In a career that spans more than a half century, pianist and composer Jacques Loussier has built an enormous body of work by blurring the lines between classical and jazz and selling more than six million albums worldwide in the process. Telarc celebrates Loussier's 80th birthday (on 26 October 2014) with the release of two collections that provide a cross section of his masterful fusion of classical tradition with the jazz idiom.
'My Personal Favorites: The Jacques Loussier Trio Plays Bach' and 'Beyond Bach: Other Composers I Adore' are two specially priced 2CD sets, each with tracks chosen by Loussier himself as personal favourites. Beginning in 1959 with his Play Bach Trio, and later with alternate lineups that explored numerous other classical artists, Loussier and his various collaborators forced musicians and audiences of both jazz and classical music to re-evaluate the boundaries - and indeed the similarities - between their respective genres.
'Beyond Bach' includes Loussier's interpretations of pieces by Vivaldi, Satie, Debussy, Mozart, Chopin and others. The Vivaldi concerto here demonstrates how successfully Loussier applied his jazz approach to a classical composer. Instead of the strong harmonic development of J.S. Bach, with its affinities to jazz structure, Vivaldi deals in songlike melodies. The Debussy album, meanwhile, remains "the masterpiece of the latter-day trio," says jazz historian Alyn Shipton, author of the liner notes for both collections. "Listen to 'Clair de Lune,' and revel in its liquid beauty as you join Jacques in celebrating his 80th birthday."
Personnel: Jacques Loussier (piano), Vincent Charbonnier, Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac (bass), André Arpino (drums)