Jacques Loussier Trio

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Jacques Loussier Trio

Nestling among the classical superstar line-up of pianist Joanna MacGregor, Dutch cellist Pieter Wispelwey and violinist James Ehnes, who appear in Glasgow’s International Classical Season to celebrate the music of JS Bach, there’s a name that doesn’t at first glance fit the mould. It’s the Jacques Loussier Trio who are renowned for their brilliant jazz improvisations rather than a more traditional classical approach. Behind the Romantic Bach series is Lindsay Pell, BBC Scotland senior producer, who says, ‘Basically, I wanted to put together four high profile concerts centred on Bach, but looking at his music in a slightly different way. Lots of work has been done on period performance, but it has always struck me that people have never stopped playing Bach on a grand piano, so it seemed that we should also look at Bach through a post-Romantic eye.’

Loussier, who is 76 this year, first created his original Play Bach Trio way back in 1959. It was astonishingly successful. Taking Bach’s compositions as a base for jazz improvisation, their most famous recording is undoubtedly Air on a G String which was used for more than 35 years as the tune accompanying Hamlet cigar ads.

‘Loussier is an iconic figure of the 70s,’ says Lindsay Pell, ‘but we’ve got a very good relationship with him these days through our Jazz Line-Up programme, and when we were chatting about the Bach series, the idea of Loussier came up and he was a perfect fit.’ Loussier’s original trio broke up in 1978, but he reformed it 300 years after Bach’s birth in 1985. ‘He strikes a chord with everybody,’ says Lindsay Pell, ‘as he’s such a high quality, instinctive musician that you just sit back and relax. It’s a rare chance to hear him, especially in this slightly unusual context.’

City Halls, Glasgow, Sun 21 Mar

Jacques Loussier Trio

Award-winning French pianist and composer Jacques Loussier has made a name for himself giving classical music the jazz treatment, creating brilliant amalgams and improvisations on the works of classical composers. Here he performs his unique take on music by Bach, Vivaldi and Chopin.

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