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#433036 - 07/03/01 11:57 AM Bach Jazz??
Patti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 42
Loc: Dallas, TX
Hi everyone,

In May, my husband and I were in Germany and listening to the classical music station in the car. A piece that I thought sounded like a jazz interpretation of Bach was playing. After it was done and the announcer spoke I didn't know what he was saying because it was in German, but he did say "Bach". Does anyone know who recorded this? I really liked it, which is kind of strange because I don't like Bach or Jazz piano, but this actually worked in a strange way (IMO). I think the reason I liked it is because Bach is so structured and rigid and jazz piano is too all over the place not following any sort of theme and what I heard was a good blend of the two. I'm sure Bach purists would be aghast to hear Bach in such a way. Actually, I heard a new age interpretation of the 2nd movement of Beethoven's Pathetique that really rubbed me wrong - couldn't stand it! So I guess I'm a purist w/ Beethoven but not Bach!



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#433037 - 07/03/01 01:31 PM Re: Bach Jazz??
Joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Encinitas, CA
Hi Patti,
Actually, I've heard that many jazz musicians are also Bach aficionados, so what you are discovering is not at all as unusual as it may seem.

In both situations, there are different voices layering and melding together, with lots of variations added to the mix. In an NPR interview, the jazz pianist Marcus Roberts said he plays Bach to loosen up whenever he feels his playing is too stiff.

Ever listen to the Swingle Singers? Their recordings are still widely available. I found them at my local library. This group sight-reads and scat-sings a capella to Bach and Mozart without altering a single note, accompanied by a snare drum, and it all comes out sounding like the grooviest jazz scat singing you'd ever hear!


[ July 03, 2001: Message edited by: Joy ]

#433038 - 07/03/01 04:55 PM Re: Bach Jazz??
Mat D. Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 512
Loc: Sterling Heights, Michigan
Speaking of the "Goldbergs", there is a jazz recording of the Goldberg Variations that is wonderful, but I don't know the name of the artist or record company. I heard it on a Canadian station one evening, but they didn't aannounce the artist name.

Does anyone know of this recording?

Mat D.

#433039 - 07/03/01 06:53 PM Re: Bach Jazz??
Brendan Offline

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 5538
Loc: McAllen, TX
I'm sorry, Patti, but I completely disagree with you.

Bach is the father of improvisation. Just look at his toccatas or even the Goldberg variations - it's almost as if he had a tape recorder next to the harpsichord, played something once, listened to it and copied it down note for note. Especially the Goldberg variations. Think of it as several musicians - the bass player putting down the root of the chords and his friends jamming over it. Also, listen to the Chromatic Fantasie and Fugue. The fantasie is so improvised that it's very hard to follow and seemingly lacking in direction (yet always moves towards a goal...a trademark of superior improvisation). It's absolutely great stuff; my opinion is biased because Bach is tied for my favorite composer.

Even in the large works like the cantatas he takes a small hymn and builds an entire piece out of it. Jazz works the same way - working around a tune and always dressing it up in different clothes. My $.02


#433040 - 07/03/01 07:13 PM Re: Bach Jazz??
Vid Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/12/01
Posts: 1341
Loc: Vancouver, B.C.
Bach tied for favorite composer? There's still some hope for you yet boy!


I also see baroque ensembles (especially trios) as a bit like the modern jazz trio. I am certain they improvised a lot in Bach's day. The continuo player already provides the harmony and the melody instrument always embellished slower movements as well as repeats.
Kawai VPC1, Pianoteq, Galaxy Vintage D

#433041 - 07/03/01 09:33 PM Re: Bach Jazz??
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15090
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
The guy you heard most likely is a French pianist who became famous with "Play Bach" in the 60's over there. You're right it sounds great! Will get name 'digging around'
Greater Vancouver B.C. piano dealers for : Estonia, Brodmann, Ritmuller
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#433042 - 07/03/01 10:53 PM Re: Bach Jazz??
Greg Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/15/01
Posts: 28
Loc: Australia
I agree with Brendan. Although Bach is NOT my favourite composer, he compositions are definitely full of 'bebop' lines. I was trained classically as a child, but now study Jazz at university, and this has come up a number of times. Maybe Bach was an improvisor who just happened to document every note!

#433043 - 07/05/01 09:17 AM Re: Bach Jazz??
Samejame Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/01/01
Posts: 808
Loc: NL, Canada

I may well have heard the same broadcast in Canada that Mat D. heard, I think it was one of Russ Porter's friday night jazz CBC broadcasts. The pieces I heard were jazzed up Bach preludes, but the featured artist was a tenor saxophonist. The other pieces in the combo were piano, acoustic bass & precussion. I've heard this or similar recordings several times over the last two or three years, but darned if I know the artist. Sorry.

Jamie \:\(
"A cynic knows the price of everything and the value of nothing" Oscar Wilde.

#433044 - 07/05/01 12:07 PM Re: Bach Jazz??
Patti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 42
Loc: Dallas, TX
Brendan & Greg, I see your points about Bach & improvisation. I was just speculating as to why I donít care much for Bach, so I guess thatís not it! I love the jazz Bach though!

I did a Google search and found this review - Jacque Loussier recorded ďPlay BachĒ and several other jazz Bach albums. Itís attached below and also talks about the similarities between jazz and Bach. It was something new to me, so I thought it was very interesting. Iíd like to find out the artist Mat D. talked about too.


#433045 - 07/06/01 02:49 AM Re: Bach Jazz??
Joy Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 550
Loc: Encinitas, CA
Good find, Patti!

Interesting to find out that Jacques Loussier influenced the Swingle Singers.

I think I had a poor introduction to Bach when I first took piano lessons. I found him so difficult to play well, couldn't get into his music because it seemed so academic to me, compared to the romantic composers.

My outlook on Bach changed forever when I attended my first live performance of the Brandenburg Concerti many many years ago. The musicians perform just like jazz session players, taking turns, playing variations on a basic theme, sometimes two folks, sometimes three, then an amazing solo, then several join in, etc. It's a "conversational exchange", lots of different "voices" layered over one another, and it all works. Pure magic.

There is no composer like Bach.

\:o \:o \:o \:o \:o \:o \:o
[An Ode to Bach]

I'll have to check out Amazon.com and see if they have some Jacques Loussier to sample. They definitely have the Swingle Singers doing selections from the WTC, with bass and drum back-up. So cool.


[ July 06, 2001: Message edited by: Joy ]

#433046 - 07/06/01 10:30 AM Re: Bach Jazz??
Patti Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/04/01
Posts: 42
Loc: Dallas, TX
Hi Joy,

Try cdnow.com too. There were some albums on amazon that didn't have sound samples, but did on cdnow. And one or the other had Loussier's Goldberg variations (he did that too!) but the other didn't. Don't remember which was which.


#433047 - 07/07/01 02:29 AM Re: Bach Jazz??
Norbert Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/03/01
Posts: 15090
Loc: Surrey, B.C.
Patti, I did dig around some 1000 albums at home an found "Play Bach" Volume 4 by Jacques Loussier. Of course, you beat me to the punch on that one before! Congratulations
At least I spend 4 more hours to bring order in this old, dusty pile of records, finding many other gems among them!Thanks to you,mam!
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