五零年代是爵士乐百花齐放的年代，前半段有酷派爵士〈Cool Jazz〉与硬式咆勃〈Hard Bop〉的先后崛起，后半段则有自由爵士〈Free Jazz〉与爵士第三潮流〈Third Stream〉的动静皆宜。总之，那时的爵士乐手确实过了段好日子。「第三潮流」指的是爵士乐与古典音乐的结合，音乐家们认为若将爵士乐的即兴精神与古典音乐的严谨架构结合，将出现很好的化学作用。於是，法国钢琴手Jacques Loussier在西元1959年想到一个好点子，他让音乐之父巴哈的作品开始摇摆。
转眼间，巴哈的音乐摇摆了整整五十年，而Jacques Loussier也準备在西元2009年10月26号过七十五岁大寿。所以Telarc唱片把握了这个时机点，推出了这张纪念Loussier的「爵士巴哈」五十週年的纪念专辑。唱片里共十一首改编自巴哈的作品，其中改编自清唱剧「醒来吧，沉睡者」《Chorale No.1 “Sleepers Awake”》是Loussier三重奏在日本的录音。而C大调触技曲与赋格《Toccata and Fugue in C Major》，与C小调前奏曲第二号《Prelude No.2 in C Minor》等的改编版，则是来自法国的录音。至於其他作品，则是Loussier在英国伦敦的演出。所有曲目都是来自现场演奏会的录音，和录音室版本有所不同。这是爵士乐的魅力，也证明Loussier会让巴哈的音乐继续摇摆一百年！
2009 year marks Loussier’s 75th birthday, and the fiftieth anniversary of his Play Bach Trio. The ageless Frenchman has been industrious since un-retiring a few years back, and here he plays with the energy of a 25-year-old. The seemingly impossible combination of motorific rhythmic intensity and relaxed, playful swing sounds as fresh as ever. Here he performs a few favourites and pieces he’s never recorded before. Highlights include a complete arrangement of the Toccata and Fuge in C major, and a delicious live reading of Choral No 1. ‘Sleepers Awake’.
It’s hard for some of us to believe, but it was back in 1959 that the Play Bach Trio was launched by classical pianist Loussier. Musicians in Europe have been incorporating Bach and other classical themes into their jazz, pop and rock music for a long time, but generally this mix of genres doesn’t do well in the U.S. The Jacques Loussier Trio proved an exception, and some of us still have their recordings from the 60s for Philips. They even had some 45rpm audiophile releases.
In 1979 Loussier moved from Paris to the Provence area and disbanded his original trio. But in 1985, as part of the Bach tercentenary, the trio was relaunched, and these tracks - recorded during live concerts in Japan, France and England - come from that period. Loussier feels it is the best trio he has ever had. They take the Bach originals farther than the original trio had done. Back then it was usually Loussier jazzing up the original keyboard part, supported by the drummer, while the bassist stuck mostly to the “basso continuo” line of Bach’s originals. Loussier’s new drummer Arpino extends his dynamic and timbral range, creating new possibilities and a more varied rhythmic pulse than the early Bach improvisations had.
The tenth of the 11 tracks is a thoroughly arranged and re-imagined version of Bach’s Chromatic Fantasy. It is followed by the bonus and longest track on the disc - a lovely 8 1/2 minute version of Bach’s Sleepers Awake chorale. Bach’s music has long responded well to being transcribed and brought into other genres. It just seems indestructible. But Loussier is doing something quite brilliant here and not just rehashing his achievements of 50 years ago. By the way, the pianist will be 75 this fall.
TrackList: Partita in E Major, Invention for Two Voices No. 8, Siciliana in G minor, Vivace from Concerto in C minor, Toccata & Fugue in C Major: Overture/Adagio/Fugue, Minuet in G Major, Prelude No. 2 in C minor, Chromatic Fantasy, Chorale No. 1 “Sleepers Awake”
- John Henry
01. Partita in E Major 03:15
02. Invention for two Voices No. 8 02:41
03. Siciliana in G Minor 03:38
04. Vivace from Concerto in C Minor 04:56
05. Toccata and Fugue in C Minor Overture 06:51
06. Toccata and Fugue in C Minor Adagio 03:39
07. Toccata and Fugue in C Minor Fugue 05:29
08. Minuet in G Minor 03:59
09. Prelude No. 2 in C Minor 06:39
10. Chromatic Fantasy 03:26
11. Chorale No.1 Sleepers Awake 08:27