Live concert in celebration of Loussier's 70th birthday. In performance in Bach's 'own' church, St Thomas's in Leipzig. A rare example of a commercially successful jazz artist. In fifteen years, the Jacquees Loussier trio sold over six million albums. Bonus feature: Jacques Loussier in Conversation…
The CD is a return to the Trio’s roots in Bach via a new jazz interpretation of the entire six Brandenburg Concertos, in order. But this time a rather new approach is in the works. As described by Loussier himself: “Whereas my older recordings were about adding to Bach, this record is about reducing his music to its essence, taking the main themes and working with them as any jazz musician might in playing a theme, an improvisation, and a return to the theme.”
Released in 2003, Allegretto from Symphony No. 7, Theme and Variations features pianist Loussier in a trifecta alongside bassist Ben Dunoyer de Segonzac and drummer André Arpino interpreting ten variations on the Allegretto portion of Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 7. For those unfamiliar, the term Allegretto (translated as "rather fast") refers to the composition's tempo, encompassing a speed of less than 120 but exceeding 108 measures per minute. As he had done in prior outings that incorporated the respective works of Bach, Debussy, and Handel, among others, Loussier approaches the composition with an ear toward the third stream, blending classical pieces to a decidedly jazz orientation.
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.
Pianist Jacques Loussier has certainly had an unusual career, much of it spent performing jazz interpretations of Bach's music. While his original works have been noteworthy, Loussier's most famous projects have been his transformations of Bach's music. In 1997 he tackled Vivaldi's Four Seasons, four concertos that he performed and recorded with his trio. ~ AllMusic