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One of the biggest questions that aspiring jazz pianists ask me is, “What do I do with my left hand?” Once you get a sense of what’s possible for the left hand, you can then decide which technique to use on each tune you play. A lot of this will depend on your own approach to each song and also on the style of the musicians you’re playing with as well as the particular playing situation you’re in.
To give you a good sense of this, I’ve arranged the great jazz classic “Oh, Lady Be Good” using the 5 most popular left-hand styles in jazz piano. Learn each one thoroughly and analyze how the particular technique relates to the underlying chords.
Then choose the one or two techniques you like best and use them on your favorite jazz standards.
The first part shows a “stride piano” technique typical of early jazz and the swing era of the 1930s and early 40s. The right hand is reminiscent of Count Basie’s great 1936 recording of the tune.
Second Part: a walking bass line.
Now let’s learn a walking bass line. This technique can be used in many types of jazz, from swing to post-bop styles. You can walk bass lines when playing solo piano, or if you’re accompanying a vocalist or instrumentalist, and no bass player is present. I’ve added a few chord substitutions that are commonly played during the middle section, or “bridge.”
Part 3: a melodic bass line
My piano teacher Billy Taylor told me that when he was playing in the early 1940s, bass players were developing a melodic way of playing walking bass lines (similar to the bass line I wrote in the Part 2.
Dr. Taylor vividly remembered bass players asking him to stop playing stride and to voice his LH chords higher up on the piano, to stay out of their way.
The “shell” voicings I show here were very common during the bebop era. By including the root and either 3rd or 7th of each chord, they give enough to indicate the basic tonality while letting the bass player and soloist (or right hand) use any melodic notes they prefer.
Notice how I’ve added some bebop-style embellishments to the RH melody. I’ve also changed many of the 6th chords to Maj7, and added an ending that’s typical of the bebop era.
Part 4: “shell voicings.
LH “shell” voicings with the root, 3rd, and 7th of each chord can give a surprisingly full sound. Even Bill Evans, who popularized the rich A and B voicings found in our next lesson, often used these more basic voicings when playing solo piano. Don’t worry if your hands aren’t large enough to stretch the 10th that some of these require. You can simply re-arrange those voicings to be root, 3rd and 7th, as in the second measure here.
The RH part is exactly the same as in lesson 3, so you can compare the difference in the LH sound between the 2 and 3-note voicings.
Part 5: A and B rootless voicings.
Here are the famous left hand ‘A and B’ voicings, popularized by Bill Evans. Even though these voicings are the basis of much contemporary jazz playing, you’ll learn a lot more as a player is you work through all 5 of these lessons in order, so you understand where how these rootless voicings developed historically.
(And as a bonus, you’ll know 5 great LH techniques, whereas a lot of jazz pianists nowadays only know one way to play!) Notice how I’ve moved the RH up an octave in spots to keep it out of the left hand’s way.
Have fun learning these LH techniques and applying them to your favorite jazz standards!
The Magician In You: Journey Through The Real Book #221 (Jazz Piano Lesson)
Understanding the context of jazz standards 0:00 Keith Jarrett’s early period 0:42 1970s jazz-rock 1:33 A similar groove from Elton John 2:19 The tune’s shifting harmonic centers 3:37 How to practice hearing your way melodically through the changes 5:14 Keith Jarrett’s famous one-chord vamps 5:58 Planning the performance 6:31 Beginning with the introductory vamp 6:56
Stating the melody 7:22 The short vamp between choruses 8:19 Improvising a melodic solo 8:24 Using faster rhythms in the improvised line 8:53 Varying a country-rock lick 8:58 A touch of the blues 9:05 A fast arpeggio 9:08 Simplifying the solo 9:16 Parallel 6ths 9:19 Extending the Bbm7/Eb vamp 9:22 Improvising over the chord changes 9:35 Coltrane’s “sheets of sound” 9:41 A more folksy sound 9:51 Developing a motif 9:56 More country-rock 10:07
Highlighting the gospel music influence 10:23 Keeping the vamp brief this time 10:30 Fast soloing over the changes 10:37 A little bebop 10:55 Improvising with trills 11:00 Playful rhythms and rhythmic variety 11:07 Parallel 3rds over the extended vamp 11:37 Using the Eb Mixolydian mode 11:43 Going outside the changes 12:27 “Call and response” 12:34 Middle Eastern-influenced modal playing 12:56 Going “outside” over the pedal point 13:14 Bringing in a little funk 13:25 Coming in for a landing 13:33
Using a calmer LH texture under the melody 13:42 Becoming rhythmic again, for contrast 13:55 The final vamp, and “fade” 14:39 Looking for hints of Jarrett’s later playing style 14:57 Enjoying our journey through The Real Book 15:27 Play piano with more joy and less stress 15:40
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson, ou comme on l’appelait souvent, “Le roi du swing intérieur”, était l’un des artistes de musique jazz les plus influents et les plus réussis du XXe siècle. Capable de créer des mélodies divines et harmonieuses, ce pianiste et compositeur de jazz avait de la magie dans sa musique.
Avec ses mélodies apaisantes et harmonieuses, il a conquis le cœur de millions de personnes en créant une musique qui transcende les frontières culturelles et fait vivre aux gens un pur bonheur. Sa musique reflétait des émotions et des messages puissants, qui visaient à répandre la positivité, l’espoir et à connecter les gens avec ses merveilleuses créations musicales.
Considéré comme l’un des plus grands pianistes de jazz, il a eu une carrière impressionnante qui a duré plus de six décennies. Influençant et impactant le genre musical jazz, Oscar Peterson a donné au monde quelques-uns des meilleurs jazzmen jamais connus.
Les premières années d’Oscar Peterson
Né et éduqué à Montréal, au Québec, il a été élevé par sa famille composée d’immigrants des Antilles. Son père travaillait comme bagagiste pour les Chemins de fer du Canadien Pacifique. Ayant grandi dans le quartier de la Petite-Bourgogne à Montréal, la musique jazz et sa culture avaient pris racine profondément chez Oscar depuis le tout début.
À l’âge de cinq ans, Oscar avait perfectionné et perfectionné ses compétences à la trompette et au piano, mais en raison d’un épisode de tuberculose à l’âge de sept ans, il n’était plus capable de jouer de la trompette et a donc concentré toutes ses énergies sur le jeu de la trompette et le piano.
Ses premiers professeurs de musique comprenaient son père, qui était un trompettiste et pianiste amateur, et sa sœur, qui lui a appris le piano classique.
Au cours de ses premières années, Oscar a étudié avec le pianiste d’origine hongroise Paul de Marky, qui était un élève d’Istvan Thoman, et donc son apprentissage initial du piano était plus axé sur le côté classique. Mais bientôt son attention fut attirée par le jazz traditionnel et le boogie-woogie, ce qui l’inspira à apprendre diverses pièces de ragtime. Et peu de temps après, à l’âge de neuf ans, Oscar Peterson avait perfectionné son art et pouvait jouer du piano avec grâce et élégance, impressionnant même les musiciens professionnels.
Dans les années suivantes, il étudie et apprend le piano et pratique quatre à six heures par jour. Il était vraiment passionné et dédié à la musique de tout son cœur. En 1940, alors qu’Oscar avait quatorze ans, il remporte le concours national de musique organisé par la Société Radio-Canada.
Avec une oreille fine pour la musique, Oscar a décidé de devenir musicien professionnel. Et peu de temps après, il abandonna l’école, où il jouait également dans un groupe avec Maynard Ferguson. Après avoir quitté l’école, Oscar est devenu pianiste professionnel et a joué dans une émission de radio hebdomadaire, et en même temps, il jouait dans des auditoriums et des hôtels. Pendant son adolescence, il a par ailleurs été membre du Johnny Holmes Orchestra.
Mais au fur et à mesure que sa carrière musicale progressait, il commença à se concentrer sur le boogie-woogie et le swing, inspiré par des artistes comme Nat King Cole et Teddy Wilson. De 1945 à 1949, Oscar travaille en trio et enregistre pour Victoria Records. Et au moment où il avait atteint la vingtaine, Oscar s’était créé une image impressionnante en raison de ses incroyables talents musicaux, et était souvent considéré comme un pianiste techniquement brillant et mélodiquement inventif.
La carrière musicale d’Oscar Peterson
La manière dont Oscar a rencontré Norman Granz n’était rien de moins qu’une scène de film. Sur le chemin de l’aéroport, Norman Granz a entendu la radio qui diffusait depuis un club local et a été hypnotisé par l’étonnante musique de piano jazz qu’il a entendue.
Il a ensuite dit au chauffeur de taxi de l’emmener dans ce club particulier afin qu’il puisse rencontrer le talentueux pianiste de jazz. Et c’est là qu’il a rencontré Oscar Peterson.
Plus tard, il a également présenté Oscar à New York lors d’un concert ‘Jazz at the Philharmonic’. Norman fut le manager d’Oscar pendant la majeure partie de sa carrière musicale. En 1950, Oscar a travaillé en duo avec le contrebassiste Ray Brown, puis a ajouté le guitariste Barney Kessel.
Peu de temps après, Herb Ellis a remplacé Barney Kessel et le trio était ensemble de 1953 à 1958, souvent en tournée avec ‘Jazz at the Philharmonic’. Ce trio était considéré comme la collaboration la plus sensationnelle et la plus stimulante, que ce soit lors de représentations publiques ou d’enregistrements en studio.
Peu de temps après, Oscar a formé un trio avec le guitariste Joe Pass et le bassiste Niels-Henning Orsted-Pedersen, et a enregistré leur album légendaire ‘The Trio’ qui a remporté le Grammy Award 1974 pour la meilleure performance de musique jazz par un groupe. Le trio a ensuite créé certaines des musiques de jazz et de piano jazz les plus agréables et apaisants jamais créées. Et en 1974, Oscar a ajouté le batteur britannique Martin Drew à son groupe. Leur quatuor a été une collaboration fructueuse et a fait de nombreuses tournées et enregistrés dans le monde entier.
Plus tard, Oscar Peterson a également sorti ses enregistrements pour piano solo, qui présentaient son piano jazz solo, et a sorti une série d’albums intitulée ‘Exclusive for My Friends’. Oscar a enregistré plusieurs albums à succès avec divers musiciens tout au long de cette période jusqu’à ce qu’il ait un accident vasculaire cérébral. À la fin des années 1980 et 1990, après s’être remis d’un accident vasculaire cérébral, il se produit et enregistre avec son protégé Benny Green.
Au cours des années 1990 et 2000, il a enregistré plusieurs albums magnifiques et a offert au monde de la musique jazz de remarquables créations pour piano solo.
