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This recording has been reissued in the Essential Baroque Masterpieces collection with an exclusive interview of Raphaël Imbert:
"The idea of bringing together Bach and Coltrane, which led to this recording in 2007, emerged from my encounter with André Rossi, organist and professor of organ at the Marseille Conservatoire, where I was replacing a professor of jazz at the time. We realised at once that we were both improvisers. At our first session together, André suggested a Lutheran chorale, which we played in a very modal version. It sounded like Coltrane. André then showed me how Bach incorporated a chorale into a cantata. And that sparked off something very special: we felt connected. Beyond the obvious musical rapport, two things we had in common became apparent to us through Bach and Coltrane: improvisation and the spiritual aspect. We conceived this recording with the intention of restoring the improvised dimension to Bach’s works. Although his music is very fully written out, all of it stems from improvisation, particularly the organ music. We mustn’t neglect the element of improvisation, which was very important in Bach. In fact, organists are among the few classical musicians in Europe to have preserved this tradition of improvisation. In rehabilitating Bach the improviser, we also wanted to restore the reputation of Coltrane as a composer. People talk a lot about him as a virtuoso but it’s often forgotten that he was a masterly composer, and not only judged by the standards of the jazz world. His influence on many composers has been remarkable.
It’s strange to see how the enormous success of this disc – it’s one of the pillars of my discography – has had the opposite effect from the intended one. It was well received by the classical media, but snubbed by their jazz equivalents, which pigeonholed me under ‘classical’. That cost me six years of jazz festivals – as if I had been guilty of some kind of betrayal because I had played Bach this way. It took me a while to get my confidence back, but today I’m convinced that my approach is the right one. My projects all follow on logically from one another."
- Raphaël Imbert