Mozart, Wolfgang Amadeus / Piano Concerto No. 9, K.271 Jeunehomme (Makoto Ozone, Pianist, Jazz Version)
Here is a famous piano concerto flavored with innovative styling from a team of exceptional artists. The “Jeunehomme” Concerto is perhaps Mozart's most famous one, and now it’s been arranged and orchestrated by pianist Makoto Ozone into a wonderful contemporary piece spiked with a Jazz infusion. Mozart was 21 years old when he wrote this piece in 1777, and it is often considered his first true masterpiece. Taking Mozart's music away from the sweep of the diaphanous grandeur of strings and bringing it into the swing and audacity of jazz sheds a light on new facets of the composer's mind. And if there is gravitas, there is also joy. The "1st Movement, Allegro Swing" (adapted from the original's "Allegro") is uplifting, injected with a jazz energy via an intricate arrangement and a brash rhythm section. Drummer Alyn Cosker drives the music with fire in the more propulsive sections. Ozone plays with classical delicacy and stateliness in a solo piano segment that leads into a torrid tenor sax turn by the Orchestra's director, Tommy Smith, backed by Ozone's shift to a muscular and percussive accompaniment. And swing it does. The "2nd Movement, Adantino Tango," opens with a mournful tenor sax solo. From a perspective not fully familiar with the classical side, this 18- minute section sounds the most classical, and profound. The mix of brass and reeds is laid down with a subtle grace, containing a solo segment for soprano sax by Ruaridh Pattison, a small, searching masterpiece, followed by a lush elegance from Ozone at the piano. The "3rd Movement, Rondo/Presto Be-Bop," brings the jazz element back to the forefront. Ozone employs a classical flashiness on the piano, then slips into something that sounds like Fats Waller. Next, here comes the band, with energetic gusto, giving trumpeter Tom Walsh some room to tear it up. Later, a free-flying turn by trombonist Chris Greive lets loose.