When Jazz meets the classics, there is a world of possibilities! As I listened to this record, the music took me on a journey, particularly the running notes and gorgeous melody of the MOLDAU SYMPHONY, and the lilting 6/8 romance of ALESSIO’S SONG. The brushed drums add so many colors to the music fabric here. The flow between the Star Spangled Banner and the Puccini’s Nessun Dorma is so majestic, it gives me goosebumps! The medley of Ballade 1 IN G Minor / Nocturne 2 in Eb/WALTZ 6 in Db is creatively and seamlessly woven together – the best moments of each piece showcased. I found the interpretation of JESU JOY OF MAN’S DESIRING absolutely brilliant – really the principle of the Jazz and Classical fusion. The melody is easily recognizable in between the moments of improvisation. What a treat of the classics!
Loved this fusion of jazz and classical… Alan is a real virtuoso, and my favorite track on this album is the Star Spangled Banner combined with Puccini (Nessun Dorma)…showcasing Alan’s musical creativity. A CD worth every penny! His arrangements are one of a kind!
This is a unique and brilliant album featuring Alan Storeygard with the Alan Storeygard Trio and friends.
Storeygard, who is a pianist, composer, artist and physician, has taken classics such as Beethoven’s “Ninth Symphony” and added a twist to incorporate a jazz component in his own style. This is Storeygard’s fifth album and it ROCKS! Track 5 is “The Star Spangled Banner with Italian Ending (from “Nessun Dorma.”) This is an amazing rendition. The beginning is very jazzy sounding and then, in big bold notes, one begins to know the melody. A very moving piece! Other surprises on this album are pieces composed by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, Johann Sebastian Bach and Sergei Rachmaninoff that Storeygard has arranged and taken to a new level. I highly recommend this CD for some inspiration and a new perspective on some classics.
Alan Storeygard’s magnificent imagination, and his magical fingers, have taken me to
the moon and back. The tracks evoke emotions from the jazz world and classical world,
that soar in a very gentle way. Presently, my wife has taken the CD and is listening to it.
She has told me that she’s keeping it in her car, because it has such a calming effect.
In addition to his ten talented fingers, Alan has two finely tuned ears – because he is pure perfection when it comes to choosing just the right combination of classics to give his jazz treatment to. When you start with the most brilliant works of music ever written by such luminaries as Bach, Chopin and Beethoven, to name a few, the arrangement and interpretation can make or break you. I am glad to report that Alan Storeygard has definitely made everything and broken nothing here in this masterful collection. My personal favorite was his “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” an arrangement I won’t soon forget.
Jazz Meets the Classics is musician and composer Alan Storeygard’s fifth recording and first classical album, his previous four releases having primarily featured jazz piano arrangements and original songs. Comprised of nine reinterpreted classical compositions, including several lengthier medley-styled pieces, the album spans over seventy-two minutes and features covers by some of the greatest classical music masters in history such as Sergei Rachmaninoff, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Frederic Chopin, Johann Sebastian Bach, and Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky. Alternating between solo piano and symphonic orchestration throughout, Storeygard is additionally joined on varying compositions by Brian Wolverton on bass, recording engineer Dave Rogers on drums, Danny Fletcher on guitar, and recording engineer Eric Chesher on orchestration and synthesizers.
“Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C-Sharp Minor” offers a bold, stark opening full of dramatic, sweeping piano accompanied by cymbals and brass instruments. Initially conveying a setting of being in a large auditorium while viewing a dazzling live stage performance, the mood shifts at about the halfway point to that of a more intimate piano-bar setting that incorporates notably jazzier elements. Winding down towards the latter part of the piece with a solo piano jazz riff, the composition signs off with one last exertion of swelling neoclassical symphony. Arranged as a tone poem, “The Moldau Symphony” by Bedrich Smetana and Hector Berloiz opens with delicately twirling piano in the higher registers, which slowly descend into a more reverberating fullness. Conveyed by the expressive sound of grand piano, the piece eventually unfolds into a lovely classical jazz ensemble. The slower-paced classical number, “Beethoven’s 9th Symphony”, is given an interesting spin by being fully rendered into a jazz ensemble framework. Perfectly suited to a couple’s dance, the piece seemingly conjures images of a romantic evening spent dining at a quaint café. The nearly twelve-and-half-minute medley, “Chopin’s Ballade 1 in G Minor, Nocturne 2 in E-Flat, and Waltz 6 in D-Flat”, is perhaps my favorite composition on the album, noted by a subtle waltzing pace that is alternated with a more rubato approach, as solo piano dances up and down the registers with a graceful extravagance. The most curious inclusion on the album is perhaps “The Star-Spangled Banner”, a definitively bombastic, yet well-rendered, composition that ultimately concludes with Giacomo Puccini’s classically famous “Nessun Dorma”.
Presented in appropriately colorful and detailed gatefold packaging, Jazz Meets the Classics overall succeeds in its daunting effort to harmoniously interweave its prevailing styles of neoclassical and traditional jazz music, and will likely appeal, especially, to fans who enjoy both genres! ~Candice Michelle
Stunning blend of classical masterpieces infused with a jazz twist. It takes tremendous expertise and versatility to make this work and Dr. Storeygard has done just that. I have played and replayed this album many times and love the dramatic opening.
