26.10. – Happy Birthday !!! 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 Jean Sébastien 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.
Only incomparable virtuosity has enabled him to pursue such a career, and it was as much these many different expreiments as the excellence of the musical performance that accompanied them that prompted Bernard Gavoty, the famous French musicologist, to say: “Loussier the word’s finest pianist ? In his own style, without a doubt.”
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.