Inspirations et influences
La musique avait inspiré et attiré Oscar dès son plus jeune âge. Lorsque son père a joué un disque de ‘Tiger Rag’ d’Art Tatum, il a été fasciné et impressionné par la musique mélodieuse. Il a été influencé par des artistes légendaires comme Teddy Wilson, James P. Johnson, Nat King Cole et Art Tatum.
Il remercie également sa sœur de lui avoir enseigné le piano comme aucun autre professeur, et comment elle a enseigné et influencé sa carrière musicale. Sous la direction de sa sœur, Oscar Peterson a maîtrisé le cœur de la musique classique pour piano et a tout appris, des gammes aux préludes et fugues.
La santé et les dernières années d’Oscar
Alors qu’Oscar Peterson était un musicien incroyable et étonnant, il souffrait d’arthrite depuis sa jeunesse. Et plus tard, victime d’un accident vasculaire cérébral en 1993, celui-ci affaiblit son côté gauche et l’éloigne de la musique et du piano pendant près de deux ans.
Bien qu’Oscar ait récupéré et amélioré son côté gauche après l’AVC, son jeu de piano et sa capacité à jouer au maximum ont diminué. Il a ensuite ajusté son jeu et sa musique reposait principalement sur sa main droite. Plus tard, en 2007, la santé d’Oscar a commencé à se détériorer et le 23 décembre 2007, il est décédé à son domicile de Mississauga, en Ontario, en raison d’une insuffisance rénale.
La légende du piano jazz et son parcours remarquable
La musique est un langage qui ne parle pas avec des mots, il parle avec des émotions. Et le jazz est l’un de ces styles de musique qui passe par les oreilles et mène droit au cœur.
Oscar Peterson était l’un des musiciens de jazz les plus influents de notre époque et il a vraiment donné au monde du jazz des créations incroyables et stellaires. Souvent appelé « le Maharaja du clavier », il était un maître de son art et s’est produit lors de milliers de concerts dans le monde entier. Tout au long de son incroyable carrière musicale, Oscar Peterson a sorti plus de 200 enregistrements, a remporté huit prix Grammy, dont le ‘Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award’, et divers autres prix et distinctions comme le ‘International Lifetime Achievement Award’.
Considéré comme l’un des plus grands pianistes de jazz de tous les temps, Oscar Peterson est véritablement une légende. Écoutez la merveilleuse musique de piano jazz solo d’Oscar Peterson et de nombreux autres musiciens de jazz sur Calm Radio.
Leroy Anderson (June 29, 1908 – May 18, 1975) was an American composer of short, light-hearted concert pieces, many of which were premiered by the Boston Pops Orchestra under Arthur Fiedler. John Williams has described him ‘as one of America’s greatest masters of light orchestral music’.
Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts to Swedish parents, Leroy Anderson received his first piano lessons from his mother, who was an organist. He continued his piano lessons with Henry Gideon at the New England Conservatory of Music, and also took double bass lessons with Gaston Dufresne in Boston.
In 1926, Leroy Anderson entered Harvard, where he studied theory with Walter Spalding, counterpoint with Edward Ballantine, harmony with Georges Enesco, and composition with Walter Piston, earning his Bachelor of Arts in 1929 and his Master of Arts in 1930.
In August 1946, he composed the famous title ‘Sleigh Ride’, also known as ‘Promenade en Traineau’, (piece for the holidays and Christmas Day) during a heat wave.
Unusual instrumentation, or ‘instruments,’ frequently appears in various of Anderson’s music. Sandpaper Ballet uses sandpaper, The Typewriter uses a typewriter, Sleigh Ride uses sleigh bells, The Phantom Regiment uses neighing horses, The Waltzing Cat has the orchestra imitating cat meowing, and The Syncopated Clock uses a grandfather clock. The Syncopated Clock was chosen by WCBS as the theme for The Late Show in 1950. The track was Anderson’s first chart success, reaching number 12 on the US singles chart in the spring of 1951.
Then, in June 1952, the title Blue Tango was number 1 on the American charts for five weeks.
In 1958, Anderson set the fairy tale ‘Goldilocks’ to music, for which he wrote 18 pieces of music. The musical ran for 161 performances from October 11, 1958, to February 28, 1959, on Broadway at the Lunt-Fontanne Theater and earned actors Russell Nype Best Actor and Pat Stanley Best Actress Tony Awards.
In 2006, one of his piano famous works, Forgotten Dreams, became the soundtrack for a British television advert for a mobile phone company.
(in alphabetical order)
Alma Mater (1954)
Belle of the Ball (1951)
Birthday Party (1970)
Blue Tango (1951)
Bugler’s Holiday (1954)
Cambridge Centennial March of Industry (1946)
The Captains and the Kings (1962)
Chicken Reel (1946)
China Doll (1951)
A Christmas Festival (1950) (9:00)
A Christmas Festival (1952) (5:45)
Clarinet Candy (1962)
Classical Jukebox (1950)
Concerto in C Major for Piano and Orchestra (1953)
The Cowboy and His Horse (1966)
Do You Think That Love Is Here To Stay? (1935)
Easter Song (194-)
The First Day of Spring (1954)
Forgotten Dreams (1954)
The Girl in Satin (1953)
The Golden Years (1962)
Goldilocks Overture (1958)
Come to Me (1958)
Guess Who (1958)
Heart of Stone (Pyramid Dance) (1958)
He’ll Never Stray (1958)
If I Can’t Take it With Me (1958)
I Never Know When to Say When (1958)
Lady in Waiting (1958)
Lazy Moon (1958)
Little Girls (1958)
My Last Spring (1958)
Save a Kiss (1958)
Shall I Take My Heart and Go? (1958)
Tag-a-long Kid (1958)
The Pussy Foot (1958)
Town House Maxixe (1958)
Who’s Been Sitting in My Chair? (1958)
Governor Bradford March (1948)
Harvard Fantasy (1936)
Hens and Chickens (1966)
Home Stretch (1962)
Horse and Buggy (1951)
THE IRISH SUITE (1947 & 1949)
The Irish Washerwoman (1947)
The Minstrel Boy (1947)
The Rakes of Mallow (1947)
The Wearing of the Green (1949)
The Last Rose of Summer (1947)
The Girl I Left Behind Me (1949)
Jazz Legato (1938)
Jazz Pizzicato (1938)
Love May Come and Love May Go (1935)
Lullaby of the Drums (1970)
March of the Two Left Feet (1970)
Melody on Two Notes (1966)
Mother’s Whistler (1940)
The Music in My Heart (1935)
An Old Fashioned Song (196-)
Old MacDonald Had a Farm (1947)
The Penny Whistle Song (1951)
The Phantom Regiment (1951)
Piece for Rolf (1961)
Plink, Plank, Plunk! (1951)
Sandpaper Ballet (1954)
SCOTTISH SUITE (1954)
The Bluebells of Scotland
Turn Ye To Me
Second Regiment, Connecticut National Guard March (1973)
Die Ouvertüre, die J.S. Bachs Erste Orchestersuite wurde auf einem bewährten, bereits bestehenden Modell aufgebaut. Man könnte es sogar eine Formel nennen.
Es war die stilvolle „Französische Ouvertüre“ aus den 1650er Jahren, die die Ballette von Jean-Baptiste Lully (1632-1687) eröffnete, einem Komponisten, der den Großteil seines Lebens am Hof Ludwigs XIV. verbrachte. Die französische Ouvertüre beginnt mit einem majestätischen langsamen Abschnitt, der aus stattlichen punktierten Rhythmen besteht, die für einen König geeignet sind.
Dies führt zu einem schnelleren Abschnitt voller imitierender, frugaler Kontrapunkte. All das können Sie in der Ouvertüre zu Lullys Comédie-ballet von 1670, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, hören. Vielleicht träumte Prinz Leopold, Bachs Dienstherr in Köthen, davon, ein Stück der künstlerischen Opulenz zu importieren, die ein fester Bestandteil der Regierungszeit des Sonnenkönigs (die von 1643 bis 1715 dauerte) gewesen war.
In der Ersten Orchestersuite, die irgendwann vor 1725 komponiert wurde, folgte Bach der Formel treu. Die folgenden Sätze (Courante, Gavotte I und II, Forlane, Menuett I und II, Bourreé I und II, Passepied I und II) verwenden barocke Tanzformen, die sowohl in Frankreich als auch in Italien beliebt waren. Doch innerhalb der Grenzen dieser populären Formen öffnet Bach die Tür zu reiner Magie.
Hören Sie sich ab den Eröffnungstakten die reichhaltige Konversation zwischen den Stimmen an, die alle Grenzen zwischen „Melodie“ und „Harmonie“ verwischt. Im schnelleren Fugenabschnitt splittern Gruppen von Soloinstrumenten ab und machen dies zu einem virtuellen Concerto Grosso.
Diese Stimmen werden mit einem ebenso aufregenden Sinn für Dramatik in den Tänzen lebendig. Beachten Sie in Gavotte II die fanfarenartige Linie der Violine, die sich hinterhältig um die Oboen und das Continuo windet.
Darauf folgt der Forlane, der seine Wurzeln als ausgelassener italienischer Straßentanz hat, oft mit Mandolinen und Kastagnetten. In Bachs Forlane erzeugen wirbelnde Linien in den inneren Streicherstimmen ein Gefühl überbordender Vorwärtsbewegung. Zahlreiche zusätzliche Abenteuer entfalten sich in den Sätzen kontrastierender Tänze der Suite.
Auch nach dem Tod Ludwigs des Vierzehnten träumte jeder Prinz hin und wieder von einem Hof wie dem des Sonnenkönigs. Und was passte besser zu einem solchen Hof als eine französische Ouvertüre?
Sehr wenig Instrumentalmusik von Bach ist erhalten geblieben. Und wir wissen praktisch nichts darüber, wann, warum oder für wen die erhaltene Musik geschrieben wurde. Dasselbe gilt für diese Suite, die in Stil und Atmosphäre der von Lully am Hof Ludwigs des Vierzehnten geschriebenen Tanzmusik entspricht: eine Reihe stilisierter Tänze.
Heutzutage nennen wir das eine Suite, aber damals war es als Ouvertüre oder Eröffnungsstück bekannt. Als Hommage an den König begann eine solche Abfolge von Tänzen mit einer stattlichen Eröffnung, mit einem bemerkenswerten Staccato-Rhythmus – zu dem der König seinen Auftritt machen konnte – gefolgt von einem etwas schnelleren, fugalen Mittelteil. Die Instrumentierung von Bachs Orchestersuite Nr. 1 ist ebenfalls französisch, wobei Oboen und ein Fagott die Streicherstimmen verdoppeln.
