Friday, January 14, 2022

Friday's Playlist: Third Stream

Happy Friday! For this playlist, we've put together a small selection of so-called Third Stream compositions. The Third Stream as theorized by conductor and composer Gunther Schuller  is a musical genre that fuses jazz and classical music. It's an intriguing approach to both composing and improvising and it should come as no surprise that there are as many approaches to this aesthetic as there are participants: Mingus sounds nothing like Miles who sounds nothing like Ornette.

Of course, the fusing of classical orchestration and jazz instrumentation was nothing new. Hollywood had been using it for a while, and artists like Duke Ellington hadn't waited for Schuller to compose ambitious pieces that transcended the format.

In fact, the title of this playlist is a little misleading because we've included a few numbers that don't quite fit into the very rigid confines of the Third Stream manifesto: Jacques Loussier's Play Bach is a transgression of Gunther Schuller's ethos as it is classical music played by jazz musicians. Mahavishnu's Orchestra's Apocalypse or Kronos Quartet's works don't exactly fit in the mold either, but they are sonically coherent with the rest of the tracks and provide a great overview of how porous the wall between classical, modern music and jazz can be.

Enjoy, comment and share!

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