If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.
You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...
Jazz trio treatment of classical music is nothing new. French pianist Jacques Loussier has been doing it for 30 years with releases like Bach: The Brandenburgs (Telarc, 2006) and Mozart Piano Concertos 20/23 (Telarc, 2006), among many others. So, Alex Baboian's Piano Bench might not appear as novel as it is. But it is unique in that guitarist Baboian arranges late-Romantic piano compositions for the jazz guitar trio.
No Bach, no Mozart, no Beethoven, all are too early for Baboian's forward thinking. Give him Satie, Ravel, Bartok and Scriabin any day. With devilish alchemy and finely honed iron, Baboian modulates his classical treatments through mood and darkness on Satie's "Trois gnossiennes: No. 1," a piece likely recognisable to all listeners. Deep reverb and round tones add to the crepuscular air of the piece. Baboian captures the same drift on Satie's "Trois Gymnopedies: No. 1," spatial and dreamy.
But the guitarist does not always play nice. On Paul Hindemith's "Second Piano Sonata Movement I: Massig Schnell" Baboian hits the overdrive, blowing dust everywhere. The trio cooperates well on this craggy piece, never letting it spin out of control. Spin out of control? No, that is what happens Alexei Stanchinsky's "12 Sketches." Here, the trio becomes a power trio reminiscent of Billy Cobham's work with Tommy Bolin and the Jonas Hellborg-Shawn Lane collaborations. Piano Bench is a uniformly fine disc with everything to offer in pushing boundaries.
I was first exposed to jazz while learning to play chess with my uncles. They would play smooth jazz, and then switch up to more standard types of jazz. But, when they played Kind of Blue by Miles Davis, I was
hooked and I haven't looked back.