The Swingle Singers: Prelude #9


Prelude No. 9 from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book II


The Swingle Singers


Jazz Sebastian Bach (Philips 824 703-2)

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Christiane Legrand, Claudine Meunier, Jeanette Baucomont, Ward Swingle, et al. (vocals), Pierre Michelot (bass), Gus Wallez (drums)


Recorded: Paris, June 1963


Rating: 93/100 (learn more)

Bach was big in the '60s. No, not the 1760s—the 1960s! Before Procol Harum's "A Whiter Shade of Pale" (1967) rocked Bach and Walter Carlos's Switched-On Bach (1968) plugged the old gent into synthesizers, The Swingle Singers set wordless vocal transcriptions of the Baroque master's keyboard pieces to jazz. Forgoing improv, four female and four male vocalists stick faithfully to his notes, but apply a thoroughly assimilated jazz rhythmic sensibility. The basic character of Prelude No. 9 (1744) is deemed "rather lively" by Bach scholar Siglind Bruhn. True to their name, the Swingles swing it very lively. Kapellmeister Bach would have approved.

Reviewer: Alan Kurtz

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