CD The Piano Music of Alexis Weissenberg (CD 859429),
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The Piano Music of Alexis Weissenberg
1. Sonate en etat de jazz, for piano: Evocation d'un tango
2. Sonate en etat de jazz, for piano: Rminiscence d'un charleston
3. Sonate en etat de jazz, for piano: Reflets d'un blues
4. Sonate en etat de jazz, for piano: Provocation de samba
5. regret, for piano, Le
6. 4 Improvisations on songs from Alexis Weissenberg's "La Fugue": Spirale
7. 4 Improvisations on songs from Alexis Weissenberg's "La Fugue": Mon destin
8. 4 Improvisations on songs from Alexis Weissenberg's "La Fugue": C'est si facile
9. 4 Improvisations on songs from Alexis Weissenberg's "La Fugue": Nostalgie
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): 5688
Personnel: Simon Mulligan (piano); Frank Walden (alto saxophone).
Liner Note Authors: Simon Mulligan; Alexis Weissenberg .
Recording information: Wyastone Concert Hall, Monmouth, Wales (01/14/2001-04/22/2001).
Combining jazz and European classical music is not something new. Duke Ellington, James P. Johnson, and Louis Armstrong were influenced by classical music in the 1920s, and the third stream movement of the 1950s was all about fusing jazz and classical. Nonetheless, jazz/classical fusion still has many possibilities in the 21st century, and acoustic pianist Simon Mulligan examines some of them on The Piano Music of Alexis Weissenberg. Recorded in 2001, this excellent CD finds Mulligan turning his attention to the work of composer Alexis Weissenberg. The age difference between Mulligan and Weissenberg is sizable; while Weissenberg was born in 1929, Mulligan wasn't born until the 1970s. In other words, Weissenberg is old enough to be Mulligan's grandfather. But the age difference didn't prevent the musicians from enjoying one another's company. Weissenberg was present in the studio when this album was recorded, and Mulligan obviously has a strong feeling for his music. Mulligan plays with a great deal of emotion on Weissenberg pieces such as "Le Regret" and the 30-minute "Sonate en Etat de Jazz," both of which remind us just how appealing a combination jazz and classical can be. Mulligan's haunting, evocative performances are not aimed at purists -- not jazz purists, not classical purists. Rather, The Piano Music of Alexis Weissenberg favors a musical hybrid that has one foot in jazz and the other in European classical. It is a combination that offers considerable rewards, but only if you are broad-minded enough to realize that jazz and classical -- for all their differences -- are equally valid. Anyone who has spent a lot of time savoring the Modern Jazz Quartet or the experiments of Gunther Schuller should not have a problem absorbing The Piano Music of Alexis Weissenberg. ~ Alex Henderson
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