Diese Suite könnte durchaus in Bachs Zeit als Kapellmeister in Köthen entstanden sein, wo Prinz Leopold gelegentlich von einem Hof im Stile des Sonnenkönigs geträumt haben muss. Aber auch für die Konzerte des Collegium Musicum in Leipzig war diese Tanzmusik gut geeignet.
Bei der Auswahl der Tänze ließ sich Bach für diese Suite nicht nur von Frankreich, sondern auch von Italien inspirieren. Die Reihenfolge ist ziemlich normal und manchmal ein bisschen altmodisch, mit Tänzen, die paarweise wiederholt werden. Typisch französisch sind Gavotte, Menuett und Passepied.
Die Courante war sowohl in Frankreich als auch in Italien beliebt, und die Forlane stammt ursprünglich aus Italien, wurde aber auch am französischen Hof in Mode. Am Ende hat Bach allem seinen eigenen Stempel aufgedrückt. Die Oboen und das Fagott verdoppeln die Streicher, gehen aber manchmal auch eigene Wege und schaffen so eine Art Concerto Grosso in Verkleidung.
Auch nach dem Tod Ludwigs des Vierzehnten träumte jeder Prinz hin und wieder von einem Hof wie dem des Sonnenkönigs. Und was passte besser zu einem solchen Hof als eine französische Ouvertüre?
Sehr wenig Instrumentalmusik von Bach ist erhalten geblieben. Und wir wissen praktisch nichts darüber, wann, warum oder für wen die erhaltene Musik geschrieben wurde. Dasselbe gilt für diese Suite, die in Stil und Atmosphäre der von Lully am Hof Ludwigs des Vierzehnten geschriebenen Tanzmusik entspricht: eine Reihe stilisierter Tänze. Heutzutage nennen wir das eine Suite, aber damals war es als Ouvertüre oder Eröffnungsstück bekannt.
Als Hommage an den König begann eine solche Abfolge von Tänzen mit einer stattlichen Eröffnung mit einem bemerkenswerten Staccato-Rhythmus – zu dem der König seinen Auftritt machen konnte – gefolgt von einem etwas schnelleren, fugalen Mittelteil. Die Instrumentierung von Bachs Orchestersuite Nr. 1 ist ebenfalls französisch, wobei Oboen und ein Fagott die Streicherstimmen verdoppeln.
Diese Suite könnte durchaus in Bachs Zeit als Kapellmeister in Köthen entstanden sein, wo Prinz Leopold gelegentlich von einem Hof im Stile des Sonnenkönigs geträumt haben muss. Aber auch für die Konzerte des Collegium Musicum in Leipzig war diese Tanzmusik gut geeignet. Bei der Auswahl der Tänze ließ sich Bach für diese Suite nicht nur von Frankreich, sondern auch von Italien inspirieren. Die Reihenfolge ist ziemlich normal und manchmal ein bisschen altmodisch, mit Tänzen, die paarweise wiederholt werden.
Typisch französisch sind Gavotte, Menuett und Passepied. Die Courante war sowohl in Frankreich als auch in Italien beliebt, und die Forlane stammt ursprünglich aus Italien, wurde aber auch am französischen Hof in Mode. Am Ende hat Bach allem seinen eigenen Stempel aufgedrückt. Die Oboen und das Fagott verdoppeln die Streicher, gehen aber manchmal auch eigene Wege und schaffen so eine Art Concerto Grosso in Verkleidung.
Bach hat einfach vorzeigbare Festmusik für die wohlhabenden Höfe von Weimar und Köthen geschrieben; Gelegenheitsmusik, die später im Repertoire des Collegium Musicum eine neue Heimat fand.
Bachs Suiten (Reihe stilisierter Tänze) strahlen den Stil und die Atmosphäre der Tanzmusik aus, die Lully am Hofe Ludwigs des Vierzehnten geschrieben hat. Heutzutage nennen wir das eine Suite, aber damals war es als Ouvertüre oder Eröffnungsstück bekannt.
Als Hommage an den König begann eine solche Abfolge von Tänzen mit einer stattlichen Eröffnung mit einem bemerkenswerten Staccato-Rhythmus – zu dem der König seinen Auftritt machen konnte – gefolgt von einem etwas schnelleren, fugalen Mittelteil.
Eine interessante Hypothese über den relativen Mangel an Suiten bei Bach ist, dass er das Genre nicht ausreichend beherrschen konnte. Das Modell kam direkt aus dem Paris von Lully und duldete keine Konkurrenz. Besonders die pompöse Ouvertüre – mit langsam-schnell-langsam, fugalem Mittelteil und „französischen“ Rhythmen – ist typisch … und vielleicht zu restriktiv für unseren jungen deutschen Kapellmeister.
Der abschließende Passepied verwendet im kontrastierenden Mittelsatz das Originalthema in den hohen Streichern und fügt nach Art einer Variation eine fortlaufende Achtelkette der beiden unisono geführten Oboen hinzu.
Bach Suite Nr. 1 C-Dur BWV 1066: Analyse
Von den vier Werken, die heute „Orchestersuite“ (oder „Ouvertüre“ zu Bach) genannt werden, gilt die C-Dur-Orchestersuite als die früheste der vier erhaltenen, es ist für zwei Oboen, Fagott, Streicher und Continuo gesetzt. Dies ist „wohl die konservativste der vier“ (Robin Stowell, „Orchestral Suites“ in Oxford Composer Companions: JS Bach).
Und vielleicht ist sie deshalb weniger bekannt als die beiden „Interior“-Suiten, die zweite Suite in h-Moll (mit der berühmten Badinerie) und die dritte Suite in D-Dur (mit der berühmten „Air for the G-String “).
Stilistisch ist die Erste Suite in C-Dur französischen Suiten nachempfunden und verwendet daher französisch stilisierte Tanzsätze (Französische Ouvertüre, Courante, Gavotte I & II, Forlane, Menuett I & II, Bourreé I & II, Passepied I & II). Gleichzeitig ähnelt es einem Concerto grosso, wobei die Oboenpaare oft als Concertino dienen. Wir sehen den Einfluss des Concerto grosso schon im ersten Satz, einer französischen Ouvertüre.
Normalerweise denken wir nicht an Sologruppen in einem französischen Ouvertürensatz. Aber hier, im schnelleren Fugenabschnitt, gibt es Teile, die deutlich mit „Trio“ gekennzeichnet sind – für die Oboen mit ihrer Continuo-Unterstützung (nur Fagott) – und andere, die mit „Tutti“ für das gesamte Ensemble gekennzeichnet sind:
Beachten Sie aus der Liste der Sätze (oben) die Anzahl der paarigen Sätze – zwei Gavottes, zwei Menuette, zwei Bourreés, zwei Passpieds. Während die anderen drei Suiten einige gepaarte Bewegungen haben, hat keine so viele. Diese gepaarten Sätze werden normalerweise als ABA-Form gespielt: Gavotte I wie geschrieben, Gavotte II wie geschrieben, Gavotte I wieder ohne Wiederholungen.
Die gepaarten Gavotten bieten schöne klangliche und strukturelle Kontraste zueinander, wobei die erste durchgehend das gesamte Ensemble verwendet; dies ist im Wesentlichen eine vierstimmige Struktur, mit Oboen und ersten Geigen, die unisono spielen, und die zweiten Geigen, Bratschen und Continuo (einschließlich Fagott), die jeweils die anderen drei Stimmen bilden.
In der zweiten Gavotte hingegen treten die Oboen fast wie ein weiteres Conertino auf, wobei die Streicher ein Unisono-Fanfarenmotiv sowohl als „Füller“ als auch als Kontrapunkt spielen. Robin Stowell identifiziert dies als dieselbe Fanfarenidee, die Bach im Eröffnungschor der Kantate 70 verwendet (Stowell, „Orchestral Suites“, in Oxford Composer Companions: JS Bach ).
Am bemerkenswertesten unter den Sätzen ist vielleicht die Verwendung des Forlane, des einzigen italienischen Tanzes unter den Sätzen und einer seltenen Tanzform für Bach. Insbesondere der Forlane (auch „Forlana“ genannt) war im Venedig des 18. Jahrhunderts beliebt und war normalerweise ein Straßentanz mit Mandolinen, Kastagnetten und Trommeln. Es war daher sehr rhythmisch.
Ein Forlane war normalerweise in zusammengesetzten Metren und oft in 6/8. Bachs Beispiel steht im 6/4-Takt. Ein Forlane wird wegen des 6/4- oder 6/8-Takts oft als „schwebend“ beschrieben, aber mit dem schnellen Tempo und den zahlreichen punktierten Rhythmen würde ich Bachs Forlane nicht als trällernd beschreiben. Die Basslinie ist stark fragmentiert und repetitiv, fast wie ein Ostinato – sie ist sicherlich ostinatoartig in Bezug auf den Rhythmus und behält das gleiche Muster im ersten Abschnitt bis zur Kadenz bei.
In ähnlicher Weise zeigen auch die Menuette (Menuette) und Bourreés durch wechselnde Besetzung klangliche und strukturelle Kontraste in ihren Paarungen. Das erste Menuett verwendet das gesamte Orchester, während das zweite nur für Streicher bestimmt ist. Die erste Bourreé ist für ein volles Orchester – wie die erste Gavotte – mit Oboen und ersten Violinen unisono in einer ansonsten vierstimmigen Textur.
Aber die zweite Bourreé verwendet nur das „Concertino“ – die beiden Oboen mit Fagott als Continuo. Es ist eine einfachere Textur als anderswo in der Suite, nicht nur, weil es nur drei Stimmen gibt, sondern auch, weil die beiden Oboen häufig im rhythmischen Unisono auftreten. Dies ist auch der einzige Satz in der ersten Orchestersuite, der in Moll steht.
(Lassen Sie sich nicht von der partiellen Tonartvorzeichnung in dem Beispiel täuschen, die nur zwei Bes zeigt; dies ist eindeutig in c-Moll, wie durch die Verwendung von H-Naturtönen belegt wird.)
Ennio Morricone – Once upon a time in America – Nuovo Cinema Paradiso – Piano & Bandoneon
Morricone’s Sheet music is fully available in our Library
Ennio Morricone, the Italian composer whose symphonic scores backed everything from spaghetti westerns to romance, horror and sci-fi films, has died aged 91.
