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Jacques Loussier

Jacques Loussier (France)

The Play Bach Trio caught the imagination of a generation. A cool, sophisticated, beautifully moulded sound appreciated by listeners from both camps, the jazz and the classical.

Line Up:

Jacques Loussier - piano
Dunoyer de Segonzac - bass
Andre Arpino - percussion

On Stage: 3
Travel party: 4


Jacques Loussier is commonly referred, to, as the "unclassifiable" musician of his generation, such has been the variety and unexpectedness of the paths along which he has built his musical career. There is no denying that Jacques Loussier always seems to appear where you least expect him. Rendered famous world-wide for his jazz adaptations of the works of Johann Sebastian Bach he has also played with the greatest variety acts, composed more than a hundred scores fort the cinema and television, gone into early retirement - at the age of 45 - to devote himself to musical research, experienced his own period of mysticism during which he composed a mass, then finally resumed his former complicity with the Master from Leipzig. Other composers in turn have helped to sustain this pioneering approach to harmony under the combined influences of jazz and classical music, including Vivaldi, Ravel, Satie, Debussy and Schumann. Jacques Loussier discovered his gift for the piano at the age of 10, somewhat by chance. His talent quickly led him to the "Conservatoire National de Musique de Paris" in the master class of Yves Nat. He left school 6 years later to travel the world, following the current of a wide mixture of musical adventures. The sounds of the Middle East, the rhythms of Latin America and espectially Cuba, where he spent one year, completed his somewhat unconventional schooling. Back in France, where he was now accompanying Catherine Sauvage and Charles Aznavour, he perfected the fun style he used to mess around with while at the Paris Conservatoire, which consisted in ad-libbing works by classical composers to the swing and beat of the latest jazz numbers. Bach, with his pure and, at first sight rather strait-laced lines, was the perfect target. But gradually, the composer's skill in counterpoint plus the full wealth and diversity of his melodies that offered so much in the way of improvisation turned the undergraduate joke into a genuine revelation. His natural affinity and points of convergence with the music of Jean Sebastien Bach persuaded Jacques Loussier to start out on his new musical adventure : in 1959, he formed his first Play Bach Trio, with Christian Garros on drums and Pierre Michelot playing double-bass. The venture was a resounding success : 15 years of tours, 6 million records sold and several gold disc awards in France and abroad. Jacques Loussier's reputation as a musical phenomenon was now firmly established. Backed by newfound fame, he received requests to compose for the world of cinema and television. He wrote the scores for films by Jean Pierre Melville, Alain Jessua, Jean Delanoy, Michel Audiard, went to Hollywood the returned to France, where he had everyone humming the theme tunes he wrote for the TV serials Thierry La Fronde and Vidocq. In 1980, he withdrew from the limelight. He disbanded the Play Bach Trio and settled in Miraval in the south of France, where he devoted his time to musical research. He wants to write his own music. He became immersed in the music of his own century, that of new sounds made possible by modern technology and composed a series of suites for piano and synthesisers with Luc Heller on percussion : these were "Pulsion"," Pagan Moon" and "Pulsion sous la mer". Then in 1985 came the tercentenary of the birth of Jean-Sebastien Bach. He was asked to return and perform his Play Bach compositions just about everywhere in Europe and also in the United States and Japan. He formed a new trio with percussionist Andr� Arpino, and Vincent Charbonnier, a double-bassist still studying at the Paris Conservatoire. They worked on a new repertoire, which produced an amazing example of complicity between the three musicians and took their art to new unprecedented levels. As has been the case throughout his career, he hallmarks his comeback with extremely varied musical styles. In 1986, he composed his first major symphonic work, "LUMIERES", a mass for soprano, alto, choir, percussion and orchestra. It was performed at the Festival of Liturgical Music at Paray-le-Monial in July 1987, conducted by J.P.Wallez and featuring James Bowman and Deborah Rees . It was given a rapturous reception by 2000 people and continues to be played across the world. Immediately afterwards, he composed successively a Concerto for trumpet, performed by Guy Touvron, a Concerto for violin dedicated to Jean Pierre Wallez, who performed the work at the Albi Festival in 1988, then the "Tableaux V�nitiens", a piece for strings. In 1989, coinciding with the Bicentennial of the French Revolution, he composed the music for the "Trois couleurs" ballet of Serge Golovine and Claude Bessy. The Paris Opera School of Ballet performed this at the Grand Palais in Paris. Now a master in a technique of adaptation and improvisation the likes of which the world has never seen before, Jacques Loussier accepted a new challenge and gave his own personal interpretation of Vivaldi's masterpiece, "The Four Seasons". The success he encountered at the Salle Pleyel in Paris and during his many tours prompted him to explore musical territory that he had always found fascinating : French music from the beginning of the 20th century. He adapted Erik Satie's Gymnop�dies, then turned his attention to Ravel's Bolero, to which he added a suite of short impressionist pieces "Les Nymph�as". (CD T�larc 83466) Lastly in 2000 he rounded off his exploration with the major work of Claude Debussy, whose preludes and orchestral works were adapted for his jazz Trio. Despite these infidelities to Bach, he never forgot what, or who, had made him into an international legend: For the 250th anniversary of the death of Jean-Sebastien Bach, Jacques Loussier returned to his master and recorded "Les Variations Goldberg". In 2001 also a CD "Baroque Favorites" is recorded and composed from major themes from Haendel, Marcello , Albinoni, Scarlatti et Marin Marais. Haendel inspired him again with another album in 2002 released by Telarc. 2003: Album Beethoven: Variations on the Allegretto from 7th SymphonY: T�larc (CD-83580). 2004: Recording of a solo album dedicated to the complete Nocturnes of Chopin. In January 2005, Jacques Loussier celebrated his 70th birthday with an acclaimed concert at the prestigious Champ Elys�es Theatre in Paris. To mark his return home to France he played an additional 15 concerts throughout the country. Later that year, Jacques Loussier was made "Commandeur des Arts et des Lettres" by the French Ministry of Culture as a lifetime career tribute. Jacques Loussier continues to release new work through Telarc. 2006 saw the release of two Mozart Concertos, N� 21 and 23. The Brandburger Concertos followed in 2007, as did a compilation of original compositions such as Violin Concerto N�1, Les Tableaux V�nitiens, Pi�ce Pour Cordes, the Trompet Concerto, and a new Play Bach CD. 2009 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first release of Play Bach in 1959. Telarc International – a division of Concord Music Group – celebrates this event with the release of a special CD : "Jacques Loussier Plays Bach : The 50th Anniversary Recording". Meanwhile, Jacques tours the globe with his trio, performing concerts in London, Buenos Aires, Berlin, San Diego, Rio and Japan planned for the end of 2010. The year 2009 ends with a number of record-breaking performances of more than 3000 concerts . It consecrated Jacques Loussier once and for all as one of the key pianists of his generation who, by placing himself at the crossroads between different musical styles, has profoundly marked his day and age.


