The Jazz-Baroque Project
is based on an idea which occurred to me over many years of being a classical violinist by day and a jazz musician by night. The similarities between Baroque Music and Jazz are striking. Both are based on the rhythmic language of dance beats. Both have evolved a texture that springs from counterpoint between an anchoring bass line and melody, with improvised harmony that glues the two together. While there have been many crossover arrangements of Baroque pieces in a Jazz setting, I wanted to try something a little different. My idea was to focus on the most striking features of each of the works by Bach and Telemann and work those into original Jazz compositions that would reflect the spirit of the old works in a new way. I also wanted to allow for the free improvisation that is essential to the Jazz musician.
As the project has evolved in both live performance and recording, I feel a strong sense of gratitude to the wonderful musicians who have collaborated with me in realizing this crazy idea. I am especially indebted to the great Jazz Violinist John Blake for his fantastic performances of my double violin pieces based based on concertos by Bach and Vivaldi. John's recent passing leaves me with deep thankfulness for the time we spent together making music. In addition to Mr. Blake are bassist Nathan Santos, guitarist John Stowell, Soprano Mary Hastings, pianist Pete Dugas, and bassist Jeff Grubbs, with whom the project continues.
You can see some video and hear an audio sample on this page. My recent recording "Double Take" is available on CD Baby and there is a link to that site on the recordings page. A new Jazz- Baroque recording is in production now and will be out early next year.
Here are some reactions from fellow musicians to "Double Take"
"Stanley Chepaitis makes the familiar new, and the new strangely familiar. It is as if he gives us a new set of ears with which to enjoy a remarkable album, beautifully performed and brilliantly conceived."
Raymond Helble - Composer
"He uniquely combines rhythmic dance forms around baroque and jazz styles."
John Blake - Jazz Violinist