Track Kist: 1. This Kind of Love (Questa Specie D’Amore) 2. Love Theme for Nata (Cinema Paradiso) 3. La Califfa 4. Romanza Quartiere (Quartiere) 5. Chi Mai (Maddalena & Le professionel) 6. Ninna Nanna per Adulteri (Cuore di Mamma) 7. Silvie – Momento D’Amore (Via Mala) 8. La Messicana (Vamos a matar compañeros) 9. Once Upon a Time in the West (with. Edda Dell’Orso) 10. Irene (Gli intoccabili)
11. La Donna e la Campagna (La Califfa) 12. Lei Mi Ama (D’amore si Muore – For Love One Dies) 13. Cinema Paradiso – Main Theme 14. Una Fotografia (L’Alibi) 15. Poesia di una Donna – Version 3 (Veruschka) 16. In ogni casa una storia (Quartiere) 17. Le Foto Proibite di una Signora per Bene 18. La Scoperta dell’America – Love Theme 19. Tema di Dunja (Il Fiore delle Mille e una Notte – Arabian Nights)
20. A Lidia (Scusi Facciamo l’Amore ? – Listen, Let’s Make Love) 21. De Copalamo (La Cugina) 22. Viaggio con Anita 23. Eros Profondo (La Donna Invisibile – The Invisible Woman)
Ennio Morricone, (10 November 1928 – 6 July 2020) was an Italian composer, orchestrator, conductor, and former trumpet player who wrote music in a wide range of styles. Morricone composed over 400 scores for cinema and television, as well as over 100 classical works. He started as a talented football player for A.S. Roma but left the sport to follow his passion for music. His score to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966) is considered one of the most influential soundtracks in history and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.
Domenico Cimarosa, the son of an unemployed stone mason, was born on 17 December 1749 in the little town of Aversa, a village about 20-minutes by train from Naples today. His father, Gennaro Cimarosa, moved the family to Naples a few days after Domenico’s birth, having obtained a position as a stone mason employed in the construction of the palace at Capodimonte in Naples. Unfortunately Gennaro fell to his death while working on the palace, leaving his widow, Anna de Francesca, both to rear and financially support young Domenico. Living near the Church of San Severo, Anna arranged to serve the monastery as laundress while Domenico was taken into their school.
A precociously intelligent boy, he soon attracted the attention of the monastery organist, Father Polcano, who gave him music lessons. At age 11, on the recommendation of Father Polcano, Domenico was admitted to the Conservatorio di S Maria di Loreto, one of five such schools established by the church for orphans and abandoned children. Although not a ‘conservatory’ in today’s sense of the word, music was an important element in the daily schooling since the figlioli (as the boys were called) provided music not only for the Church of San Loreto, but for private chapels and public occasions.
At the Loreto Cimarosa studied counterpoint, harmony and composition in addition to becoming a skilled violinist, a gifted singer, and an expert keyboard player. After 11 or 12 years at the conservatory, during which time he composed a number of sacred works, Cimarosa completed his first opera, an opera buffa in two-acts, Le stravaganze del conte (The Eccentricities of the Count) which was given its prima at Teatro dei Fiorentini in Naples during the Carnival season of 1771-72 when the composer was 22.
Because it was the custom of the time to offer 3 acts of musico-dramatic entertainment for an evening ‘at the opera’, Cimarosa filled out the evening with a one-act farsetta per musica, Le magie di Merlina e Zoroastro (The Magic of Merlina and Zoroastro) which served, as the libretto-program stated, for the “3rd act.”
Although these two operas – Le stravaganze del conte (in 2 acts) and Le magie di Merlina e Zoroastro (in 1 act)- shared the same composer (Cimarosa), the same librettist (Pasquale Mililotti), and many of the same singers, the two works are entirely independent of each other both in reference to story and melodic development. What must be noted is the fact that at this time no instrumental prelude, interlude, or sinfonia preceded the third act of a typical three-act work; therefore, there is no overture or sinfonia to Le magie di Merlina e Zoroastro.
Although challenged by the popularity of Piccinni and Paisiello who were already well-established composers, Cimarosa received commissions from Teatro Nuovo in Naples for both the seasons of 1773 (La finta parigina-The Fake Parisian Girl) and 1776 (I sdegni per amore-Dreams of Love, and I matrimonio in ballo-The Wedding in Dance). It may be more than coincidental that it was in 1776 – the year Piccinni left for Paris and Paisiello for St. Petersburg – that Cimarosa and his operas became increasingly popular in Naples. He composed some 24 operas on commission during the next decade for Neapolitan theaters.
In 1778 the 29-year-old Cimarosa received his first commission from Teatro Valle in Rome (another seven commissions from that theater arrived in the next two decades in addition to two commissions from the Roman theaters Teatro Argentina and Teatro delle Dame). According to papal edict only men could perform on stage in Rome; Cimarosa’s female roles were all sung by castrati.
The casts for each of these 8 operas for Teatro Valle were made up, as required by the theater, of five characters, and each opera was styled ‘intermezzo’ although they are in no way related to the comic interludes called intermezzi which were sung between the acts or scenes of an opera seria during the earlier 18th century.
L’italiana in Londra (The Italian Girl in London), Cimarosa’s first big hit, was premiered in Rome at Teatro Valle during the Carnival season of 1778-79. Its great success led, in turn, to commissions from most of the important theaters of Italy and its neighbors in the next few years: La Scala of Milan, Eretenio of Verona, Pergola of Florence, Regio of Turin, Hermitage of St. Petersburg, Burgtheater of Vienna, Monizione of Messina, San Carlo of Lisbon, La Fenice of Venice, and Carignano of Turin.
Cimarosa was appointed supernumerary organist (without pay) of the Royal Chapel in Naples in November of 1779 at age of 30. He was promoted in March 1785 to the position of second organist with a monthly salary of eight ducats (about U.S. $300 in today’s currency), a sum paid regularly even when Cimarosa was absent from Naples.
It was around the very early 1780s – the exact date is unknown – that Cimarosa was appointed a maestro at a Venetian conservatory for girls, the Ospedaletto. He composed one of his finest oratorios, Absalom (Absalon) for the Ospedaletto in 1782. Again, it seems Cimarosa received his salary regularly even when he was absent from Venice.
Catherine the Great of Russia invited Cimarosa to replace Sarti as her maestro di cappella in 1787. He left Naples by ship, stopping at the Tuscan port of Livorno and visiting Grand Duke Leopold of Tuscany in Florence, possibly being invited at the time to play on the new fortepiano Cristofori had invented and presented to Leopold. It is almost certain that it was during this visit to the Medici court in Florence that Cimarosa composed the bulk of his keyboard sonatas.
Passing on his way to Russia through Parma, Vienna, Krakow, and Warsaw – and being lavishly honored and fêted at each stop – Cimarosa arrived at the court in St. Petersburg at the beginning of December. Unfortunately his period in Russia (1787-91) coincided with a period of retrenchment in the court music ensemble (the Italian opera company so dwindled that by 1790 only three singers were left).
Since no date nor location for the prima of Cimarosa’s marvelous one-act, one-man comedy in music (technically a cantata but actually a one-man opera), Il maestro di cappella, is known, it is likely that it was written during this period since there were so not enough singers left to perform almost any other opera. It is no secret that Catherine herself had little admiration or use for Cimarosa’s music, so it is not surprising that the composer left Russia when his contract expired in 1791.
Passing on his way home to Naples through Vienna, Cimarosa learned that his friend and patron Leopold, the former Grand Duke of Tuscany, was now Emperor Leopold II of Austria. As emperor, Ferdinand appointed Cimarosa Kapellmeister to the Austrian court.
The composer’s commission from Leopold for a comic opera resulted in Il matrimonio segreto (1792), one of the world’s most famous and popular comic operas. Unfortunately Leopold II died less than a month after he had commanded Cimarosa to repeat the entire opera as an encore following its second performance.
Though Cimarosa stayed on in Vienna to see his Amor rende sagace (Love Makes One Shrewd) produced at the Burgtheater on 1 April 1792 and I traci amanti (The Thracian Lovers) at the same theater on 19 June 1792, he returned to Naples in the spring of 1793.
In addition to commissions that arrived regularly after his return to Naples, Cimarosa was appointed first organist of the royal chapel with a monthly salary of 10 ducats (approximately $375 U.S. today).
The Kingdom of Naples was occupied by Napoleon’s republican forces and the ‘Parthenopean Republic’ established in January of 1799. Cimarosa, in sympathy with their cause, composed a patriotic hymn to a text by Luigi Rossi which was sung on 19 May at the ceremonial burning of the royal flag. At the end of June, however, King Ferdinand’s troops re-entered the city, which left the composer in a strange political position. He tried to make amends by composing – at the suggestion of Father Tanfano, a local priest – a cantata in praise of Ferdinand which was performed on 23 September.
Although Cimarosa composed a few other works to appease the king, they merely angered Ferdinand more. The king then had Cimarosa arrested and incarcerated. Undoubtedly Cimarosa would have been beheaded (as was Rossi, the author of the text for the patriotic hymn) were it not for the intervention of his friends and supporters: Cardinal Consalvi, Secretary of State to the papal court in Rome; Cardinal Ruffo, lieutenant and captain of the Kingdom of Naples; and Lady Hamilton.
After being required to leave Naples ‘forever’, the composer returned to Venice in December 1800. There the 51-year old composer, already ill from over-work and the entire prison incident, received a commission from Teatro La Fenice for a new opera seria. He did not live to complete Artemisia, a tragico per musica in 3 acts; Cimarosa died on 11 January 1801.
Because of his international fame and the popularity of his music, rumors started to travel about that Queen Marie Caroline (the true ruler of the Kingdom of Naples) had had Cimarosa poisoned. Public opinion forced the government to publish a report on 5 April 1801, that certified that Cimarosa had died from an internal ailment (a cancerous growth of the lower stomach). The funeral service was held in the Chiesa di Sant’Angelo. A magnificent and resplendent catafalque was erected and covered with a mantle of gold-embroidered velvet, surrounded by other decorations on the high altar. All the eminent citizens of Venice attended, and music was performed free of charge by the principal Venetian artists. A vast chorus of three sections encompassed the width of the church to perform music specially composed for the service by Ferdinando Bertoni, maestro della Basilica di San Marco.
In Rome, Cardinal Consalvi, the Secretary of State as well as Cimarosa’s friend and protector, arranged magnificent memorial rites at the Chiesa di San Carlo del Catinari, at which one of Cimarosa’s Requiem Masses was sung, all the leading artists of the city offering their talents for the occasion. Cardinal Consalvi also commissioned the distinguished sculptor Antonio Canova to create a bust of the composer, which when completed, was first placed in the Rotunda of the church and later moved to the Gallery of the Campidoglio.
