself among them, then the latest LEGO Ideas Jazz Quartet 21334 set is going to be right up your street.
This set is all about capturing the Jazz Age in brick form, which any fan of jazz will know is no easy task because this music is more than music; it's soul, it's a feeling, heck, it's difficult to even describe. So how did LEGO fair whilst trying to capture all that in bricks? Read our LEGO 21334 review below to find out!Also read: Light Up The Night Of LEGO Jazz Quartet 21334
The LEGO 21334 Jazz Quartet set is the latest in the LEGO Ideas range to be released, and it, as the name suggests, simply captures a jazz quartet on stage. That means you'll build the trumpet player, bassist, pianist, and drummer, and then bring them all together to complete the quartet.
It's worth noting that this build only focuses on the quartet themselves with a very simple stage beneath them. You won't be building an entire jazz club here, so if that's what you were hoping for, you may be disappointed. True fans of jazz won't be, though, because the level of detail that's been included with the quartet themselves is astronomical - but more on that later.
For now, you just need the details. LEGO's Jazz Quartet can be built in 1606 pieces, and yes, you can get your hands on it right now since it was released at the beginning of the month on July 1st. But before you rush off to part with your cash, you'll probably want to learn a little more.
And one of those things you'll want to learn more about is the price. And considering it's a 1606 piece set, the LEGO 21334 Jazz Quartet set is fairly priced at only $99.99. That's just over 6 cents per brick, and we challenge you to find any LEGO Ideas set that has come close to that mark in recent years, because we were genuinely impressed with the price on this one - and it's not often any of us LEGO fans can say that, right?
But do we think this set is good value for money? We do, actually. So far, so good.
Now on to the building experience, and we have to say, the LEGO Ideas Jazz Quartet 21334 set doesn't disappoint here either. With 11 bags, 4 building instructions booklets, and a bonus booklet providing fascinating details about the world of jazz, the original designer of the set, and the new designers, you get a lot here.
The build itself is genuinely fun and there's some building techniques on offer here that feel innovative, which is something we always hope to see from a LEGO Ideas set because here is where LEGO can really, well, explore their ideas!
The 4 building instructions booklets are for each member of the quartet - the trumpet player, pianist, bassist, and drummer - and you actually build them all separately with their own section of stage before sliding them together, so it's possible for you to build concurrently with friends here. We love that, because the idea of being able to complete a social build with your friends is always a fun one, and not many LEGO sets offer that option without getting in each other's way, so it's nice to see here.
The hinged joints we see here are also a nice touch because it means you can pose your jazz quartet a little better, like with the trumpet player, the hinged joints in his midsection means you can lean him back slightly to look as though he's really into the music and playing the trumpet with some effort.
However, we do have one minor complaint about the build itself - and that's the number of gray ball joints we see. Not only can connecting them be a little fiddly, they also distract from the set. Yes, we understand why technically they're necessary for the poses and connections, but in a set full of innovative ideas, it would have been nice to see LEGO come up with a way to work around this here. The gray ball joints are especially obvious with the bassist figure, and it's quite jarring in places.
As for the pianist and the drummer? Well, their builds are both fiddly, but fun, and actually it's very rewarding once you've worked out how the pianist's head fits together and how the drummer's cymbals connect to the stage, for example.
Overall, this build is fun to do with friends or alone, and the new building techniques will offer a lot of interest to all you LEGO fans who care more about the build than the finished product.
Quartet Deep Dive
Speaking of the finished product, let's take a closer look at the quartet themselves.
One major point we're happy to make here is that the pianist has been changed from a male to a female. The original design had men in all 4 quartet positions, and the lack of a female member really stuck out to us because women in jazz were just as integral to the success of the Jazz Age as the men were. The fact that LEGO took the original design for the set and made this change is an important one, and it's nice to see.
