Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Jacques Loussier Trio - Beethoven: Allegretto from Symphony No.7 "Theme & Variations" (2003) [TELARC]

Jacques Loussier Trio - Beethoven: Allegretto from Symphony No.7 "Theme & Variations" (2003) [TELARC]
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Genre ~ Jazz/Classical Fusion | Label ~ TELARC

French musical savant Jacques Loussier boasts an illustrious background that includes admittance to the prestigious Parisian Conservatoire National de Musique while still a teenager. His interests in rock -- counting Pink Floyd's The Wall and the Lords of the New Church's 1984 Method to Our Madness -- as well as jazz have prevented the artist from being categorized by style or genre. 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. For purists of either, there will inevitably be discrepancies in the trio's elucidations and reinventions. However, the less critical listener will find much to enjoy, gaining a better understanding if not appreciation for both in the process. When removed from the traditional context, Symphony No. 7's inherent pacing and overall sentiment are inextricably transformed. This is not only in essence the purpose of the fusion, but also results in the melodies being taken to another level. As should be anticipated, several of the adaptations (which are delineated numerically: "Variation One," "Variation Two," etc.) are pulled off with alternate degrees of success. Some, like the first, fourth, seventh, and ninth variations in particular, are notably liberated and swing with authority. Conversely, the third and fifth arguably seem fettered and uncertain. That said, seasoned enthusiasts as well as the nominally curious are encouraged to sample and personalize their own preferences regarding these bold and (at the very least) adventurous excursions. ~Allmusic

01. Theme (5:48)
02. Variation One (3:19)
03. Variation Two (5:31)
04. Variation Three (4:28)
05. Variation Four (3:43)
06. Variation Five (3:54)
07. Variation Six (4:51)
08. Variation Seven (4:29)
09. Variation Eight (4:23)
10. Variation Nine (5:26)
11. Variation Ten (5:42)

Jacques Loussier - piano
Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac - bass
Andre Arpino - drums

Recorded at Studio de la Grande Armee - Paris, France; March 2003
Producers: Jacques Loussier and Elizabeth Note
Sound Engineer: Philippe Laffont
Editor: Jacques Loussier
Executive Producer: Robert Woods
Production Supervisor: Erica Brenner
Designed by Jim Burt, Burt & Burt Studios
Art direction by Anilda Carrasquillo
Liner notes by Alyn Shipton