About the album
Charles Mingus once said “Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, that’s creativity”. This tends to describe our philosophy for this CD. The majority of the original composi- tions on this CD are based on the chord changes from well known works taken from the classical repertoire. One thing I can assure you is that this CD is nothing like the old “Bach meets Jazz” idea. For these pieces we applied the same concept used by jazz musicians during the Be Bop era where new melodies were applied to existing chord progressions. The major difference is that instead of sourcing our chord changes from songs out of the American songbook tradition we opted to explore the European classical music tradition for our harmony. During the preparation for this recording we had a great time playing with the endless possibilities provided us by the old masters and enjoyed looking for simple ways to transpose these rich harmonies into the language of jazz.
Just before dawn is based on the harmony used by Barber in his famous Adagio for Strings. We gave Hans’s melody and Barbers chords a medium bossa nova feel and changed the form slightly to end up with an AB form. The Sarabande in D minor van Handel forms the basis for the ballad Lara. In this piece the rhythmically simple melody floats nicely above Handel’s equally simple harmony.
W.A.M. is based on the harmony from the “trio” movement from Beethoven’s piano sonata Op2 no3. While remaining true to Beethoven’s chord progression we set this piece within an AABA form with the solo’s over an A minor blues progression. J.S.B. is based on Bach’s famous aria “Erbarme dich mein Gott” from his master work the St Mathew Passion. For this piece we have taken the first 8 bars of the aria as the main chord progression and set this between an 8 bar pedal point and giving it a samba feel.
Flat five blues and Study in blue are two new compositions written specifically for this CD. Flat five blues is a simple blues head based around the diminished fifth
interval. While a common interval in Jazz harmony due to its voice leading properties, throughout music history this was not always the case.