In 1963, around the time the Beatles became popular in the United States, I began listening to the radio, and occasionally I’d hear a jazzy vocal arrangement of a Bach piece, like this one:
In Paris in 1962, a musician named Ward Swingle assembled a group of fine vocalists who sang lush arrangements of Baroque repertoire with no or minimal instrumentation, often just a drum set and string bass, using jazz techniques such as syncopated rhythms and scatting. When I was in my high school chorus, we sang one of their arrangements, maybe this one:
Bach, Sleepers Awake:
I recently googled The Swingle Singers and discovered that they are still performing and recording. The makeup of the group has changed, with new singers auditioning every time a vacancy occurred. Here are some of their more recent work.
Beatles’ Blackbird/ I Will:
Ciao, Bella, ciao is an Italian song that was featured in a Korean movie, Han Gong Ju:
Mozart: Rondo Alla Turca:
William Tell Overture:
Peter Gunn theme music:
Mozart Symphony No. 40:
We sang one of these two in my choir! They were challenging but a lot of fun!
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