Underappreciated in his own time, Johann Sebastian Bach has ascended to Olympian heights in the estimation of generations of music lovers. But what is it about his music that makes it great? Composer and musicologist Robert Greenberg helps you hear the extraordinary sweep of Bach's music and understand his compositional language—whether you're a devoted admirer or a casual listener.
What happens when you bring the worlds of jazz and Monteverdi together? Is there a musical meeting-point where the two can exist? Claudio Cavina clearly has been believing in this possibility for some time (witness some very "modern" moments in his recent Glossa recordings of the Scherzi musicali and L'incoronazione di Poppea). Yet this is not La Venexiana playing jazz: Cavina and his musicians do not change a note of the original scores.
Jacques Loussier has spent most of his career blending jazz and classical styles into a lightly swinging and highly melodic hybrid. He is most well-known for tackling Bach, but here he covers a range of Baroque composers. Loussier, bassist Benoit Dunoyer De Segonzac, and drummer Andre Arpino play pieces by Handel, Pachabel, Scarlatti, Marcello, Albinoni, and Marias. Loussier has a very light touch and the trio is laid-back, never distracting from the melodies. You can hear the influence of Dave Brubeck in Loussier's playing (especially on Marais' "La Sonnerie de Sainte-Geneviève du Mont"), and much like Brubeck's best work, there is a strong sense of warmth and intelligence on Baroque Favorites. The only complaint one might have is that the brevity of some of the songs breaks up the flow of the record. Nevertheless, Baroque Favorites is a very nice album.
On tour for their 40th Anniversary, the four jazz giants stopped in Stuttgart for the “Jazz Gipfel” 1992, where they were joined by the Arcata chamber orchestra, directed by Patrick Strub. As Pianist John Lewis’ compositions had long been influenced by his affinity for the so-called “Third Stream” between jazz and classical music, this seemed an apt celebration. The MJQ existed from 1952 to 1974, and again from 1981 to 1995. Over the years it took such deep root in the consciousness of jazz fans that, quite irrationally, one could believe in the immortality of its members. The past few years have proved us wrong: all four members of the quartet have died, the last was Percy Heath in 2005.