Jacques LoussierJacques 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 Johann Sebastian 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.
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, then returned to France. In 1980, he withdrew from the limelight. He disbanded the Play Bach Trio and settled in Miraval in the south of France. He composed a series of suites for piano and synthesisers with Luc Heller on percussion.
Then in 1985 came the tercentenary of the birth of Johann Sebastian Bach. He was asked to return and perform his Play Bach compositions. He formed a new trio with percussionist André Arpino, and Vincent Charbonnier, a double-bassist still studying at the Paris Conservatoire. In 1986, he composed his first major symphonic work, "Lumières", a mass for soprano, alto, choir, percussion and orchestra.
Jacques Loussier accepted a new challenge and gave his own personal interpretation of Vivaldi's masterpiece, "Le quattro stagioni". He explored now musical territory that he had always found fascinating : French music from the beginning of the 20th century. He adapted Erik Satie's Gymnopédies, then turned his attention to Ravel's Bolero, to which he added a suite of short impressionist pieces "Les Nymphéas". Lastly in 2000 he rounded off his exploration with the major work of Claude Debussy.
For the 250th anniversary of the death of J.S. Bach, Jacques Loussier returned to his master and recorded "Die Goldberg Variationen". 2009 marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first release of Play Bach in 1959. Meanwhile, Jacques tours the globe with his trio.
Jacques Loussier died in March 2019.
Play Bach No. 4
Decca 157893-2 (SSL 40516)
recorded 1963 in France
Jacques Louissier, piano, organ
Pierre Michelot, bass
Christian Garros, drums, percussion
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