9 Songs, 1 Hour 12 Minutes


Ratings and Reviews

5.0 out of 5
5 Ratings

5 Ratings

CandiceMichelle1 ,

Review from Journeyscapes Radio

Jazz Meets the Classics is musician and composer Alan Storeygard’s fifth recording and first classical album, his previous four releases having primarily featured jazz piano arrangements and original songs. Comprised of nine reinterpreted classical compositions, including several lengthier medley-styled pieces, the album spans over seventy-two minutes and features covers by some of the greatest classical music masters in history such as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Alternating between solo piano and symphonic orchestration throughout, Storeyguard is additionally joined on varying compositions by Brain Wolverton on bass, recording engineer Dave Rogers on drums, Danny Fletcher on guitar, and recording engineer Eric Chesher on orchestration and synthesizers.

“Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp Minor” offers a bold, stark opening full of dramatic, sweeping piano accompanied by cymbals and brass instruments. Initially conveying a setting of being in a large auditorium while viewing a dazzling live stage performance, the mood shifts at about the halfway point to that of a more intimate piano-bar setting that incorporates notably jazzier elements. Winding down towards the latter part of the piece with a solo piano jazz riff, the composition signs off with one last exertion of swelling neoclassical symphony. Arranged as a tone poem, “The Moldau Symphony” by Bedrich Smetana and Hector Berloiz opens with delicately twirling piano in the higher registers, which slowly descend into a more reverberating fullness. Conveyed by the expressive sound of grand piano, the piece eventually unfolds into a lovely classical jazz ensemble. The slower-paced classical number, “Beethoven’s 9th Symphony”, is given an interesting spin by being fully rendered into a jazz ensemble framework. Perfectly suited to a couple’s dance, the piece seemingly conjures images of a romantic evening spent dining at a quaint café. The nearly twelve-and-half-minute medley, “Chopin’s Ballade 1 in G Minor, Nocturne 2 in E-Flat, and Waltz 6 in D-Flat”, is perhaps my favorite composition on the album, noted by a subtle waltzing pace that is alternated with a more rubato approach, as solo piano dances up and down the registers with a graceful extravagance. The most curious inclusion on the album is perhaps “The Star-Spangled Banner”, a definitively bombastic yet well-rendered composition that ultimately concludes with Giacomo Puccini’s classically famous “Nessun Dorma”.

Presented in appropriately colorful and detailed gatefold packaging, Jazz Meets the Classics overall succeeds in its daunting effort to harmoniously interweave its prevailing styles of neoclassical and traditional jazz music, and will likely appeal, especially, to fans who enjoy both genres!

KathyPiano7 ,

From MainlyPiano

Jazzing up the classics isn’t a new concept, but Alan Storeygard’s "Jazz Meets the Classics" is something special. Some of the pieces are solo piano and some include The Alan Storeygard Trio and Friends. I think two things that make this album exceptional are the selection of music and the fact that Storeygard seems to really know the originals. Obviously, there are many changes to these nine classical pieces, but Storeygard is very faithful to their essence, if not to the notes themselves. The CD includes a colorful eleven-page booklet with comments about the music, notes about the composers, and more. Storeygard’s award-winning debut album, "Church Jazz," was released in 2001; "Jazz Meets the Classics" is his fifth album.

I was surprised and fascinated to discover that Alan Storeygard is also a family doctor in Jacksonville, Arkansas, where he has served his community for almost four decades, delivering more than 1,000 babies and working with as many as five generations in one family. Storeygard’s bio says that he is as dedicated to music as he is to medicine, and it’s a combination that seems to be working really well for him!

"Jazz Meets the Classics" begins with Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C# Minor,” one of my favorite classical pieces. Fully orchestrated, the middle “interlude” section is mostly solo piano and has some blues chords and jazz rhythms that bring it right into the 21st century. I’ve always loved the power and emotional depth of this piece, and I like Storeygard’s arrangement almost as much as the original. “The Moldau Symphony” by Bedrich Smetana is arranged as a tone poem in the style of Hector Berlioz. The first half of the piece is a piano solo, and the second half cuts loose with the jazz trio. “Beethoven’s 9th Symphony” is laid-back and again features the trio - very cool! Three of Chopin’s pieces - “Ballad 1 in G-Minor,” “Nocturne #2 in Eb” and “Waltz #6 in Db” (plus some snippets of his “Waltz in C# Minor”) - combine to make a compelling 12 1/2 minute piano solo. It’s more classical than jazzy, but the piece really soars! Love it! One of the bigger surprises on the album is a medley of “The Star Spangled Banner” with an ending from Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.” Even more surprising is how well it works! It was originally arranged for a concert in Italy in 2005, and Storeygard’s Trio was invited to perform it again at Carnegie Hall in 2011. The longest track on the album is an almost 17-minute performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. “Alessio’s Song” comes from Jacques Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffman.” It is arranged as a tone poem, again in the style of Berlioz, and this arrangement was inspired by a concert performance by Italian classical pianist and opera singer Alessio Quaresima Escobar. Performed as a graceful and lyrical piano solo, it’s a beauty! The elegant jazz piano arrangement of JS Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is played at a slow tempo that imbues the piece with a poignance not usually associated with it. Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto has been adapted, arranged and performed by a wide variety of artists and is one of the more popular classical pieces. Storeygard’s arrangement is fully orchestrated with a big, rich sound and brings this excellent album to a close.

In general, I would say this album is more classical than jazz, but the arrangements really work and the album is a joy to listen to! Highly recommended to those who enjoy the classics with a twist!

WKellerman ,

The best of both worlds!

When Jazz meets the classics, there is a world of possibilities! As I listened to this record, the music took me on a journey, particularly the running notes and gorgeous melody of the MOLDAU SYMPHONY, and the lilting 6/8 romance of ALESSIO’S SONG. The brushed drums add so many colours to the music fabric here. The flow between the STAR SPANGLED BANNER and the Puccini’s Nessun Dorma is so majestic, it gives me goosebumps! The medley of BALLADE 1 IN G MINOR/ NOCTURNE 2 IN Eb/ WALTZ 6 IN Db is creatively and seamlessly woven together – the best moments of each piece showcased. I found the interpretation of JESU JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING absolutely brilliant – really the pinnacle of the Jazz and Classical fusion. The melody is easily recognizable in between the moments of improvisation. What a treat of the classics!