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  Classical Editor: Rob Barnett  
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Goldberg Jazz
Johann Sebastian BACH (1685-1750)
Goldberg Jazz  [Aria from the Goldberg Variations BWV988]
Allemanda [Partita No.1 BWV825]
Invenzione a due voci [No.14 BWV785]
Sarabanda [Sarabande, Cello Suite No.5 in C minor BWV1011]
Preludio II [Well Tempered Clavier Book I, Prelude No.2 in C minor BWV847]
Preludio XII [Well Tempered Clavier Book II, Prelude No.12 in F minor BWV881]
Largo [Harpsichord Concerto in F minor BWV1056]
Prelude [Prelude from Cello Suite No.2 in D minor BWV1008]
Sarabande [Sarabande from Cello Suite No.2 in D minor BWV1008]
Piccolo Preludio [prelude in D minor BWV926]
Carl Phillip Emanuel BACH (1714-1788)
Solfeggetto in C minor
Nicolò PAGANINI (1782-1840)
Capriccios Op.1 Nos 4, 9, 19 and 24
Perpetuo Jazz [Moto Perpetuo Op.11]
Vernizzi Jazz Quartet and Corrado Giuffredi
Rino Vernizzi (bassoon), Corrado Giuffredi (clarinet) Mauro Zazzarini (soprano saxophone) Gianluca Renzi (bass) Giampaolo Ascolese (drums)
Recorded [1998]
ARTS 49001-2 [54.13]


This is the first Jazz disc I’ve received from Arts, though it’s Jazz on Classical lines. The recipe is to take a theme by Bach (J.S. but also C.P.E. and indeed Paganini) and then exercise some jazz chops on it. If this conjures up the spectre of M. Jacques Loussier you won’t be far wrong except for the question of instrumentation because there’s actually no piano on board – the front line consists of bassoon (yes!), clarinet and soprano saxophone (yes!) and the rhythm section of bass and drums. So sometimes Loussier is evoked (unavoidable in baroquerie) - but there’s also the ghostly reminiscence of Alec Templeton’s humorously knowing little excursions as well as the ethos of the Gramercy Five.

Obviously it shouldn’t work and indeed it often doesn’t, despite jazz musicians’ frequent exhortations of Bach as the Daddy of swingers – and his Son as Stravinsky.  But there is a most bewilderingly strange sound to the bassoon-led front line that keeps one listening. The soprano has hints of Kenny Davern’s iconoclastic and catholic approach on that instrument and in such as the Sarabanda (from the Cello Suite) a clever piece of brushwork and blues pervades. There’s Sandy Brown Hi Life in La Caccia (Paganini’s Op.1 No.9 Caprice) and virtuosic clarinet arabesques and klezmer hues in Op.1 No.24. They lope through the Bach Prelude from the Second Book of the WTC with humour. When things don’t work it’s because of things like the TV music that saddles the “Piccolo Preludio” though generally this isn’t too-clever-by-half-music making. All arrangements by the way are by Rino Vernizzi.

Jonathan Woolf


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