Quick, name the best jazz composer of the 17th century. Stuck? Try J.S. Bach. The fugues, inventions and suites by the iconic Baroque classical composer translate surprisingly well to a jazz trio, as Pacific Lutheran University piano lecturer Diana Walker recently discovered. With a bassist and drummer, she’ll be playing that Bach jazz at a concert at PLU on Saturday.
“It’s pushing my comfort zone to play with a (jazz) trio, and it’s pushing their comfort levels to play Bach,” says Walker, who began the experiment only a month ago. “But it has been incredible fun. There’s so much just plain joy in the Bach works.”
And audiences love it. The trio’s first concert, part of the UP for Arts series in University Place earlier this month, sold out. The reaction from Walker’s classical friends has been “overwhelmingly positive,” she says. One of her adult students who attended the concert walked into her next lesson announcing she wanted to play a fugue.
Fugues are just some of what Walker, Olympia bassist Lorree Gardener and drummer and PLU alum LaMont Atkinson Jr. will be playing Saturday. There will also be selections from the Anna Magdalena Notebook, the inventions (two- and three-part keyboard works), the Little Preludes, French and English suites, and the “Well-Tempered Clavier.”
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“Bach’s music can go from cool jazz to hot rock without changing a note or a rhythm. And it’s fun,” says Walker.
When: 8 p.m. Saturday.
Where: Lagerquist Hall, Pacific Lutheran University, 12180 Park Ave. S., Tacoma.
Cost: Free, donations appreciated to benefit Sigma Alpha Iota, which supports local music organizations.
Information: 253-535-7602, plu.edu.