We won't spoil all the details of the set because part of the fun of it is discovering it for yourself, but it's safe to say that they pack this quartet full of details. The drummer's striped shoes and white socks, the bassist's bow tie and all white shirt, the pianist's statement yellow dress and headpiece, and the relaxed style of the trumpet player all work together to breathe life into this set.
In a LEGO set where the figures really are the star of the show, LEGO doesn't disappoint in terms of the look. If there was one area we wished could be improved, though, it's the fact that, for one reason or another, posing the quartet freely is limited.
Either the instrument gets in the way or there's a lack of articulation where you'd want it, and it's a shame that LEGO missed the mark slightly with this, because it is a set clearly meant for display alone, so some more display-friendly positions and articulations would have been greatly appreciated.
Before we give our final verdict, let's round up the good points about LEGO's Jazz Quartet 21334 set:
- This set was created with display in mind and we can see this sitting on any jazz lover's bedside table or display shelf and there's no denying that it'll look great.
- Truly, we don't think LEGO could have captured the Jazz Age any better - the details on offer here make the Jazz Quartet come alive and that's something they had to get right, and they did.
- There are so many interesting building techniques on offer here, and we've barely scratched the surface in our LEGO 21334 review, so there's plenty more for you to discover yourselves too.
- Female pianist. Enough said there because she speaks for herself on stage!
- Potential for a group build - as LEGO fans who are friends with LEGO fans, we always love it when LEGO gives us a group build option, but we can also picture musically-minded band members building this jazz quartet together, and honestly? That image makes us happy.
And now for the not-so-goods:
- Those gray ball joints guys. Did we expect LEGO to leave them out altogether? No, we don't think we did. Would it look a whole lot better if they had? Yes, it would, because the gray ball joints are distracting and take away from the look of the set. Maybe LEGO will work something out before the next time they do a set similar to this one...
- The lack of poseable options - it's a display piece, so all we really can do with it is pose the figures in different ways. Sure, you can still do this, but with the articulation of the figures being so limited and the instruments often getting in the way, there aren't as many options as you'd probably hope for.
- To complete the build, you push the 4 figures you built separately together, but they don't actually clip together meaning if you want to move the finished set, you have to do so in 4 stages or else you'll likely drop one and have to build it again. That's not necessarily a problem, but not clipping them together feels a little incomplete.
We might be coming at our verdict with a little bias because we really appreciate jazz music, but we sort of think that's the point. We love this set because of how it captures the Jazz Age and makes you feel like you're watching a mini version of a jazz quartet on stage, but there's no denying there are some problems with this set.
For us, we can look past the lack of articulation and poses and, to some degree, ignore the gray ball joints because we love the set and we like jazz. If you aren't a jazz fan and you're not particularly interested in trying out the new build techniques here, then you'll probably skip this one because those issues will be too glaringly obvious.
Overall, we love it, and we'd recommend building fans and jazz fans alike to consider buying this, but we also understand why many of you will simply wait for the next installment from LEGO Ideas.
Heading To The Golden Age Of Jazz...
Here at Lightailing we couldn't possibly talk about a jazz quartet without recommending lights, right? If you really want to breathe life into this set, then putting lights up there on the stage with them is really the only way to go.
The lighting kit available from our store is special, and you can expect to see:
- yellow lights beneath the drum kit to illuminate the drummer's face for a dramatic performance
- blue lights beneath the trumpet player to highlight his leaned back position and really draw people's attention to it
- purple lights on the bass to contrast the bassist's all white shirt and make it look as though he's performing beneath bright lights
- strip lights in the piano to make the stunning pianist glow as she plays
The lighting system used allows you to choose who you illuminate and when, too, meaning you can put together a complete performance where each member of the quartet is introduced on stage and illuminated separately before illuminating them altogether as they play. Whatever you decide to do with the lights, you're in charge of the quartet's performance.
If you want to be transported back to 1920s New Orleans, then make sure you pick up a lighting kit from us, because with the glowing lights of a jazz club on stage with the quartet, you'll really feel like a part of the Golden Age of Jazz Music!