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Plays Bach

Album: Plays Bach: The 50th Anniversary Recording
# Song Title   Time
1)    Partita for solo violin No. 3 in E major, BWV 1006: Prelude
2)    Two-Part Invention, for keyboard No. 8 in F major, BWV 779 (BC L49)
3)    Sonata for solo violin No. 1 in G minor, BWV 1001: Siciliana
4)    Concerto for 2 violins, strings & continuo in D minor ("Double"), BWV 1043: Movement 1
5)    Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, for organ in C major, BWV 564 (BC J36): Overture
6)    Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, for organ in C major, BWV 564 (BC J36): Adagio
7)    Toccata, Adagio and Fugue, for organ in C major, BWV 564 (BC J36): Fugue
8)    Minuet for keyboard No. 7 in G major (AMN II/7; doubtful), BWV Anh. 116
9)    Prelude and Fugue, for keyboard No. 2 in C minor (WTC I/2), BWV 847 (BC L81): Prelude
10)    Chromatic Fantasia and Fugue, for keyboard in D minor, BWV 903 (BC L34): Chromatic Fantasy
11)    Cantata No. 140, "Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme," BWV 140 (BC A166): Chorale No. 1 'Sleepers Awake'
Product Details
Performer Notes
  • Personnel: Jacques Loussier (piano); Vincent Charbonnier (upright bass); Andr‚ Arpino (drums).
  • Liner Note Author: Alyn Shipton.
  • Recording information: Advision Studio, London, England; Nakano Sun Plaza Hall; Studio Miraval, France.
  • Author: Jacques Loussier.
  • Playing the music of Bach in a jazz style seems like heresy to some, like mere silliness to others, and like gimmickry to many more. But for half a century now Jacques Loussier has been making a strong argument in favor of the practice, and although this anniversary recording has something of a valedictory flavor to it, it's hard to imagine that the 75-year-old pianist doesn't intend to keep doing so for as long as he can lift his hands to the keyboard. Loussier isn't a jazz-classical fusioneer like Gunther Schuller, but neither is he a cheesy popularizer like Claude Bolling. He approaches Bach's music with evident respect and even reverence, but also with an unassailable sense of swing, and therein lies the magic of his approach: Bach's music works so well in the jazz context because the original compositions themselves swing so little. Playing the eighth Two-Part Invention or the Minuet in G Major in a jazz trio context actually sheds a whole new light on the architectural beauty of the music, exposing both its melodic sweetness and the sturdiness of its architecture. (For this reason, Loussier's experiments in jazzifying the music of Debussy and other masters of the romantic era have tended to fall flat -- how do you construct a compelling or even interesting swing around music already largely characterized by rhythmic pliability?) Best of all, though, is the putative bonus track, a sweet and joyful rendition of the familiar Christmas chorale "Sleepers Awake." If listeners could get another 25 years of this kind of thing out of Jacques Loussier and his trio, the world would be a happier place. ~ Rick Anderson
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