Jacques Loussier is the man who has brought Bach and jazz together more successfully than anyone in history. Long recognized in Europe for his adventurous excursions through classical landmarks, when Loussier performs the compositions of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685 – 1750) the music develops a lyrical and swinging jazz sensibility. He is joined on this breakthrough recording by bassist Vincent Charbonnier and drummer André Arpino.
Playing Bach's work has become almost second nature to Loussier. Track one, "Prelude No. 1 in C major from The Well-Tempered Clavier," was the first work of Bach's ever arranged by Loussier and was considered a bombshell when it was originally released forty years ago. Also featured is a rhapsodic, yet spare version of the perennial Bach favorite "Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring." The album closes with the dazzling "Concerto in D Major," one of the works with which Loussier habitually closes his concerts. Like each piece in The Bach Book, it hinges on Loussier's precise piano playing and assumes a distinct character by virtue of his unique arrangements.
The Bach Book is the second of two Loussier releases during this 40th anniversary year of his first Play Bach album. The first, Ravel's Boléro (CD-83466), was released to outstanding critical acclaim. Impressed by Loussier's compelling rendering of Ravel's hypnotic work, Los Angeles Times critic Don Heckman hailed the recording as "a musical mix invigorated by the many harmonic associations between jazz and French Impressionism."
Loussier's original Play Bach Trio, which was the first to use Bach's compositions as the basis for jazz improvisation, was founded in 1959 and went on to sell over six million albums. A major pioneer, Loussier has since established himself as one of France's leading pianist/composers, and he continues to pack the world's concert halls with his unique interpretations of Bach and other composers. He also owns and operates Miraval, a popular studio in rural France where this recording was made.
To mark the 250th anniversary of J.S. Bach's death, Telarc will release Jacques Loussier's recording of the Bach Goldberg Variations early next year.