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Brandon Ridenour’s EP “Bach and Blue” is a creative and virtuosic tour de force that takes place across four pieces (inspired) by Bach. Taking from his Violin Partita No.2, Ridenour adapts both the Allemande and Courante in representative baroque style first, then performs them as improvisatory jazz pieces. Every note of this album has been transcribed, and having both versions of each of these pieces makes for fantastic recital repertoire and personal practice for ambitious trumpeters.
There are really good reasons to put these two styles together. Bach’s intricate compositions and jazz share surprising parallels despite originating in distinct eras and genres. Both emphasize improvisation, showcasing the performer’s virtuosity and creativity. Bach’s music often contained written-out embellishments and ornamentation, leaving room for performers to interpret and enhance his pieces, akin to jazz musicians improvising within a framework.
Harmonically, both Bach and jazz artists experiment with intricate chord progressions and modulations. Bach’s use of counterpoint and complex harmonies mirrors the harmonic complexities found in jazz, where extended chords and unexpected harmonic shifts are commonplace.
Rhythmic vitality also connects the two genres. Bach’s intricate rhythmic patterns and use of syncopation provide a foundation for the lively rhythms intrinsic to jazz. Swing, a quintessential jazz rhythm, shares rhythmic affinities with Bach’s dance-inspired compositions.
Finally, the pursuit of technical mastery characterizes both Bach and jazz musicians. Their pieces demand exceptional skill, pushing boundaries of technique and expression. While separated by centuries and cultural contexts, Bach’s music and jazz converge in their celebration of improvisation, harmonic exploration, rhythmic innovation, and instrumental prowess, illustrating the timeless universality of musical creativity.
To the left, you will find the first page of each solo, and below you can give parts of the audio a listen. When you are ready, click above for an immediate digital download of both the trumpet sheet music and the audio files as performed by Brandon Ridenour himself.
Listen to Classical Allemande (Sample)
Listen to Jazz Allemande (Sample)
Listen to Classical Courante (Sample)
Listen to Jazz Courante (Sample)