The result of a concert performed by Jean-Michel Bernard celebrating the music of legendary composer Lalo Schifrin at the 2016 La Baule Film Music Festival in France, Varèse Sarabande will release a new studio recording of Jean-Michel Bernard Plays Lalo Schifrin digitally and on CD October 6, 2017. The album features three piano duets performed by Bernard with Schifrin himself!
In addition to this wonderful release, Varèse Sarabande, together with Musicians at Play and Music Fund Los Angeles, will be celebrating the 85th birthday of Schifrin with a special concert on October 7th in Los Angeles, at the historic Alex Theatre in Glendale (click here for concert details).
Lalo Schifrin calls Jean-Michel Bernard his 'soul brother.' The two first met over 25 years ago, but it wasn't until they were reacquainted in 2016 that they would strike up a musical friendship. Schifrin was the guest of honor at the 2016 La Baule Film Music Festival. Bernard was asked to give a tribute concert to celebrate the Maestro, and re-orchestrated Lalo's themes for the performance. Though not originally scheduled to – Bernard invited Lalo to join him on stage and the two played 35 minutes of amazing improvisations, culminating in Schifrin's beloved Mission: Impossible.
"After a Dirty Harry Blues duo with Pierre Boussaguet, he launched into a wild piano duel with Jean-Michel on Happy Birthday - it really was Boussaguet's birthday - before ending on a white-hot reprise of Mission: Impossible… thirty-five minutes later!" described the French journalist Stéphane Lerouge. "The audience, fully aware that they had witnessed a historic happening, gave them a standing ovation that stopped the clock."
Inspired by the music of Schifrin and determined to recreate the historic moment by recording his arrangements for this album, Jean-Michel began recording this album - featuring Lalo's beloved music from Mannix, Cool Hand Luke, Bullitt, The Cincinnati Kid, the Dirty Harry Suite (featuring composer - and Clint's son - Kyle Eastwood on electric bass), plus a melodic trip to Lalo's roots with pieces like Lalo's Bossa Nova and Tango Del Atardecer. After an initial recording session in France, Lalo invited Jean-Michel to Los Angeles to record a series of duets at the legendary Capitol Studios where Lalo would join him for three pieces.
"Jean-Michel reserved two pieces for him [Lalo], each for two pianos: Chano (originally written for Gillespie), and a lengthy introduction to The Plot, like some fantasy joust nourished on jubilant quotes," wrote Lerouge. "He also built up an original suite combining Recuerdos from Che! (with a baguala rhythm) and the love theme from The Four Musketeers in Renaissance style, forming a made-to-measure piece for Sara Andon, a stunning New World classical flautist. These three piano duets, performed by Lalo and Jean-Michel, can be heard on this album: Introduction to The Plot, Chano, and The Cheketeers Suite."