Recess 9 explanation--You've just met the Swingle Singers

The recording you just heard was made over 40 years ago by an ensemble which started up in France called the Swingle Singers. Ward Swingle was an American pianist, singer and arranger. (He's the man on the far right in the picture.) The group in the photo is primarily French musicians and they were all trained in classical music. They originally got together to sing vocal arrangements of jazz tunes. However, when they began to experiment with singing vocal versions of classical Baroque pieces with a rhythm section of bass and drums, it evolved into a recording known as "Jazz Sebastian Bach."

Swingle has kept the group going through several incarnations. He will be 81 this year. His original lead soprano, Christiane Legrand (the second woman from the right in picture) went with some of the other French people and formed a group called Quire which made one album for RCA. It was another incredible album but it received absolutely no attention whatsoever. One of their best tracks was a vocal version of Fats Waller's piano version of his song "Ain't Misbehavin'." It's exceptional if you can still find it.

Here is one of Christiane's sexiest solos-the Largo from the Harpsichord Concerto in F minor by Bach. Listen!

That's a beautiful rendition, and here's one more wonderful Bach piece-Prelude No. 19 in A from The Well-Tempered Clavier, Book I.


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