I’ll be in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, though not with my biweekly column (that’s next Saturday). Instead, I’ve contributed the latest installment to “Masterpieces,” the Journal‘s regular feature about important works of art. This time around I’ve written about one of my favorite jazz albums, Jim Hall’s Concierto, whose title track is a jazz version of Rodrigo’s Concierto de Aranjuez that also features Chet Baker and Paul Desmond.
Here’s a little taste:
Irreverent jazz musicians have been swinging the classics for almost as long as jazz itself has existed. Jelly Roll Morton was playing a stomping version of the “Miserere” from Verdi’s “Il Trovatore” in the whorehouses of New Orleans a century ago. Since then the practice of turning familiar pieces of classical music into jazz instrumentals has acquired an impeccable pedigree extending from Art Tatum’s jaunty reworking of Dvorak’s “Humoresque” all the way to John Lewis’ silvery bebop riffs on Bach’s “Well-Tempered Clavier.” But of the many classical works to receive the jazz treatment, the one that continues to be updated most often–and most successfully–is a guitar concerto by a blind Spanish composer who sought to portray in music his anguish over the suffering of his sick wife….
As always, there’s lots more where that came from. See for yourself–buy a copy of tomorrow’s Journal and look me up.