Stereophile Magazine Record to Die For!
I love Bach, and I initially rejected Loussier's interpretations until I discovered that the simple trio arrangements---piano, double bass, and percussion---were helpful in listening tests. From this point I began to appreciate Loussier's mastery of his subject. As jazz goes, it remains very friendly and approachable---a joy to revisit.www.stereophile.com
The perfect bridge between classical and jazz!
Pianist/Composer Jacques Loussier has been swinging the classics for more than four decades now — ever since he formed the Play Bach Trio in the late '50s, when the union of his classical background with his interest in jazz created a remarkable success story with more than six million units sold world wide.
Jacques Loussier and his Play Bach series are a two-fold living legend.
• Loussier's music and performances bridge and amalgamate the classical and jazz genres, exemplifying the glory of each. His unique artistry is loved by audiophiles and by classical and jazz listeners alike. In 1959, Loussier hit upon the idea that was to make his international reputation, combining his interest in jazz with his love of J.S. Bach. Only a pianist with such an exceptional classical technique and deft improvisatory skill could have nurtured such a vision
Toccata & Fugue in D minor
Air On A G String
Gavotte in D major
Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring
Gavotte in B minor
Prelude No. 1 in C major
Fugue No. 5 in D major
Pastorale in C minor
Italian Concerto: Presto
Italian Concerto: Allegro
Italian Concerto: Andante
Jacques Loussier came up with his Play Bach jazz conceptions while still in the conservatory around 1950. He started recording them in 1959, and he's been at it ever since, adapting other classical composers along the way, but always returning to Bach. It made sense then, and it makes sense now, for Bach's linear, continuo-driven, contrapuntal style has always implied a swinging pulse; even some inspired, if strictly score-bound classical recordings of Bach sound as if they are poised for takeoff. These recordings are not the originals, though; they are remakes made in France in the mid-'90s (from Plays Bach and The Bach Book) and compiled by Telarc a decade later to coincide with Loussier's 70th birthday year. No real surprises here; the repertory is mostly basic-repertoire Bach favorites, which Loussier alternates straight classical playing with straight-ahead, elegant, rhythm-shifting jazz elaborations for jazz piano trio. The main difference between the 1990s Loussier and his best-sellers from decades before is his willingness to occasionally update his adaptations with newer rhythms that didn't exist then (check out the playfully funky Gavotte in D from the Orchestral Suite No. 3). Nevertheless, listeners are so used to hearing Bach peddled in so many different idioms and wardrobes that it is impossible to hear anything radical in this concept anymore -- and certainly not since fellow pianist Uri Caine's wacky, eclectic Goldberg Variations raised the bar for outrageously entertaining Bach adaptations in 2000