＊美国钢琴家Ward Swingle於六○年代在巴黎组织的爵士重唱团体，与著名酷派四重奏团体Modern Jazz Quartet合作录制而成，充分激盪出美声和摇摆的双重火花，非常值得细细聆听。
这张Place Vendome则是他们与著名酷派四重奏团体Modern Jazz Quartet合作录制而成，团长Ward Swingle在巴黎的香舍里榭剧院听了一场Modern Jazz Quartet的演奏会之后，便大为讚赏地决定要跟这个团体合作，做出一点与眾不同的音乐。Modern Jazz Quartet的钢琴手John Lewis特地为了这次的合作，而写作了四首新曲，包括“Sascha”、“Vendome”、“Alexander’s Fugue”、“Three Windows”。合作的成果相当成功，Swingle Singers拿手的甜美音色，与Modern Jazz Quartet节制而自然带有摇摆感觉的演奏，形成了一种和两个团体原本的风格都略有不同的味道，Malt Jackson迷人的铁琴声，使得原本柔软的巴洛克音乐带著一点点些微的棱角，Swingle Singers滑顺轻柔的嗓音，则使Modern Jazz Quartet著名的清冷演奏风格，因为裹上了一层华丽的音墙而显得较平常温暖许多。巴哈著名的〈第三号D大调管弦组曲BWV1079〉在Ward Swingle与John Lewis两人的巧手改编之后，并没有失去原本动听的旋律及严谨的古典架构，反而因为加入爵士的即兴趣味而显得更有深度，成为古典乐迷跟爵士乐迷都不可错过的精彩演奏。为这张专辑量身打造的四首新曲，更是充分激盪出美声和摇摆的双重火花，非常值得细细聆听。
For a short time in the mid-'60s, the Modern Jazz Quartet were working primarily in Europe and recording for the French division of Philips, with the results coming out in the United States on the MJQ's regular label, Atlantic. There was only one exception to this rule: Place Vendôme, the collaboration the MJQ did with the Swingle Singers, which appeared in the U.S. on Philips' American subsidiary through Mercury Records, on which the Swingle Singers had been appearing for some years already. For Philips, the collaboration must have seemed like an inevitability; Ward Swingle had sung with the Double Six of Paris, which had backed up Dizzy Gillespie who, of course, had led the big band out of which the MJQ was formed in 1952. The Swingle Singers had been jazzing up the music of Johann Sebastian Bach since at least 1963 with phenomenal success, and while John Lewis wasn't quite as into the Bach bag in 1966 that he would be in later, his MJQ compositions had long been taken up in European devices such as fugue and the renaissance Canzona. Although Swingle and Lewis agreed to collaborate backstage after an MJQ concert in Paris in 1964, it wasn't until 1966 that the two groups found themselves in Paris at the same time. The resultant album, Place Vendôme, was a huge international success commercially, with the track "Aria (Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068)" -- though then popularly called "Air on a G String" -- charting strongly in Europe and the album easily earning its keep in the U.S., though it did not chart there. Not everyone was pleased; jazz critics savaged the album, the consensus being that a pop vocal group like the Swingle Singers had no business making an album with an exalted jazz group like the MJQ.
Fast forward more than four decades, and Place Vendôme itself is a rare album that's basically impervious to criticism. It's sui generis; the Swingles and the MJQ's badinage on Bach is what it is, you either like it or you don't, and whether one does or not doesn't much matter. However, the Philips CD version of it does have one significant variable in that the digital mastering was supervised, in 1988, by John Lewis. His input into the remastering was to bring the MJQ more up front in the mix, not an entirely evenhanded solution, as it was originally marketed as a Swingle Singers album to start with. Moreover, the effect of the new mastering results in some strange artifacts, such as a passage in the "Ricercare 2 à 6 (Offrande Musicale, BWV 1079)" where the MJQ drops out for a passage, and the unbalanced Swingles continue singing away in the background as though segregated to a phantom channel. Nevertheless, that which John Lewis wrought is liable to stick -- a proposed BBC Legends reissue of a MJQ concert recorded in London was quashed in 2001 by Lewis shortly before he died; it hasn't appeared, and it isn't likely to. For those interested primarily in the MJQ in reference to Place Vendôme, the Philips CD version should be fine, whereas those interested in the Swingle Singers' part of the equation might want to track down a copy of the original LP release -- not a difficult task -- as the mix is weighted more in the favor of the voices. Anyone desiring a genuinely balanced version of Place Vendôme where both elements are relatively even, however, will have to get used to one or the other. ~ Uncle Dave Lewis
Audio Remixer: John Lewis.
Liner Note Author: A. David Hogarth.
Recording information: Paris, France (09/27/1966-10/30/1966).
Photographer: Jacques Aubert.
Arrangers: John Richard Lewis; John G. Lewis; Ward Swingle.
Personnel: The Swingle Singers (vocals); Jeanette Baucomont, Christiane Legrand (soprano); Claude Germain, Ward Swingle (tenor); Jean Cussac, José Germain (bass voice); John Lewis, John Richard Lewis (piano); Milt Jackson (vibraphone); Percy Heath (double bass); Connie Kay (drums).
Audio Mixer: Kiyoshi Tokiwa.
01. Sascha (Little David's Fugue)
02. Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, BWV 1068: Aria
04. Musical Offering, The (Musikalisches Opfer), for keyboard and chamber instruments, BWV 1079: Ricercare 2 to 6
05. Dido and Aeneas, opera, Z. 626: Dido's Lament "When I Am Laid in Earth"
06. Alexander's Fugue $0.99
07. Three Windows