Loussier's Joyful Bach


Want lots of sunshine without risking overexposure? Feeling a need to walk in the fresh air, smell the flowers, or refresh your spirit? If you're like me, spending 53 minutes listening to Jacques Loussier Plays Bach: The 50th Anniversary Recording will remind you of all the joy and goodness in the world.

The eleven tracks on this anniversary compilation, recorded between 1984 and 1997, have never before been released in the U.S. Exactly why boggles the mind, because they're marvelous. Pianist Loussier and the other members of his classical cum jazz trio -- bassist Vincent Charbonnier (since felled by a stroke and replaced by Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac) and drummer Andre Arpino -- here trip through Johann Sebastian's more joyful melodies. There is time for reflection, as in the middle movement Adagio of the Toccata and Fugue in C Major. But mostly it's time to play, as in the C Major's final jiving Fugue.

Listen to the glisten of Loussier's piano at the start of the Minuet in G major. It's like stars twinkling in the sky before the heavens part and the sun bursts forth. Okay, that does sound a bit apocalyptic, which is not at all what this album is about. But you get the idea. When Bach is in a joyful mood, he taps into the source as only masters such as Haydn, Handel, and Mozart can. In this trio's hands, some of Bach's greatest inspirations become opportunities to loosen up and have a ball. Divinely.

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    Little Fugue in G minor

    Jacques Loussier Trio, from Jacques ...