Howard's Day Off - February 18 2017

Feb 18, 2017

---FIRST HALF HOUR---

:01—Bach: “The Art of the Fugue,” The Swingle Singers, from “Bach’s Greatest Hits,” 1963 [Philips 824 703]. Ward Swingle formed the Swingle Singers in Paris in 1962 but previously sang with a similar group formed in 1959. In 1973 they disbanded and Swingle moved to London, where he formed a new version of the group. Swingle died in 2015 at the age of 87.

:04—Bach: Partita No. 1 in D major, first move., Jacques Loussier Trio, from “Play Bach No. 2,” 1960 [Philips 012 157 562]. Loussier, who at age 82 is still jazzing up Bach and others, formed his first trio in 1959. They stayed together for almost a decade. Loussier formed a new trio in 1985.

:11—Bach: Chorale Prelude, “The Old Year Has Now Passed Away,” 1973, Modern Jazz Quartet [Atlantic 1652]. The MJQ was formed in 1952, though John Lewis and Milt Jackson, had played together in the Dizzy Gillespie band from 1946. They performed fugal compositions by John Lewis before Loussier or the Swingle Singers were jazzing up Bach.

:14—Bach: 2-Part Invention, The Swingle Singers, from “Bach’s Greatest Hits,” 1963 [Philips 824 703]. This is the upbeat one that opens and closes with a lot of drums. The original Swingle Singers sang Bach as written except for swinging it, and even that depended heavily on the bass and in drums. But the later London-based Swingle group dispensed with instruments altogether.

:16—Bach: Prelude No. 1 in C major from WTC Book I, The Swingle Singers, reformed in 2000 as an acapella ensemble, do a breathtaking rendition of the prelude that opens the “Well-Tempered Clavier [A Cappella].

:19—Bach: Prelude No. 21 in B flat major from WTC Book I, Jacques Loussier Trio, from “Play Bach No. 2,” 1960 [Philips 012 157 562]. The original Loussier Trio had Pierre Michelot on bass, and his role is insufficiently appreciated, but you’ll get it when I tell you he was also the bassist on the original Swingle Singers album.

:22—Bach: Six Brandenburgs, The Cambridge Buskers [DG 423 400]. Michael Copley, flutes, recorders, etc., and Dag Ingram, accordion. These guys were huge in the late 1970s. As Babyboomers married and settled down they showed new interest in classical music, but the most popular recordings were the syncopated or funny ones.

:24--

---SECOND HALF HOUR---

:30—Bach: Overture to Cantata No. 29, Jacques Loussier Trio, from Play Bach No. 4, 1963 [Philips 157 893]. On this album Loussier played both piano and organ.

:34—Bach: Chorale Prelude “Have Mercy, God,” BWV 721, Marie-Claire Alain, organ[Erato 91931]. Played straight. Then, what Loussier, Pierre Michelot and Christian Garros did with it.

:39—Bach: Chorale Prelude “Have Mercy, God,” BWV 721, Jacques Loussier Trio, from Play Bach No. 4, 1963 [Philips 157 893]. The same piece as Alain plays.

:44—B. Bumble & the Stingers: “Bumble Boogie,” 1946, from Oldies but Goodies Vol. 7 [OSCD 8857]. Jacques Loussier and the Swingle Singers had precursors. Big band leader and trumpet great Harry James did “Flight of the Bumble Bee” in 1941, and five years later this novelty record was a hit.

:47—Alberto Ginastera: Piano Sonata No. 1, finale, Free Flight, 1986 [CBS 42143]. Jim Walker, flute; Mike Garson, keyboards; Jim Lacefield, bass; Ralph Humphrey, drums. The first of two examples of what the jazzy Bach movement unleashed.

:52—Ravel: “Tombeau de Couperin,” opening move., Gary Burton, vibes; Makoto Ozone, piano, 2002 [Concord 2105]. 

:FILL—Bach: Bouree from the English Suite, The Swingle Singers, from “Bach’s Greatest Hits,” 1963 [Philips 824 703].

---THIRD HALF HOUR---

:01--Bach: Fugue No. 2 in C minor from WTC II, The Swingle Singers, from “Bach’s Greatest Hits,” 1963 [Philips 824 703].

:03—Bach: Fugue in D minor from Clavierbuchlein, 1973, Modern Jazz Quartet [Atlantic 1652].

:05—Debussy: “The Girl with the Flaxen Hair,” Jacques Loussier Trio, 2000 [Telarc 85511]. What Loussier is up to lately.

:10—Beethoven: Symphony No. 7, second move., Jacques Loussier Trio, 2003 [Telarc 83580]. Conflating the opening movement of the “Moonlight Sonata” with the funeral march from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.

:15—Ravel, arr. Nat Shilkret (1889-1982): “Bolero,” 1930, Nat Shilkret & His Orchestra [RCA Victor 63670]. Redone as a foxtrot: hilarious. Shilkret conducted the first recording of “An American in Paris” so he had classical chops. But Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton and the Dorsey Brothers are played in his dance band at some point.

:19—Bach: Fugue No. 5 in D major from WTC II, The Swingle Singers, from “Bach’s Greatest Hits,” 1963 [Philips 824 703].

:23—Bartok: “Stick Dance,” Ron Carter, with Kermit Moore conducting studio musicians [Blue Note 54559].

:27—Chip Davis: “Small Wooden Bachses,” Mannheim Steamroller [AGCD 50365]. The jazzed-up classics movement also led to people composing fresh music with classical overtones. The Fresh Aires albums of the late 1970s and 1980s are filled with examples. Composer Chip Davis actually calls what he writes “Renaissance Rock.”

---FOURTH HALF HOUR---

:30—Tchaikovsky: Overture from “Nutcracker,” Duke Ellington & Orchestra [CK 46825].

:34—Tchaikovsky: “The Nutrocker,” Emerson Lake & Palmer [Rhino 72225]. The original Nutrocker came out in the early 1950s, something of a sequel to “Bumble Boogie.”

:39—Tchaikovsky: March from “Nutcracker,” Duke Ellington & Orchestra [CK 46825]. Brilliant parody both of Ellington’s own “Rockin’ in Rhythm” and rival Count Basie spare playing style.

(TRICK QUESTION: WHICH BEETHOVEN SYMPHONY IS THIS?)

:45—Beethoven: Symphonies 1-9, The Cambridge Buskers [DG 423 400]. Answer: all nine of them, sort of.

:47—Bach: Fugue Np. 5 in D major from WTC Book I, The Swingle Singers, from “Bach’s Greatest Hits,” 1963 [Philips 824 703].

:49—Bach: Chorale Prelude, “Christ Over the Jordan Comes,” BWV 684, Jacques Loussier Trio, from Play Bach No. 4, 1963 [Philips 157 893]. Very fast, great bass work.

:54—Debussy: “The Sunken Cathedral,” Jacques Loussier Trio [Telarc 85511].

:FILL—Bach: Fugue No. 19 in A major, WTC Book I, The Swingle Swingers, from “Anyone for….” [Philips  826 948].