Faure was doing jazz before there was jazz

My friends and I were playing Faure’s only piano trio a few days ago.  It was Opus 120 written toward the end of his long life (1845 – 1924). The second movement was nice and slow starting with the piano just playing Bill Evans 60’s and 70’s chords under the melody.   It really should swing gently, something beyond the ken of a purely classically trained musician.  Example: Jean Pierre Rampal trying to swing the Claude Bolling work for piano and flute — https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vh7HzrJkers.   Spoiler alert: despite being a fabulous flutist, Rampal just doesn’t swing.

Some jazz musicians can do classic — see Michaela Petri and Keith Jarrett  on the Bach flute sonatas — https://www.discogs.com/release/3888414-Keith-Jarrett-Michala-Petri-Bach-Sonatas

Jazz in the 20’s was about dixieland, the blues and big bands, so Faure was really influencing the jazz that came later.  Here’s a link to Evans playing Pavane for a dead Princess among other classics –https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Evans_Trio_with_Symphony_Orchestra.  I have the album, and Evans doesn’t muck about with the chord structure (he doesn’t need to)  although being jazz the Pavanne isn’t played entirely straight.

Afterwards, I remembered another very jazzy part in Faure’s first piano quartet (premiered in 1880 !)  It’s only a few measures long, but with chord shifts every quarter note, augmented fifths, major 7ths and a great descending base line, all under a 3 quarter note melody, which repeats 4 times as the chords shift under it.  Pure jazz.  Unfortunately my score doesn’t have measure numbers but if you happen to own the International Edition, it occurs just before K in the first movement on page 14.

If any of you know of further jazz in Faure’s work add your comment to this.

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