Cimarosa’s incomplete opera, Artemisia, was given its first performance at Teatro La Fenice on 17 January 1801- a bare seven days after his passing. On the occasion, the late composer received a most flattering posthumous compliment when the audience requested that the curtain be lowered at the point at which he wrote his last note.
Sweden ’70 If You Could See Me Now Someday My Prince Will Come Sleepin’ Bee You’re Gonna Hear From Me Re: Person I Knew
Denmark ’75 Sareen Jurer Blue Serge Up With The Lark But Beautiful Twelve Tone Tune Two
My foulish heart, Israel (partially), Emily, Alfie, ‘Round Midnight have been deleted to avoid copyright issues.
Bill Evans, one of the most influential and tragic figures of the post-bop jazz piano, was known for his highly nuanced touch, the clarity of the feeling content of his music and his reform of the chord voicing system pianists used. He recorded over fifty albums as leader and received five Grammy awards. He spawned a school of “Bill Evans style” or “Evans inspired” pianists, who include some of the best known artists of our day, including Michel Petrucciani, Andy Laverne, Richard Beirach, Enrico Pieranunzi and Warren Bernhardt. His inescapable influence on the very sound of jazz piano has touched virtually everybody of prominence in the field after him (as well as most of his contemporaries), and he remains a monumental model for jazz piano students everywhere, even inspiring a newsletter devoted solely to his music and influence.
Yet Bill Evans was a person who was painfully self-effacing, especially in the beginning of his career. Tall and handsome, literate and highly articulate about his art, he had a “confidence problem” as he called it, while at the same time devoted himself fanatically to the minute details of his music. He believed he lacked talent, so had to make up with it by intense work, but to keep the whole churning enterprise afloat he took on a heroin addiction for most of his adult life. The result was sordid living conditions, a brilliant career, two failed marriages (the first ending in a dramatic suicide), and an early death.
Bill Evans was born in Plainfield, New Jersey, in 1929, of a devout Russian Orthodox mother and an alcoholic father of Welsh origins, who managed a golf course. Evans’ Russian side accounts for the special feeling many of his Russian fans have for him that he is one of them. Bill received his first musical training in his mother’s church; both parents were highly musical. He also held a lifelong attachment to the game of golf.
Bill Evans began studying piano at age six, and since his parents wanted him to know more than one instrument, he took up the violin the following year and the flute at age 13. He became very proficient on the flute, although he hardly played it in his later years. Proficiency at these instruments in which great emphasis is laid on tonal expressiveness, might have encouraged Evans to seek the similar gradations of nuance on piano. He did, of course, thereby extending the expressive range of jazz piano.
Evans’ older brother Harry, two years his senior, was his first influence. Harry was the first one in the family to take piano lessons, and Bill began at the piano by mimicking him. He worshipped his older brother and tried to keep up with him in sports too, and was devastated by his death in 1979 at the age of 52.
By age 12 he was substituting for his older brother in Buddy Valentino’s band, where at one point he discovered a little blues phrase by himself during a stock arrangement performance of “Tuxedo Junction.” It was only a Db-D-F phrase in the key of Bb, but it unlocked a door for him, as he said in an interview, “It was such a thrill. It sounded right and good, and it wasn’t written, and I had done it. The idea of doing something in music that somebody hadn’t thought of opened a whole new world to me.” This idea became the central one of his musical career.
Also, by the late 40s Evans considered himself the best boogie-woogie player in northern New Jersey, according to an interview with Marian McPartland on the radio show Piano Jazz. That was the musical rage at the time; later, however, Evans rarely played blues tunes in his performances or on his recordings.
Evans’ Reading Habits
Evans’ mother was an amateur pianist herself and had amassed piles of old sheet music, which the young Bill read through, gaining breadth and above all speed at sight reading. This enabled him to explore widely in classical literature, especially 20th century composers. Debussy, Stravinsky, notably Petrouschka, and Darius Milhaud were particularly influential. He found this much more interesting than practicing scales and exercises, and it eventually enabled him to experience broad quantities of classical music. As he told Gene Lees, “It’s just that I’ve played such a quantity of piano.
Three hours a day in childhood, about six hours a day in college, and at least six hours now. With that, I could afford to develop slowly. Everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned with feeling being the generating force.” (Lees, Meet Me, p. 150). And as he later told Len Lyons, playing Bach a lot helped him gain control over tone and to improve his physical contact with the keyboard (Great Jazz Pianists, 226).
College and After
Evans received a music scholarship to Southeastern Louisiana College (now Southeastern Louisiana University) in Hammond, Louisiana, where he majored in music, graduating in 1950. There is an archive there now dedicated to him administered by Ron Nethercutt. His professors faulted him for not playing the scales and exercises correctly, although he could play the classical pieces perfectly with ease. In college he discovered the work of Horace Silver, Bud Powell, Nat King Cole and Lennie Tristano, who was to have a profound influence on him. He also participated in jam sessions with guitarist Mundell Lowe and bassist Red Mitchell. After college he joined reedman Herbie Fields’ band. It was in this last position that he learned to accompany horn players. After that he spent 1951 to 1954 in the army, during which he managed to gig around Chicago. Upon his discharge he decided to pursue a jazz career and settled in New York. There he worked in the dance band of clarinetist Jerry Wald and saxophonist Tony Scott, and became known as an exceptional player in musicians’ circles. His first professional recording was made accompanying singer Lucy Reed in 1955, and in 1956 he joined George Russell’s avant-garde band and began studying Russell’s Lydian Chromatic Concept.
First Recording as Leader
In 1956 Mundell Lowe called Orrin Keepnews at Riverside and prevailed upon him and his partner Bill Grauer to listen to a tape of Evans over the phone. This was highly unusual, but Keepnews and Grauer heard enough to convince them they had to record Evans. But first they had to convince him! The very self-effacing Bill Evans didn’t believe he was ready to record, and Keepnews and company had to persuade him to the contrary. The atmosphere in the studio was relaxed. Evans had chosen Paul Motian, his drummer with Tony Scott, and Teddy Kotick, an excellent young bassist, who had already worked with Charlie Parker and Stan Getz. They recorded 11 pieces in a single day in September of 1956-it was Riverside’s money saving policy-including four Evans originals: “Five,” “Conception,” “No Cover, No Minimum,” and the eventual classic “Waltz for Debbie.” This last tune was one of three short (under 2 minutes) piano solos Evans recorded after the other members were dismissed. The album, entitled “New Jazz Conceptions” was a critical success, winning Evans very positive reviews in Down Beat and Metronome (by Nat Hentoff). But it only sold 800 copies in a year.
As a sideman that year and the next he also recorded with trombonist Bob Brookmeyer, trumpeter Art Farmer, and reedmen Lee Konitz and Jimmy Giuffre, vibest Eddie Costa, and avant-garde conductor-composer (-pianist) George Russell, whose Lydian harmonic system Evans had found very useful. That year he also met Scott LaFaro, while auditioning him for a place in an ensemble led by trumpeter Chet Baker. Evans was impressed by the young bassist, whom he found overflowing with almost an uncontrolled energy and creativity. When Evans later chose LaFaro for his own trio he found that LaFaro had his talents under better control.
During a concert at Brandeis University in 1957, which combined written-out classical style music and jazz improvisation (before Gunther Schuller had founded the “third stream” movement, which claimed to do just that) Evans distinguished himself during a long solo on George Russell’s “All About Rosie.” Schuller and Russell were part of the event, along with jazz bassist Charles Mingus, Jimmy Giuffre and composers Milton Babbitt and Harold Shapiro. The solo constituted the announcement of the arrival of a new major talent, which his subsequent recordings would soon confirm.
Miles Hires Him
Evans’ big break, though, came when Miles Davis hired him shortly thereafter, putting him in a rhythm section behind John Coltrane and Cannonball Adderley in addition to himself. Miles’ former pianist, Red Garland, had walked out on him, and Miles needed someone more versatile anyway. He was looking for a player who could handle modal playing, and Evans was it. He had met Evans through George Russell, with whom Evans was studying.
A performance of the Ballet Africaine from Guinea in 1958 had originally sparked Miles’ interest in modal music. Miles had very big ears and was always listening for new musical currents, both inside himself, from his past, and to new sources fellow musicians brought him. This African music, which featured the finger piano or kalimba, was the kind of music which stayed for long periods of time on a single chord, weaving in and out of consonance and dissonance. It was a very new concept in jazz at the time, which was dominated by the chord-change based music of bebop, which was really an extension of the American popular song. Miles realized that Evans could follow him into modal music. Moreover, Evans introduced Miles to Rachmaninoff, Ravel and Khachaturian, revealing new scales to him and generally expanding his appreciation for classical music.
Miles found Evans a very quiet, self-effacing person, so he wanted to test Evans’ musical integrity. After all, Evans was the only white guy in a powerful, prominently black band. Miles needed to see if he would be musically intimidated, so he said to Evans one day,
“Bill, you know what you have to do, don’t you, to be in this band?”
He looked at me puzzled and shit and shook his head and said, “No Miles, what do I have to do? I said, “Bill, now you kow we all brothers and shit and everybody’s in this thing together and so what I came up with for you is that you got to make it with everybody, you know what I mean? You got to f… the band.” Now I was kidding, but Bill was real serious, like Trane [John Coltrane].
He thought about it for about fifteen minutes and then came back and told me, “Miles, I thought about what you said and I just can’t do it, I just can’t do that. I’d like to please everybody and make everyone happy here, but I just can’t do that. I looked at him and smiled and said, “My man!” And then he knew I was teasing. (Davis, 226)
So Evans passed the test. Here’s why Miles liked Bill’s playing:
Bill had this quiet fire that I loved on piano. The way he approached it, the sound he got was like crystal notes or sparkling water cascading down from some clear waterfall. I had to change the way the band sounded again for Bill’s style by playing different tunes, softer ones at first. Bill played underneath the rhythm and I liked that, the way he played scales with the band. Red’s [Garland] playing had carried the rhythm but Bill underplayed it and for what I was doing now with the modal thing, I liked what Bill was doing better. (Davis, 226)
Evans made 10 albums with Miles in less than a year they were together, February to November, 1958. But Evans was uncomfortable in the group after seven months. He wanted to form his own-so did Adderley and Coltrane. They would all eventually become leaders in the field, and Miles’ group, despite the fact that it was at the top of the jazz field, was hemming them in. In addition, Evans disliked all the travelling, and the harrassment he was getting from black fans about being the only white musician in the group was getting to him-it was disturbing to Miles too. There was also the annoying criticism that he didn’t play fast enough or hard enough, that his playing was too delicate.
