WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Jacques Loussier Trio Play Bach ...and More [blu-ray]

Bach / Debussy / Loussier / Arpino / Segonzac
Release Date: 02/25/2014 
Label:  Euroarts   Catalog #: 2054064  
Composer:  Johann Sebastian BachClaude DebussyErik SatieMaurice Ravel
Performer:  André ArpinoBenoît Dunoyer de SegonzacJacques Loussier
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
Number of Discs: 1 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  
Blu-ray Video:  $36.99
Low Stock

Notes and Editorial Reviews

This Blu-ray Disc is only playable on Blu-ray Disc players and not compatible with standard DVD or HD DVD players.

Also available on standard DVD


I used to say that in the 1960s the Modern Jazz Quartet was the favorite jazz group of people who didn’t like jazz. I forgot the Jacques Loussier Trio, which, featuring drummer Christian Garros and a wonderful bassist, Pierre Michelot, blanketed the decade with a half dozen best-selling recordings. Loussier is said to have sold six million LPs. He had a gimmick, if you want to call it that: he improvised elegantly on themes of Bach, so his records were called “Play Bach
Read more Volumes One to Five.” Later there was “Play Bach in 4 Phase Stereo.” I don’t know where else they were sold, but I know his records were everywhere on Ivy League campuses.

Jazz critics, who then tended to be special kinds of ideologues and keepers of the flame, dismissed him. There was an inherent bias against anything popular, of course, but Loussier was also French, never (in my hearing) played a blues, and out-sold Bud Powell and Monk combined. I took a middle view. For one thing, Loussier came by his repertoire honestly. He played the Anna Magdalena book compulsively as a child, and began to improvise on the themes for its own sake. When he went to the Paris Conservatoire, he was encouraged by his classmates to play his version of Bach. I am not sure how he convinced French Decca to record his first album of Bachian improvisations, but the success of that record meant he could stop playing behind singers in what he says were nasty nightclubs. How else, one might ask, could a classically trained French pianist make it in the jazz world? More important, his playing was never without interest. He noticed, in a way that was less common then than now, that Bach wrote beautiful melodies, and lots of them. Bach wasn’t merely the Air on a G String and then a bunch of academic exercises. Loussier has a beautiful, light touch, and he found a graceful way of interacting with his trio. He produced lucid, gently swinging recordings that were charming in their own way.

As this disc suggests, he is still producing such music. The DVD captures a concert with the unsmiling pianist in a beautiful church in Leipzig. He plays a succession of themes by Bach, interrupted by Debussy’s Arabesque and L’isle joyeuse, Satie’s Gymnopedie No. 1 and—this was a surprise—Ravel’s Bolero. Aside from the church and an attentive audience, there is not much to see. Loussier has little charisma—he can barely bring himself to smile on the group photo on the back cover. He is accompanied by a carefully restrained drummer and an excellent bassist, Benoit Dunoyer de Segonzac. He makes the familiar melodies sing as usual. He never makes a mistake. He’s pleasant to listen to. I remember telling a friend who owned Loussier’s records in the mid 1960s, Yeah, but what about Monk? My friend found Monk ugly, and most of the jazz I played too aggressive. For listeners like that, and I don’t scorn them, Loussier was a find. He still is.

Michael Ullman, FANFARE
reviewing the DVD version Read less

Works on This Recording

Work(s) by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  André Arpino (Drums), Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac (Double Bass), Jacques Loussier (Piano)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
Period: Baroque 
Arabesques (2) for Piano: Excerpt(s) by Claude Debussy
Performer:  André Arpino (Drums), Jacques Loussier (Piano), Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac (Double Bass)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1888-1891; France 
L'isle joyeuse by Claude Debussy
Performer:  Jacques Loussier (Piano), Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac (Double Bass), André Arpino (Drums)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904; France 
Gymnopédies (3) for Piano: no 1, Lent et douloureux by Erik Satie
Performer:  Jacques Loussier (Piano), Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac (Double Bass), André Arpino (Drums)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1888; France 
Boléro by Maurice Ravel
Performer:  Jacques Loussier (Piano), Benoît Dunoyer de Segonzac (Double Bass), André Arpino (Drums)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Jacques Loussier Trio
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; France 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  2 Customer Reviews )
 Jacques Loussier Trio: Classical to Jazz - First  May 15, 2014 By Luke Bryant (Oakleigh South, Victoria) See All My Reviews "There was a short period in the late 1940's that I worked in a woollen textile factory before entering a selected profession. The factory's management decided to entertain their employee's by recorded music, played throughout the building, so each of the 200 or so employees were given the following questioner. What type of musical entertainment do you prefer? Pop, or Jazz, or Classical music? The results were fascinating. While pop music scored very low indeed, Classical Music and Jazz rated very high - and interestingly enough - equal! Those memories bring me to the recent issue of the Jacques Loussier Trio, first formed in 1959 when they used Bach's compositions as a base for jazz improvisation that were originally recorded for Decca, before switching to Philips/Phonogram in 1973, then in 1978, Loussier set up his own recording studio in Provence. As I have previously published, I am not a musician, just a serious listener of classical music, these days recorded on Blue-ray Disc, with an added interest in image and sound quality that is of paramount importance for the full enjoyment of high-quality music. This recording of the Jacques Loussier Trio gets my five stars for picture excellence and another five stars for HD sound quality. Luke Bryant." Report Abuse
 Bolero--as never before March 14, 2014 By Ken K. (Lexington, KY) See All My Reviews "No matter how many times you have heard it, you have not heard a Bolero quite like this one. It's jazz---and more; it's classical---and more; it's sui generis---and more. Beautifully played, exquisitely filmed, and worth the DVDs price just for this one selection. Even Ravel, I suspect, would have liked this version. It's so different the best advice is..listen, and prepare to be amazed at the artistry involved. BTW, the sound is just as outstanding as the playing and the visual production." Report Abuse
Review This Title