COMPOSERS: Steven Sondeheim
PERFORMER: Trotter Trio
CATALOGUE NO: VSD 5556 DDD
I heard about the next recording long before I heard it. New York friends were raving about a jazz version of Passion. Stephen Sondheim’s latest musical, whose success was crowned by Tony Awards for Best Musical and Best Score, will open in the West End soon.
In the meantime, Terry Trotter, a Sondheim specialist who had played in the Los Angeles production of Side by Side by Sondheim was burning to make a cover version of the show’s complex and melodically interconnected score. The result is Passion… in Jazz, a stunningly original take on a composer notoriously difficult to reconceive.
While it has different jazz antecedents, it has ancestors in the jazz covers of previous generations. Oscar Peterson’s West Side Story comes to mind as does Teddy Wilson’s classic rethinking of Gypsy, but Passion… in Jazz new seems to have taken on a completely different life, unconnected to the story and lyrics of the staged show.