Evans’ Second Album as Leader
Evans had his second outing as a leader, once again for Riverside, in December 1958. He had officially left Miles’ group by that time. For this recording he chose Miles’ drummer Philly Joe Jones, with whom he worked many times after that, and Dizzy Gillespie’s bassist Sam Jones (no relation), who went on to a longterm relationship with Cannonball Adderley. The influence of his stay in Miles’ band is clear from his driving version of “Night and Day” as well as his choice of and performance on the hard bop tunes “Minority” by Gigi Gryce and “Oleo” by Sonny Rollins.
The real classic during that session is his original “Peace Piece,” which was originally conceived as an extended introduction to Leonard Berstein’s standard “Some Other Time.” It became a jazz standard, and he performs it during a 6 minute 41 second piano solo on the album. The tune is based on a succession of scales, which the player extends at will before going onto another scale, a new kind of balance at the time between structured and free (although similar in concept to Indian ragas) The tune, therefore, would never be played the same way twice.This is the nature of a free piece: the structure as well as the melody is unique to each individual performance occasion.
Along with the more driving swing in this album came a more personal, more nuanced touch. Evans was moving away from the dominant influences of his jazz formation-Bud Powell, with his extended horn lines, and Horace Silver, with his bluesy percussive approach-and toward the sound that would characterize his mature years. It testifies to a large amount of exploration and growth in the 26 months between the two recording sessions, including the assimilation of the influence of Lennie Tristano’s long flowing lines into his playing.
Since the stint with Miles had only benefited Bill’s reputation, Keepnews decided to title the album Everybody Digs Bill Evans and put testimonials from Davis, George Shearing, Ahmad Jamal and Cannonball Adderley on the cover. Issued in May, 1959, it sold much better than the first one.
Miles Davis’ Kind of Blue
Nonetheless, Evans played on Miles’ breakthrough Kind of Blue album (recorded in March-April 1959), even though he had been replaced by Wynton Kelly by then. Miles had planned the session around Evans’ playing. According to Miles, Wynton Kelly combined what he liked in Evans with what he had liked in Red Garland, and Kelly actually played on one tune on this album, “Freddy Freeloader.” The album grew, as did so many of Miles’ projects, out of a musical impression floating in Miles’ mind, in this case that Ballet Africaine, mentioned above, combined with some gospel music he had heard as a six year-old in Arkansas.
That feeling had got in my creative blood, my imagination, and I had forgotten it was there….So I wrote about five bars of that and recorded it….But you write something and guys play off it and take it someplace else through their creativity and imagination, and you just miss where you thought you wanted to go. I was trying to do one thing and ended up doing something else. (Davis, 234)
Miles wrote only sketches for the session, in order to tap into his musicians’ spontaneity, and with no rehearsals. It worked so well that everything was accepted on the first take. Evans applied his deep musical integrity and imagination to the task, as Miles said, “Bill was the kind of player that when you played with him if he started something, he would end it, but he would take it a little bit farther. You subconsciously knew this, but it always put a little tension up in everyone’s playing, and that was good” (Davis, 234).
Yet the collective result did not correspond with Miles’ original inspiration. The album was acclaimed as a masterpiece, but Miles told people he had missed getting what he wanted. Perhaps he got more; perhaps he never could have gotten it given the degree of freedom he gave his powerful sidemen. Recognizing his articulateness about music, Miles had Evans write the liner notes for the album. Evans summarizes the spontaneous process in the purest possible light, an ironic contrast to Miles’ mix of intentions, realization and frustration:
There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere.
The resulting pictures lack the complex compositions and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see well find something captured that escapes explanation.
Every procedural and structural element in this description has its analogue in jazz, and this statement could well stand as Evans personal artistic manifesto. “Ordinary painting” could well refer to classical music.
Bill Evans on His Own Development
Evans was extremely aware about every factor in his music and musical development, making him one of the most articulate jazz musicians on the scene. Throughout his career he did numerous interviews, which not only document his views on a variety of musical subjects, but offer us his eloquent thinking voice. One of the clearest messages he gave dealt with his own development, its difficulties and the rewards of those difficulties:
I always like people who have developed long and hard, especially through introspection and a lot of dedication. I think what they arrive at is usually…deeper and more beautiful…than the person who seems to have that ability and fluidity from the beginning. I say this because it’s a good message to give to young talents who feel as I used to. You hear musicians playing with great fluidity and complete conception early on, and you don’t have that ability. I didn’t. I had to know what I was doing. And yes ultimately it turned out that those people weren’t able to carry their thing very far. I found myself being more attracted to artists who have developed through the years and become better and deeper musicians. (Williams, n. p.)
Evans once told Gene Lees right out that he didn’t think he had much talent, and later that he had to work on his harmonic concept so much because he “didn’t have very good ears” (Lees, Meet Me, 151-2).
Evans’ Chord Voicings
Although he rarely talked about them, Evans was the main person responsible for reforming jazz voicings on piano. A voicing is the series of notes used to express a chord. Up until that time chords had been expressed either by spelling the chord, with root, 3rd, 5th, 7th and sometimes 9th, or with a selection of these notes. Bud Powell had pioneered the so-called “shell” voicings or alternations between outer and inner notes of a chord, that is root-7th or 3rd-5th or 3rd-7th.
Evans abandoned roots almost entirely to develop a system in which the chord is expressed as a quality identity and a color, with the root being left to the bassist, or to the left hand on another beat of the measure, of just left implied. The system has become quite widespread, and a student can find it explained in any number of books on jazz piano theory and technique. But Evans had to derive them from composers like Debussy and Ravel and make a standard system out of them so they could be used unconsciously, automatically, and in doing so he transformed jazz piano.
The Piano Trio Concept: Equality of Instrumental Voices
From there Evans launched into a career characterized mostly by trio recordings. His concept of the trio was a much more egalitarian one than the one prevalent at the time. Evans gave the bassist and drummer more active roles than most rhythm section sidemen in trios, with a resulting greater degree of interplay among the musicians. He made a series of live recordings at the Village Vanguard in 1961, embodying this principle. These remain among his best recordings, featuring Scott LaFaro on bass and Paul Motian on drums. Evans, who was normally very critical of himself was quite pleased with these recordings. In them he also reveals his prediliction for the waltz, which would be a constant throughout his career.
When bassist Scott LaFaro died tragically later that year in a car accident at age 23, these recordings took on even more significance as his memorial. Evans did not record for almost a year while mourning for LaFaro. During the rest of his career Evans searched for LaFaro’s equals on bass. He may have found them later in Eddie Gomez and Marc Johnson.
Awareness of His Stylistic Identity and Its Influence
Evans maintained that he was not aware of the importance of his influence on jazz piano, although he finally believed it, after hearing it so many times. He saw his own style as simply the necessary one to express what he wanted to express. Here’s how he explained it:
First of all, I never strive for identity. That’s something that just has happened automatically as a result, I think, of just putting things together, tearing things apart and putting it together my own way, and somehow I guess the individual comes through eventually….I want to build my music from the bottom up, piece by piece, and kind of put it together according to my own way of organizing things….I just have a reason that I arived at myself for every note I play (Enstice and Rubin, 139-140).
Evans on One’s Personal Sound
As a corollary to a musician’s stylistic identity, one eventually develops one’s own unique sound. This may be very difficult to define, although easily recognizable by ear. Not everyone has one. “I think having one’s own sound in a sense is the most fundamental kind of identity in music,” said Evans.
But it’s a very touchy thing how one arrives at that. It has to be something that comes form inside, and it’s a long-term process. It’s a product of a total personality. Why one person is going to have it and another person isn’t, I don’t know why exactly. I think sometimes the people I seem to like most as musical artists are people who have had to-they’re like late arrivers….They’ve had to work a lot harder…to get facility, to get fluency…Whereas you see a lot of young talents that have a great deal of fluidity and fluency and facility, and they never really carry it any place. Because in a way they’re not aware enough of what they’re doing. (Enstice & Rubin, 140)
Bill Evans’ Mature Style
Evans’ mature style has been such a pervasive influence in jazz piano over the past thirty years that in many ways it is almost undetectable. We can speak of his highly nuanced touch, his melodic shapes, and his chord voicings and still be at a distance from the essence of his sound. To clarify this essence it is useful to isolate and describe the elements of his style, which other pianists have picked up with different degrees of fidelity to Evans, and then see what is left to Evans alone.
At the most general level, jazz pianists today tend to sound more like Evans than they do like his two great piano predecessors and influences, Bud Powell, and Lennie Tristano. Like Evans and unlike Powell and Tristano, the contemporary style utilizes a greater proportion of shaped phrases than continuous lines; it utlizes a greater proportion of chromaticism and non-major scale modes than Powell certainly; and it utilizes Evans’ chord voicings as a point of departure for its harmonic conception. After this, approaches to touch, harmony, and melodic shape are highly individualized.
At closer stylistic proximity to Evans are the members of his “school,” mentioned above, whose playing makes direct reference to his style. In the work of these pianists you will hear more frequently such typical Evans traits as moving inner voices, fleet block chord melodies, rhythmically truncated melodic lines which leave the listener in mid-air, scalar passages-especially diminished scales-in thirds, and his poignant harmonies, including reharmonizations and original tunes with harmonic structures similar to those Evans used.
Yet when you listen closely to the recordings of Evans himself you hear things not present even in his closest followers, for example, the fine gradation of touch that offers up emotional nuance at a truly surprising level of sensitivity. Any of Evans’ external figures can be imitated, even nuances of touch, but that’s just the surface structure of his music. The key to the uniqueness of his sound which is immediately identifiable and has never been perfectly duplicated by anyone, lay deep within his aesthetic consciousness. Putting into perspective how he arrived at his sound offers a clue to the nature of this consciousness, this emotional intention expressed musically, which is the deep engine of his music and accounts for its uniqueness.
Evans’ Internal Musical Engine
We know Evans disliked exercises, avoided playing them; that he read quickly and accurately an enormous amount of classical (and other) printed music, and performed it perfectly; that he stressed that he played nothing without feeling; and that he felt he had arrived at his mastery and hallmark sound the long way around, not by imitating anything, or by any method other than the assimilation of enormous amounts of music. From this perspective a finger exercise would be an unacceptable short-cut, since it would remove the player from the emotional potential of music by unacceptably isolating technique from feeling. By taking the time to refuse to do this during his entire formation Evans recreated jazz piano for himself, and by extension for the rest of the field.