1969 You Only Love Once - London
1987 In Loussier's Mood - Polydor
1987 Reflections of Bach - Capitol
1992 Images - Castle
1992 Bach to Bach - Sound
1996 Jacques Loussier Plays Bach - Telarc
1997 The Four Seasons - Telarc
1997 Play Bach, Vol. 1-2 - Musidisc
1998 Satie: Gymnop�dies Gnossiennes - Telarc
1999 Ravel: Bolero - Telarc
1999 Bach's Goldberg Variations - Telarc
1999 Bach Book 40th Anniversary Album - Telarc
2000 Take Bach - Elektra/Asylum
2000 The Music of Debussy - Telarc
2001 Play Bach, Vol. 1 - Polygram
2001 Play Bach, Vol. 2 - Polygram
2001 Baroque Favorites - Telarc
2002 Play Bach [2002] - Prism Leisure
2002 Handel: Water Music - Telarc
2003 Allegretto from Symphony No. 7 - Telarc
2003 Very Best Of - Decca
2004 Impressions on Chopin's Nocturnes - Telarc Distribution
2005 Beach to Beach - Silver Star Records
2005 Mozart: Piano Concertos - Telarc Distribution
2006 Bach: The Brandenburgs - Telarc Distribution
2007 Jacques Loussier Plays Bach - Telarc Jazz Zone
2008 Tu Seras Terriblement Gentille - Universal
2009 Play Bach 50th Anniversary Recording - Telarc

YouTube Videos:

Concerto in D Major

Toccata And Fugue in D Minor

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