Bach's Secret Files and More Crossover Fantasies
This quartet is on to something quite marvelous: a hybrid interplay between jazz and classical music - even opera - that should please fans of both genres, and expose the separatists to the virtues of each form. The band is co-led by former Canadian Brass trumpeter Joe Berstaller and pianist Hector Martignon, who has serious Latin jazz credentials. As they did previously with Mozart, they have an addiction to mining the possibilities found within J.S. Bach's music (five of 11 tracks come from the Bach repertoire) but also stretching their concept to the work of early 1900s avant-gardist Erik Satie, plus impressionist Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy and Giacomo Puccini.
Most often, they add an invigorating jazz twist to a classical work, like Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1" and the Aria from Bach's "Goldberg Variations." A pleasant Flamenco tinge adds to the opener, "The River of Night," a Bergstaller melody set to Bach's "Praeludium in C minor," and Ravel's "Piece en Forme de Habanera" (Spanish Haze). Martignon brings some serious clavé to Bach's "Praeludium XI in F Major" (here subtitled "A Start to Something"). Their version of "Gymnopédie" is delightful. Bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer John Ferrari round out the quartet. In a bit of variation from their premier CD, Mozart's Blue Dreams & Other Crossover Fantasies, they also added select appearances by soprano Brenda Feliciano (on "Ebarme Dich"), percussionist Samuel Torres on six of 11 tracks, and cellist Michael Kannen on Mendelssohn's "Lieder Ohne Worte."