Personal students of Evans say that he would never spell out anything he did for them: chord voicings, fast passages, whatever-you just had to figure it out if you really wanted it. But Evans wasn’t just being difficult: he was insisting on the same standards of authenticity for his student as he claimed for himself. But that leaves us with a paradox. If it is impossible through mere imitation for anyone to recreate Evans’ style without his internal engine which invested every musical gesture with his emotional content; then by taking Evans’ route, by playing no music without an investiture of emotion, the student would necessarily formulate a unique musical personality different from that of Evans.
Of course, this is what Evans, the teacher, wanted. We didn’t need any more Bill Evanses. His teaching approach challenged the student to be as deep and as original as he was.
Effects of Evans’ Style
But having said this, what can Bill Evans’ music accomplish, given its expansive emotional charge and infinitely fine nuances of touch? In a word: intimacy. His music manages to address an attentive listener’s inmost private thoughts, so close to the thinking and feeling organ that you are not sure if you are producing the effects or if the music is. When you emerge from the intense and delicate reverie the music has induced the rest of jazz piano may sound unbearably coarse-even Evans’ followers. It may take you a while to reset in order to be able to appreciate the separate musical personality of a different player. But you will have felt the power of Evans’ aesthetic purity, and when appreciated under the proper conditions, it is awesome.
Many people have had this experience and become devoted fans, wondering all the while if anyone else knew what they were experiencing. Yet this is the paradox of music that achieves intimacy. It offers the illusion that it is addressing itself solely to you. Lees describes it at the beginning of his article.
Evans Meets His Long-Term Manager
Jazz writer Gene Lees, a personal friend of Evans, was in 1962 leaving an editorial post at Down Beat. He had recently met manager Helen Keane and formed a h4 personal relationship with her, insisting that she hear Bill Evans. But Evans already had managerial contracts, in fact, two of them, which constituted an official mistake by the musicians’ union. First Lees brought Keane to hear Evans. He was playing at the Village Vanguard. Marlon Brando and Harry Belafonte owed their starts to her, and Lees realized Keane could work wonders on Evans’ career. As soon as she heard the first few seconds she said, “Oh, no, not this one! This is the one that could break my heart.” But she was willing to do it.
Then Lees set up lunch with the president of the union, a personal friend of his, and presenting the conflict, asked him to cancel both of the existing contracts.
His Drug Habit
Evans had been sinking into a heroin habit in the late 50s, and by the time Helen Keane entered his life in 1962 it was in full bloom. He was married, and his wife Ellaine was an addict too. Evans habitually sought to borrow money from friends, every day calling a string of his friends in his address book from a telephone booth on the street outside his apartment, since his phone had been disconnected. Many became infuriated at being contacted again and again for money. One day when Lees blew up at him, saying he didn’t even have enough for himself to eat, Evans called back an hour later to say he now had enough for both of them to eat.
His friends were afraid to withhold all money from him, because then he’d go to the loan sharks who’d threaten to break his hands if he didn’t pay. At one point his friends, including Lees, Helen Keane, Orrin Keepnews, and his new producer Creed Taylor decided to withhold cash from him, while directly paying his bills, and they appointed the reluctant Lees to break the news to Evans.
Lees found Evans in his apartment, where the electricity had been shut off, but he got around that by running an extension cord from a hallway light under the front door. Evans was furious at his friends’ scheme and angrily described the importance of his habit to him, as Lees relates:
“No, I mean it,” he said. “You don’t understand. It’s like death and transfiguration. Every day you wake in pain like death and then you go out and score, and that is transfiguration. Each day becomes all of life in microcosm” (Lees, Meet Me, 156).
It was an elegant, aestheticized account of the process that was destroying him. Lees says that later after Evans was clean he claimed to have learned something valuable from his addiction: tolerance and understanding for his father’s alcoholism. This leaves volumes unsaid, of course, namely the devastating effect on Bill’s confidence of having an alcoholic father, and the unmet childhood needs which resulted in his own self-destructive addiction. At least he didn’t have children during the time he was hooked.
Orrin Keepnews found it difficult to turn down Evans’ request for money because of “the sweetness of his nature and his immense moral decency,” unlike certain other musicians whose turpitude made him easy to turn down. But Bill would just wait there in the Riverside office until Keepnews would relent and give him some cash.
But when Helen Keane got Evans signed to Verve and negotiated a large advance from producer Creed Taylor, Bill took the money and meticulously paid back everyone what he owed them. He came by for Lees in a cab and went from apartment building to apartment building, with Lees holding the cab, armed with his cash and card file, and took care of all his debts. At the end he reimbursed Lees $200 for pawning his record player and some of his records. He had even went so far as to find Zoot Sims in Stockholm and gave him $600, a sum which Sims had simply forgotten about.
In the winter of 1962-63 Evans came up with the idea for his first multi-track solo piano album. Although overdubbing had been used before, specifically by guitarist Les Paul and Mary Ford (Paul had also pioneered the electric guitar), and by Patti Page, it had never been used quite like this. Neither producer Creed Taylor, nor Lees or Keane-who constituted the Evans inner circle at the time-knew quite what Bill had in mind. But Evans knew exactly. Nowadays, overdubbing and digital editing are standard procedure and are used to produce most popular music. Today the techniques are used to build a piece bit by bit, permitting numerous takes of each track and minute editing changes. But back then, with analogue tape running at 30 ips, the artist had to have a complete global grasp of everything before he laid it down. Evans was used to this level of conception. Once he had the session the way he wanted it, his friends were amazed:
The four of us in the control booth-Ray [Hall, the engineer], Creed, Helen, and I-were constantly openmouthed at what was going on. On the second track Bill would play some strangely appropriate echo of something he’d done on the first. Or there would be some flawless pause in which all three pianists were perfectly together; or some deft run fitted effortlessly into a space left for it. I began to think of Bill as three Bills: Bill Left Channel, Bill Right, and Bill Center.
Bill Left would lay down the first track, stating the melody and launching into an improvisation for a couple of choruses, after which he would move into an accompanist’s role, playing a background over which Bill Center would later play his solo. His mind obviously was working in three dimensions of them simultaneously, because each Bill was anticipating and responding to what the other two were doing. Bill Left was hearing in his head what Bill Center and Bill Right were going to play a half hour or so from now, while Bill Center and Bill Right were in constant communication with a Bill Left who had vanished into the past a half hour or an hour before. The sessions took on a feeling of science-fiction eeriness.
When Bill had completed the first two tracks, Creed and Helen and I all thought that he shouldn’t do a third-that another one would only clutter what he had already done. We were wrong.
As the end of the track neared, the “third” Bill took the opening figure and extended it into a long fantastic, flowing line that he wove in and out and around and through what the other two pianists were playing, never colliding with these two previous selves. That final line seemed like a magic firefly hurrying through a forest at night, never striking the trees, leaving behind a line of golden sparks that slowly fell to earth, illuminating everything around it. I think Helen and Creed were close to tears when he completed that track. I know I was (Lees, Meet Me, 160).
Evans left for Florida, where he successfully kicked his habit for a while, then returned to New York in time to receive a Grammy Award for Conversations with Myself. Later Evans created two more overdub albums, Further Conversations in 1967, also on Verve, produced by Helen Keane, and New Conversations in 1978 on Warner Brothers, which opens with his tribute “Song for Helen,” includes a tribute to his second wife Nenette (“For Nenette”), reinforced by the Cy Coleman standard “I Love My Wife,” and the Ellington rarity “Reflections in D.” It is generally considered to be the best of the three.
Evans’ Fortunes on the Rise
Evans became better known and sold more records as the decade went on. He was soon making enough money for him and his wife to move out of Manhattan to a comfortable section of the Bronx called Riverdale. Meanwhile Creed Taylor had left Verve and started his own label CTI, and it fell to Helen Keane to take on the role of producer. Gene Lees helped set up the Montreux Jazz Festival and arranged for Evans to play in it in 1968 and thereafter, recording his performances from that year and 1970. When Evans left Verve he spent some time briefly recording for Columbia, but did not consider it very productive. At one point its president, Clive Davis, tried to get him to make a rock album, which Evans flatly turned down.
After that Evans went to Fantasy, which turned out to be a much more fruitful association. He produced some of his most mature satisfying work there. His fame only continued to grow as he acquired more fans among music lovers and disciples among pianists everywhere. Lees tells the story of a piano-playing Toronto dentist he had called when Evans had a toothache there. Lees had been turned down by the nurse because the call had come in after hours. When the dentist heard about it, he was appalled. “What,” he said, “Do you realize you turned down God?” and rushed down to the Town Tavern where Evans was playing, tools in hand, to fix his ailing tooth (Lees, Meet Me, 166).
It was also around this time, 1970, that Evans’ wife Ellaine committed suicide by throwing herself under a subway train. As a result, he went back on heroin for a while, then got into a methadone treatment program, and stayed away from drugs for almost the last decade in his life. He married again, to Nenette, and had a child by her, whom they named Evan. His son became the inspiration for the beautiful tune “Letter to Evan.” The marriage did not last, however, and soon he was living by himself in Fort Lee, New Jersey, right across the George Washington Bridge.
Last Decade of Recording
Evans’ last decade of recording showed him growing even more as an artist. His 1974 live LP, Since We Met, is one of his very best, containing new versions of his ruminative ballad in memory of his father, “Turn Out the Stars,” his radically beautiful “Time Remembered,” the Earl Zindars beauty “Sareen Jurer,” performed in both 3/4 and 4/4 time, and Cy Coleman’s waltz “See-Saw,” among others. In 1979 he gave a magnificent concert in Paris which Helen Keane later turned into two LP releases on Musician, called simply Paris Concert, Edition I and II. They reveal him with an unmatched rhythmic drive, summoning up all his stylistic resources, filling the entire musical space with an expanding energy. He takes fruitful risks, such as when he opens his classic “Nardis” with a solo piano improvisation, a kaleidoscopic exploration of figures and forms, finally landing on the familiar middle-Eastern sounding melody, bringing in the rest of the rhythm section in a triumphant release of suspense. The audience was ecstatic.
Last Addiction and Death
In 1980 Bill Evans began using cocaine, the fashionable drug that he imagined was “safe.” But actually it demands replenishment in the bloodstream every few hours rather than just once a day like heroin, and as a stimulant, it wears you down that much faster. At the end of summer of that year, Bill asked his drummer Joe LaBarbera to drive him to the hospital, since he was having severe stomach pains. He calmly directed Joe to Mount Sinai, checked in, and died there the 15th of September.
The tributes poured in, and by 1983 a double album had been assembled with pianists who had been influenced or touched by Evans, each contributing a single piece. His stature has only continued to grow, with a newsletter devoted to his music and followers edited by Win Hinkle in North Carolina, and now on the Internet. He has become, along with Oscar Peterson, one of the major enduring forces in jazz piano.
