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As with his CD The Bach Book , Jacques Loussier is again embellishing the work of another master composer on this recent Telarc release entitled Ravel's Bolero. This CD is as much, and even more so about Loussier's own compositional abilities, for with the exception of the title cut, all songs were composed and arranged by Loussier.
As great a record as the Bach Book is, Bolero easily surpasses it on many different levels. Maybe it's the fact that Loussier and Ravel share a common heritage and nationality, or that Loussier's formative years where spent studying with Yves Nat, himself a disciple of Ravel. It's this reviewers opinion that Ravel is just more of a modern figure than Bach, and being that there is less of a gap in the lineage between Ravel and modern players like Loussier, Ravel's music is simply more accessible, leaving a lot of space for creative improvisations. Take the title cut for example, an extended line played over a pedal point. With such minimalism at work, Loussier is able to extend over and beyond the composers harmonic conception, by improvising complex lines that revolve around, and are at times intertwined with original theme.
A feeling of impressionism and noir prevail throught this CD from the opening Bolero, which faithfully reproduces the exotic flavor of Ravel's original score, within the confines of the piano trio. Although the piece Nympheas, with it's seven movements, was composed by Loussier; it's various themes filled with violent storms and eerie silence, manage to suggest melodies and harmonies found within the repetitive structure of Ravel's Bolero. It is clear that Loussier and trio are playing off one another, and demonstrating extreme control over the use of time, tone, and timbre. The music on this disc represents homage being paid to one master gone, from another master living.
France, you can keep Jerry Lewis; just give us more Jacques Loussier!
Track Listing: Bolero; Nympheas- I. Allegro; II. Andante; III. Vivace; IV. Largo; V. Presto; VI. Cantabile; VII. Prestissimo
Personnel: Jacques Loussier (piano); Benoit Dunoyer De Segonzac (bass); Andre' Arpino (drums)