Watch: Orchestre de Paris jazzes up Ravel’s Boléro

They seem to be having a good time.

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  • Hilarious…. it sounds as a critique in musical form. Poor Ravel, who had been able to incorporate jazz influences in his piano concerti, elevating them onto the level of his own music. This is the other way around, but probably the Bolero deserves it.

    • “elevating them”

      Mr. Borstlap, your blind conservatism never ceases to amaze me.

      If jazz is “beneath” classical music, then it is as beneath classical music as Dutch music is beneath German or Italian or Russian or French classical music.

      How’s that? (And plus, it’s true!)

      Even among Nordic countries, Dutch composers are … well, I don’t need to say it.

      Sorry if that hurts.

      As for Dutch jazz musicians, don’t even get me started.

      • You did not read the comment properly. It says: elevating them (the jazz influences) to Ravel’s level. I consider Ravel’s oeuvre being absolutely top, belonging to the very best of all classical music, and jazz (however I love it) is, as a genre, not on that level, and how could that observation be ‘blind conservatism’? Talking about eye sight.

        There is nothing wrong with any music not being on Ravel’s artistic level. Not even Bolero.

        Ravel’s Bolero is nice, but not a very good piece, it is good for what it wants to be: an effective ballet piece, but it is with good reason that the composer was totally surprised and quite annoyed that it became so popular.

        But I entirely agree on the point of ‘Dutch music’. (Fortunately, I don’t write it.)

        • I always have to laugh at so-called ‘progressives’. They love change as long as it’s on their own terms!!!

  • Philippe Berrod sounds very good, it sounds like jazz, now, whether he’s improvising, or playing a transcription of his own composition or someone else’s, I don’t know, but my point is, increasingly, the difference between classically trained musicians who “play” jazz from memory and most jazz musicians who play the same improv patterns over and over again from memory, is getting smaller and smaller.

    I don’t dispute that there are plenty of innovative, truly improvisational jazz musicians out there, breaking ground and really inventing on the spot, a modern day Bach or Mozart, but most jazz musicians who come out of the conservatories today are really just highly trained students of various jazz styles who have memorized tons of the classic solos inasmuch as a highly trained classical pianists have 100s of sonatas and concerti in her repertory.

    The two traditions of playing are converging. Look at Wynton Marsalis’s band at Lincoln Center, they are all playing from written music (either original compositions or transcriptions of jazz classics) with, admittedly, few bars of improv from key soloists, but it is music that is written out.

    Classical musicians, in need of expanding its audience base, diversifying its offering to the public, should and need to start playing jazz; there is no shame in playing written out jazz, all jazz bands do it.

    • That last paragraph reveals a profound, emotionally barren ignorance about the nature of Western classical music. Jazz, whatever its qualities, is based upon improvisation and its essence is what the pieces become in the hands or through the vocal cords of the performer; classical music is a worked-out score where as many parameters as possible are fixed, a notation method (an art, really) which offered the possibility to build large, thought-through structures and emotionally-engaging narratives, in more than one dimension, and really, it would be entirely unfair to expect that kind of sophistication from a musical genre which does not want to do that, which strives after entirely different sophistication. Classical music is not jazz, and vice versa, however many attempts have been made to bring them together – they were never (as far as I have understood) a balanced two-in-one but always one element dominating the other (the Ravel concerti, for instance). The entire education of classical musicians is geared towards getting to grips with the art form’s complex sophistication, tradition and ensemble playing. Jazz should be played in a totally different context with a different expectation framework.

      • In response, I leave it to Bye Bye above who said everything that needed to be said in full anticipation of what you just wrote.

  • Bolero may not be Beethoven’s 3 rd Symphony but the the audiences LOVE IT!!! . The same can’t be said for most of the contemporary music that is foisted on the public in the name of art. GET IT!!!!
    Try writing something the people want, not another academic exercise for the so called academic elite that will never make into the concert repertoire.

    The people LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • If you want to see real jazz musicians then take a look at this band, made up of young people from the age of 7 to 20 under a charismatic director of music. The 10 year old soloist is Alba Armengou, and if you look closely you will see her sister Elsa (aged 7) on the back row of the trumpet section.
    I thought I would respond with this, to the pseudo intellectual bullshit spouted by Mr Borstlap about the “superiority” of western classical music.
    Oh, and by the way bring on your classical pianists and lets see how they do against the likes of Art Tatum, Oscar Peterson, Cecil Taylor of the fruitcake that is the genius of Keith Jarrett.

    • But what are “your classical pianists” supposed to “do against the likes of”….Tatum, Peterson, etc? They’re working in a different language with different goals. Classical wants to get into the minds and ideas of great musical thinkers, it’s not always totally successful but that’s also what makes it interesting & passionate, the succession of interpreters thru the generations all offering different viewpoints of established masterworks. Jazz is entertainment, one man, or a band, doing their own stuff, all pleasant enough as background noises but finally limited to what they can do with their own style, having fun, undoubtedly but nothing to do with measuring oneself against great thinkers and writers from all epochs.

      When i first heard Tatum, i was dazzled, but then quickly bored, realising he could only perform his own flashy tricks in his own style, incapable of expressing anything of depth or real variety. His technique is only good for himself, incapable of expressing…Bach, Mozart, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Ravel…… even if he’d wanted to, but why should he? And for those who are satisfied and happy with this, enjoy! Different ideas, desires, goals… don’t try to match one against another.

      • Tatum incapable of expressing anything with depth or variety…flashy tricks…Jesus, there are some absolute snobs on this board.
        Speaking of tricks, I bet I could name almost any classical composer within a minute of hearing them based on their particular “tricks.” But I don’t think less of them-that’s Justin how their music comes to them. Same with Tatum.

    • People who really think that jazz, as a genre, is on the same level of classical music, as a genre, don’t understand the nature of both, and/or cultivate an egalitarian, relativist, pseudo-marxist world view in which quality assessment is a mere power instrument of privileged classes. Distinctions between art forms indicate different perception modes, and thus different value frameworks, that is all. It would be absurd to deny quality differences in the cultural field, because then you end-up with no quality at all: if everything is as good as anything else, nothing is good.

      There is a difference in intention, meaning and effect between a novel by Dostoyevsky and a detective story by Agatha Christie, between a painting by Tizian and a Banksy. So, there is more to the idea of distinction than excremental expression by farm animals.

      • Were you born so arrogant, condescending and patronising, or is it something that you have acquired over the years?

        • I could not resist reacting to this silly comment, mr B is in tears, has locked himself up in the library and refuses his evening cognac. We hear the sobbing in the entire building. He only wished to give some concrete information! You better be happy that you can find valuable stuff so easily and free of costs on SD!! You do seem to need it badly.


    • That’s a rather rash conclusion to your comment. Two pre-eminent classical pianists, Geza Anda and Friedrich Gulda, both played jazz and both were voted Best Jazz Pianist in the European Jazz Critics Awards. One also needs to consider the jazz pianists who received a full classical training, e.g., Jacques Loussier, Keith Jarrett, Herbie Hancock, Nina Simone, et all. Rather a lot of those.

      • Afterthought: I should have written, “Rather a lot of those, including Cecil Taylor”. What he discovered re classical composers taking his degree in composition at the New England Conservatory shows in his playing. Piano he studied at the New York College of Music. It was, I think, with good reason that his ‘Algonquin’ performance was released on Bridge, a classical label.

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