Mecano fue un grupo español de música pop, activo principalmente entre 1981 y 1992, periodo en la que hay que sumar una fugaz reaparición en 1998, que duró apenas ocho meses a partir de la edición de un doble disco recopilatorio que incluían siete nuevos temas grabados para la ocasión. Estuvo formado por la cantante Ana Torroja y los hermanos Nacho y José María Cano. Fuera del grupo, pero parte integrante de la banda, tanto para las sesiones de estudio como para los directos, estuvieron grandes músicos entre bajistas y bateristas entre los que destacan Arturo Terriza, Manolo Aguilar, Nacho Mañó, Javier Quílez y los bateristas Ángel Celada y Óscar Astruga.
Mecano realizó un pop que evolucionó desde una sonoridad puramente «tecno», durante su primera etapa (entre 1981 y 1985), hasta el eclecticismo de la que es considerada como segunda época artística (entre 1986 y 1992), en la que el grupo demostró gran versatilidad a través de grandes producciones y de la incursión en diferentes estilos, siempre desde un planteamiento unificador logrado especialmente a través de la sonoridad pop de su vocalista, que sirvió como tamiz nivelador de las tan diferentes concepciones artísticas de sus dos autores.
Su éxito,1 sin precedentes en el mundo de la música cantada en español, se extendió, además de España, a toda Hispanoamérica, incluidos los Estados Unidos, y Filipinas. Llegando a obtener, cierta resonancia en otros países totalmente ajenos a la cultura musical española como Japón, Suecia, Alemania, Reino Unido, Brasil, Portugal y los Países Bajos. Gracias a las adaptaciones a otros idiomas realizadas de varios de sus temas, cantados principalmente en francés e italiano, se dieron a conocer en países como Italia, Francia, Bélgica, Suiza y Canadá, obteniendo especial resonancia en Francia, donde la adaptación francesa del tema «Mujer contra mujer» («Une femme avec une femme»), alcanzó el primer puesto en la lista nacional de ventas, manteniéndose en esa posición durante ocho semanas consecutivas, lo que le hace seguir siendo, hasta el día de hoy, la canción extranjera que más semanas ha ocupado el primer puesto en las listas de ventas de ese país. Se estima que Mecano ha vendido 25 millones de discos en todo el mundo.
Desde que dieran su último concierto, Mecano ha sido considerado como un hito en la historia de la música pop española. Sus canciones no han dejado de sonar en las emisoras de radio nacionales e internacionales, alimentando las esperanzas de reencuentro entre los nostálgicos de un grupo que ha trascendido varias generaciones.
Tras la disolución del grupo, sus tres miembros comenzaron carreras en solitario:
Nacho Cano, tras la publicación de varios títulos en solitario, entre los cuales se encuentra un primer y extraordinario álbum de carácter instrumental, se dedica a la composición de espectáculos musicales, desde el estreno, en 2005, del musical Hoy no me puedo levantar, basado en las canciones compuestas por su hermano y él mismo tanto para el grupo como para sus discos en solitario, con gran éxito de crítica y público.
José María Cano, tras la composición de una ópera lírica y la grabación y presentación en directo, en 1999, de un álbum como cantautor, se encuentra, en el presente, alejado de la música y dedicado profesionalmente a la pintura, campo de expresión artística en el que está encontrando el reconocimiento que quizá le faltó para su creación musical tras la desaparición del grupo en 1992.
Por su parte, Ana Torroja continúa con el desarrollo de una pausada carrera en solitario que comenzó en 1997 con Puntos cardinales. En 2006 publicó Me cuesta tanto olvidarte, un álbum de versiones de Mecano en diferentes estilos. Durante la década de 2010 se mantuvo bastante inactiva, estrenando sólo su quinto álbum Sonrisa (2010) y uno en vivo, Conexión (2015). Su último disco, Mil razones, salió en 2021 y la encuadra en el synth pop al uso en la época, siendo producido en parte por El Guincho.
Tras la fusión de las compañías discográficas BMG y Sony Music (antigua CBS), casualmente las dos por las que pasó el grupo, y a raíz del interés comercial desatado por el musical Hoy no me puedo levantar, en 2005 se reeditó la discografía del grupo, a lo que se añadió la puesta a la venta de varias ediciones recopilatorias como el box-set Obras completas el tripack Grandes éxitos y el DVD digipack Mecanografía (la historia en imágenes).
Desde la publicación de su último álbum de estudio en 1991, Mecano solo ha editado material de carácter recopilatorio. Cuatro años después del último despliegue editorial de 2005, SonyBMG firmó con la compañía de entretenimiento PlayStation el lanzamiento de Mecano SingStar, el primer videojuego del famoso soporte PlayStation dedicado exclusivamente a un grupo español. Junto a este lanzamiento se realizó la publicación de “Mecano Siglo XXI” un nuevo recopilatorio de 2 CD y dos DVD que incluía como novedad el tema María Luz, grabado en 2005, año en que se pensó en la reunión del grupo, y que en realidad versionaba el tema inédito “El romance de la niña María Luz”, grabado durante las sesiones de estudio del álbum “Descanso Dominical”, en 1988. Mientras, en los DVD se incluyeron imágenes igualmente inéditas del concierto en el Pabellón del Real Madrid de diciembre del 82 así como fragmentos del concierto de Ibiza diez años después.
Aretha Franklin: the 100 most inspiring musicians of all time
American singer Aretha Franklin (b. Aretha Louise Franklin March 25, 1942, Memphis, Tenn., U.S.) defined the golden age of soul music of the 1960s.
Aretha Franklin’s mother, Barbara, was a gospel singer and pianist. Her father, C.L. Franklin, presided over the New Bethel Baptist Church of Detroit, Michigan, and was a minister of national influence. A singer himself, he was noted for his brilliant sermons, many of which were recorded by Chess Records.
Arethe Franklin’s parents separated when she was six, and she remained with her father in Detroit. Her mother died when Aretha was just 10. As a young teen, Franklin performed with her father on his gospel programs in major cities throughout the country and was recognized as a vocal prodigy.
Her central influence, Clara Ward of the renowned Ward Singers, was a family friend. Other gospel greats of the day—Albertina Walker and Jackie Verdell—helped shape young Franklin’s style. Her album The Gospel Sound of Aretha Franklin (1956) captures the electricity of her performances as a 14-year-old.
At age 18, with her father’s blessing, Franklin switched from sacred to secular music. She moved to New York City, where Columbia Records executive John Hammond, who had signed Count Basie and Billie Holiday, arranged her recording contract and supervised sessions highlighting her in a blues-jazz vein. From that first session, “Today I Sing the Blues” (1960) remains a classic. But, as her Detroit friends on the Motown label enjoyed hit after hit, Franklin struggled to achieve crossover success. Columbia placed her with a variety of producers who marketed her to both adults (“If Ever You Should Leave Me,” 1963) and teens (“Soulville,” 1964).
Without targeting any particular genre, she sang everything from Broadway ballads to youth-oriented rhythm and blues. Critics recognized her talent, but the public remained lukewarm until 1966, when she switched to Atlantic Records, where producer Jerry Wexler allowed her to sculpt her own musical identity.
At Atlantic, Franklin returned to her gospel-blues roots, and the results were sensational. “I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You)” (1967), recorded at Fame Studios in Florence, Alabama, was her first million-seller. Surrounded by sympathetic musicians playing spontaneous arrangements and devising the background vocals herself, Franklin refined a style associated with Ray Charles—a rousing mixture of gospel and rhythm and blues—and raised it to new heights.
As a civil rights–minded nation lent greater support to black urban music, Franklin was crowned the “Queen of Soul.” “Respect,” her 1967 cover of Otis Redding’s spirited composition, became an anthem operating on personal, sexual, and racial levels. “Think” (1968), which Franklin wrote herself, also had more than one meaning.
For the next half-dozen years, she became a hit maker of unprecedented proportions; she was “Lady Soul.” In the early 1970s she triumphed at the Fillmore West in San Francisco before an audience of flower children and on whirlwind tours of Europe and Latin America. Her return to church, Amazing Grace (1972), is considered one of the great gospel albums of any era. By the late 1970s disco cramped Franklin’s style and eroded her popularity.
But in 1982, with help from singer-songwriter-producer Luther Vandross, she was back on top with a new label, Arista, and a new dance hit, “Jump to It,” followed by “Freeway of Love” (1985). A reluctant interviewee, Franklin kept her private life private, claiming that the popular perception associating her with the unhappiness of singers Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday was misinformed.
In 1987, Franklin became the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. While her album sales in the 1990s and 2000s failed to approach the numbers of previous decades, Franklin remained the Queen of Soul, and in 2009 she electrified a crowd of more than one million with her performance of “My Country ’Tis of Thee” at the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama.
11. You Send Me 0:33:36 12. Until You Come Back to Me (That’s What I’m Gonna Do) 0:36:02 13. Son of a Preacher Man 0:39:29 14. You’re All I Need to Get By 0:42:49 15. Baby I Love You 0:46:25 16. Do Right Woman – Do Right Man 0:49:08 17. Something He Can Feel 0:52:24 18. The Weight 0:58:43 19. Don’t Play That Song 1:01:46 20. A Change Is Gonna Come 1:04:46
Produced by Metallica’s Robert Trujillo in association with Passion Pictures, JACO includes some incredible insights from an array of artists including Flea, Joni Mitchell, Sting, Wayne Shorter, Herbie Hancock, Geddy Lee, Bootsy Collins, Carlos Santana and others as well as Jaco’s family, and friends. It unveils the story of his music, his life, his demise, and ultimately the fragility of great artistic genius.
There are few musicians who fundamentally change their instrument, and even fewer still who transcend their instrument altogether. Jaco Pastorius did both.
In 1976, Jaco’s melodic “singing” bass style redefined the role of the bass in modern music. Almost overnight, critics hailed Jaco Pastorius as “the future of modern music,” alongside popular visionaries like David Bowie, Tom Waits, Patti Smith, Bryan Ferry, Lou Reed, and Herbie Hancock.
Driven only by his own desire to create the music he wanted to hear, Jaco transformed himself from a poor and unknown, scrappy Florida boy, into an international sensation — all without any formal musical training. Instead of chasing popular music, Jaco led his fans towards the music inside him. Defiantly jumping off amplifiers, heaving his bass through the air, and refusing to be just a “sideman,” Jaco broke down the barriers between audiences and genres.
Unfortunately, for many of our most sensitive artists, great genius comes at great cost… and Jaco Pastorius was no exception.
Now over 25 years since his violent and untimely death, his story will teach the world about true musicianship, family, and the indestructible power of the human spirit.