ACT Records 9844-2
Dieter Ilg (bs) Rainer Bohm (pno) Patrice Heral (drs)
It is well over half a century since The Jacques Loussier Trio launched the first of their forty plus Bach themed albums upon the world. Although the French pianist enjoyed huge commercial success with the project, he had to bear the wrath of most critics and others within the music world. It is very unlikely that either fate will fall upon this trio of highly talented contemporary jazz musicians. The leader and bass virtuoso Dieter Ilg is from Offenburg in Germany. A graduate of The Manhatten School Of Music famed for his duo performances with saxophonist Charlie Mariano, solo projects and work with US heavyweights Mike Stern, Bob Berg and David Leibman. He also has fourteen albums to date under his own name. For the Bach project(s) he has called upon his fellow countryman, the award winning pianist Rainer Bohm who is a lecturer for the instrument at The Mainz University in Mannheim as well as the recipient of The New German Jazz Prize as soloist of the year for 2016. Completing the trio is drummer Patrice Heral from Montpellier in France who is one of the busiest rhythm players on the scene and has recently appeared within bands led by trumpet players Markus Stockhausen and Tomaz Stanko.
It is often said that “You cannot play jazz without playing Bach”. This may well be so, but the problem could be where and when to improvise whist at least interpreting in some way the sentiments that the father of western classical music intended. Mr Ilg overcomes this problem perfectly by prefacing the title of each piece with the very important words “inspired by”. Listeners will find that Rainer Bohm processes an exquisite touch on the keys, ideal for interpreting this music, while the leader’s bass is strong and searching adding the jazz feel to proceedings. The drummers decorative cymbal work also complements the musical soundscape well. There is certainly more variation than improvisation throughout, but at the same time the excellent musicianship more than keeps interest alive. The four “Goldberg” pieces, the two Praludium’s plus the strong melody of “Air” adapt best to the format. The technicality and structure here will certainly appeal to those with a good knowledge of Bach, although other ears may find the recording a little cold and academic.