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Friday, May 9, 2014

Jazz vs Jazz: BOTB winners


            My most recent Battle of the Bands post of May 1st pitted a couple of jazzed up versions of Gabriel Faure's beautiful classical piece "Pavane".   When I listen to the version as it was intended to be performed it almost seems like a sacrilege to have jazzed up versions.   But then I listen to either of  those versions and realize it works--either one of them stands well on it's own.  I prefer the original as the composer intended, but I enjoy my Battle picks as well.

           The first time I ever recall hearing a version of Faure's "Pavane" was the one by Brian Auger on his great eclectic collection with his band The Trinity on the album Befour.   I was already a Brian Auger and the Trinity fan after having seen them perform in 1968 on the This Is Tom Jones television show with vocalist Julie Driscoll.   Very impressed with their style, I got their albums Streetnoise and Jools & Brian.  Later when Auger's Befour album sans Driscoll came out I was still in his camp and not disappointed.  It's a great album for those who enjoy jazz rock.

            Though recorded a few years before Auger's album, I didn't discover Stan Getz's album Voices until the late 90's.   The CD version I found has the Voices album paired with another similarly styled album called Cool Velvet.   What an album pairing!   After reading the liner notes I learned that the song on the album that is called "Once" was actually a mellow jazz reworking of Faure's "Pavane".   It was only recently that I made the connection between Auger's version and the one by Getz.

           So how did the two versions fare with you the readers?   For me it's such a tough choice.  It's one of those things that might have a different answer depending on the time of day and my mood.  But over all since I seem to lean toward a more mellow sound the older I get, I'm going to go with the Getz version called "Once".    That doesn't make Auger's version less great in my eyes, but my trending taste in music gives Getz my vote.

           The majority of you felt like I did and so Getz came out ahead with 13 votes.  Auger's 9 votes was not a bad showing though and might have gotten the win if more of you had been in a jazz rock mood.  It was a good contest.

 Final Vote:    Stan Getz 13       Brian Auger 9

          Do you enjoy when classical works are given a modern music style treatment?    Do you like it when rock songs are given a classical treatment?  Have you heard any of the string quartet albums that give classical treatment to songs by well known rock acts (e.g.--The String Quartet Tribute to Led Zeppelin)?

           Next Battle of the Bands will be on Thursday May 15th.

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  1. I'd never heard either version, so thank you for educating us!

  2. I've heard Symphonic Pink Floyd - does that count?
    Classic and rock actually blend well together. You'll only to look at bands like Trans Siberian Orchestra to see that. I think if the great composers were still alive, they would write music that sounds like that.

  3. I have 3 words for ya: Electric. Light. Orchestra. Their use of strings and classical motifs in their rock music is second to none.

    Remember in the early 80s a bunch of classical pop melodies came out under the name 'Hooked on Classics'? They were given a rock or dance beat but the classical music was mixed in? they'd use snippets of several well known classical pieces in one track.

  4. I always think it is interesting when a group takes a song that we are used to hearing one way and make the sound big band, jazz, and the list goes on. If it is done well, it is very pleasing.

  5. >>... Do you enjoy when classical works are given a modern music style treatment? Do you like it when rock songs are given a classical treatment?

    Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It depends on the group and the musical piece. But I am NO FAN of ProgRock, so that automatically eliminates a lot of Rock trying to sound somewhat 'Classical'.

    I like quite a bit of Pink Floyd's stuffs, so that's not what I mean by ProgRock. I'm referring more to groups like YES, ELP, and yeah, you can throw the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in there too. Spock's Beard... you know what I mean. Heavy on the keyboards and with sudden, nonsensical tempo shifts that give the listener (at least THIS listener, anyway) a case of 'Musical Whiplash'.

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  6. Stephanie -- I try to be somewhat educational on my blog sometimes.

    Alex -- I have a symphonic Pink Floyd album and it works well with the music. Some of the great composer might have written some music like you mention, but I'm glad we have what they wrote as there is a difference. But much rock works well blended with classical formats.

    JoJo -- ELO is a group that I like a lot. I remember the "Hooked On Classics"--it's a good introduction to these works and I'm for music excursions such as this. I wouldn't want them to replace the originals though.

    Robin -- I agree and there have been so many musical treatments like this.

    StMc -- I do like the intricacies of Prog Rock and I'm glad to see that some rock has gone in that direction. I'll take it over most 50's rock any day. I enjoy big works that move in and out of themes and rhythms and create something bigger and more complex than just a three chord three minute romp with a catchy hook. I don't care whether it's easy to dance to or not because I don't care to dance, but I like a lot of that music as well.

    Bottom line is that I'm a big appreciator of music of all kinds and I can usually find something good to say about some part of nearly all music--even rap which I'd prefer not to listen to at all.


  7. I'm with Robin: " If it is done well, it is very pleasing. "

  8. Like most of the other comments, I agree that I would decide on a song by song basis. some classical music lends itself very well to more modern arrangements, some not so much.

  9. Susan Kane -- This statement makes total sense.

    FAE-- It probably depends a lot on who's arranging and who's performing.


  10. Hi Lee,

    I do indeed like it when classical works are given a modern musical adaptation. A fusion of genres works for me.

    I enjoy the rock versions done by the Ukulele Band of Great Britain. You might like to check this :

    Enjoy your weekend, Lee.


  11. I hadn't heard either version, but now I have, all thanks to you, Lee.

  12. Sadly, growing up watching Bugs Bunny et al coupled with playing the clarinet as a child/young adult effective and efficiently killed any and all appreciation for classical music as well as any modern interpretation thereof.

    Father Nature's Corner

  13. Huge fan of Rock/Classic mashup. That includes jazz versions of musicals sometimes (or at least, music from them). Jazz Sondheim is great - not sure sure about Peterson's West Side Story.

    Rock, though - oh that takes me back to college. Deep Purple in Concert; some classical pieces immediately make me think of Yes concerts and Rick Wakeman in his satin cloak... He did a wonderful series for our (UK) Classic FM music station a couple of years ago looking at rock influenced by the classics. Remember Curved Air's Vivaldi? The Nice's America? I didn't know Pictures at an Exhibiton before Emerson, Lake and Palmer! Still prefer their version :D ELO of course, but more recently it's gone the other way as you say - I think the Queen Sumphony may have been before Symphonic Pink Floyd, and I think there was a Symphonic Radiohead as well.

    Sorry, better stop :D


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