Notes and Editorial Reviews
BACH IN JAZZ
Martin Petzold (ten); Stephan-König Trio
RONDEAU 6048 (63:11 Text and Translation)
Here’s something altogether unique: not a set of improvisations on Bach themes as such, but a series of arias from Bach’s cantatas and passions arranged for tenor and jazz trio, interspersed with instrumental movements from the
and orchestral suites BWV 1067–68. Martin Petzold calls this collection of pieces
Er ist meines Lebens
He Is the Strength of My Life.
What I find so interesting about this disc is that Petzold, though a self-confessed jazz lover, thought better of improvising around Bach’s written melodic lines. Rather, he sings them pretty much as written, only with jazz inflections within the rhythm of the vocal line, while the piano trio improvises around him. And what a splendid trio it is! In addition to the very natural influences one would expect, Jacques Loussier and Claude Bolling, I also hear elements of Dave Brubeck, Vince Guaraldi, McCoy Tyner, and Bill Evans in the playing of pianist Stephan König, and the influences of several jazz bassists in the work of Thomas Stahr.
If I have one reservation about the recording, it is that Petzold is sometimes over-recorded in balance with the trio. He seems to be using a separate microphone from the instrumentalists, and there are indeed moments where even a medium-loud high note sounds so closely recorded that it tends to blast the mic, but for the most part the engineer did try to balance things pretty well.
There is a special pleasure to realize that Petzold is the cantor at St. Thomas Church in Leipzig, which of course was Bach’s musical home for decades. He certainly is an exceptional light tenor, and knows this style intimately. I wonder if he has performed any of these jazz arrangements at the Leipzig church; I wish he would, anyway!
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Works on This Recording
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