Saturday, 23 September 2017

Don Sebesky does classical music in 1979

I knew him from the 2-LP fusion masterpiece Giant Box and was surprised I never listened to this one before since it's right up my alley, more than that, it's the very alley I made my home in, for many years, under a cardboard shack.

On Giant Box, the song about flying with vocals by Don pretending he's Chet Baker, and doing a convincing job of it at that, is simply stunning:

In fact, the whole record for me is an exemplar of great progressive fusion.  Those were certainly the days...
Then, after a disappointing "Rape of El Morro," in 1979 Sebesky made this beautiful classical-jazz 'third stream' type record.

The Rite of Spring, a piece of music I could never get tired of hearing:

How wonderful to hear what the warmth of jazz piano can bring to the cold chemical sterility of classical composition!

The full information for these arrangement / compositions can be found here.  Notice they are amalgams of Bartok, Stravinsky (obviously) and Bach, written by Sebesky.  The long symphonic work based on Bartok has the impressive full title of "Bird And Belá In B Flat - A Musical Account Of An Imaginary Meeting Between Charlie "Bird" Parker And Belá Bartók In The Form Of A Concerto For Jazz Quintet And Orchestra In B Flat."  Wow.  Yes indeed those were the days.
For those who are interested, few as they are, the orchestra is the (London) Royal Philharmonic directed by one Harry Rabinowitz.

The album closes out with one of those incredibly beautiful 70s melodies, the kind of melody one can only hear from this period in fact, pensively melancholy and classically gentle, like Colombier's Emmanuel:

You can see that it's credited to co-composers Sebesky and Bach.  I don't remember which composition it is by Johann Sebastian but I remember playing it once long ago on the piano.


  1. 1979

    Giant Box from 1973

  2. Julian, just listened to Three Works and I love it
    Thank you

  3. The Bach piece is the Siciliene from Bach's flute sonata in G minor!