Jazzing up the classics isn’t a new concept, but Alan Storeygard’s Jazz Meets the Classics is something special. Some of the pieces are solo piano and some include The Alan Storeygard Trio and Friends. I think two things that make this album exceptional are the selection of music and the fact that Storeygard seems to really know the originals. Obviously, there are many changes to these nine classical pieces, but Storeygard is very faithful to their essence, if not to the notes themselves. The CD includes a colorful eleven-page booklet with comments about the music, notes about the composers, and more. Storeygard’s award-winning debut album, Church Jazz, was released in 2001; Jazz Meets the Classics is his fifth album.
I was surprised and fascinated to discover that Alan Storeygard is also a family doctor in Jacksonville, Arkansas, where he has served his community for almost four decades, delivering more than 1,000 babies and working with as many as five generations in one family. Storeygard’s bio says that he is as dedicated to music as he is to medicine, and it’s a combination that seems to be working really well for him!
Jazz Meets the Classics begins with Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C# Minor,” one of my favorite classical pieces. Fully orchestrated, the middle “interlude” section is mostly solo piano and has some blues chords and jazz rhythms that bring it right into the 21st century. I’ve always loved the power and emotional depth of this piece, and I like Storeygard’s arrangement almost as much as the original. “The Moldau Symphony” by Bedrich Smetana is arranged as a tone poem in the style of Hector Berlioz. The first half of the piece is a piano solo, and the second half cuts loose with the jazz trio. “Beethoven’s 9th Symphony” is laid-back and again features the trio – very cool! Three of Chopin’s pieces – “Ballad 1 in G-Minor,” “Nocturne #2 in Eb” and “Waltz #6 in Db” (plus some snippets of his “Waltz in C# Minor”) – combine to make a compelling 12 1/2 minute piano solo. It’s more classical than jazzy, but the piece really soars! Love it! One of the bigger surprises on the album is a medley of “The Star Spangled Banner” with an ending from Puccini’s “Nessun Dorma.” Even more surprising is how well it works! It was originally arranged for a concert in Italy in 2005, and Storeygard’s Trio was invited to perform it again at Carnegie Hall in 2011. The longest track on the album is an almost 17-minute performance of Rachmaninoff’s Second Piano Concerto. “Alessio’s Song” comes from Jacques Offenbach’s “Tales of Hoffman.” It is arranged as a tone poem, again in the style of Berlioz, and this arrangement was inspired by a concert performance by Italian classical pianist and opera singer Alessio Quaresima Escobar. Performed as a graceful and lyrical piano solo, it’s a beauty! The elegant jazz piano arrangement of JS Bach’s “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” is played at a slow tempo that imbues the piece with a poignance not usually associated with it. Tchaikovsky’s First Piano Concerto has been adapted, arranged and performed by a wide variety of artists and is one of the more popular classical pieces. Storeygard’s arrangement is fully orchestrated with a big, rich sound and brings this excellent album to a close.
In general, I would say this album is more classical than jazz, but the arrangements really work and the album is a joy to listen to! Jazz Meets the Classics is available from Amazon, iTunes, and CD Baby. Highly recommended to those who enjoy the classics with a twist!
Alan Storeygard is a pianist, composer, arranger, and family doctor. Some of the musicians that have been inspirational to him and have influenced his music are Ramsey Lewis, Dave Brubeck, and Oscar Peterson. Is it unusual to find someone in the medical profession that doubles as professional musician? I would say it is not a common occurrence but certainly one that is not unusual in indie music. It is also very common in the indie world where an individual holds a steady day job and has a secondary passion that is pursued. I get it because I am one of those people that leads a double life.
A passion can drive you, commit you and enable you to accomplish things you never thought were possible. Anyone that is fortunate enough to be in that frame of mind and reaches their goals is blessed. Secondly those that share that passion with others understand they are very fortunate and remain humble. This is what Alan Storeygard does on his fifth release titled Jazz Meets The Classics.
The piano is the perfect instrument to present a classical piece and when it intersects with jazz it is reborn into a different musical universe. This does not dismiss the very foundation that allowed this all to happen though. I came to realize over the years taking a deep dive into several genres, that classical music is the progenitor of all music. Everything has started with it and the influences are found in every genre one way or another. Jazz is a cousin that took that foundation of sound and redesigned it with different tempos and flavors. What Alan does in the nine tracks presented here is illustrate that with some superlative piano arrangements. By maintaining the classical building blocks then rearranging and cross pollinating it, a jazz flavor emerges. It works very well and to be honest I absolutely loved it.
I do not think you can look at a diverse individual like Alan Storeygard and paint him into a corner. Not only because of his eclectic approach to life but how he takes that journey into the music. He creates a unique blend of sounds while incorporating musical traditions. He gives the due respect to his influences and the masters that have come and gone and injects new blood and a personal passion that is beyond reproach.
Jazz Meets The Classics was a refreshing look at time tested musical genius interpreted by a free spirited and creative individual not afraid to step beyond any boundaries. With that attitude he opens new doors to a listening audience that otherwise may pass on classical music. This was a well thought out project with some excellent musicianship to drive forward some new ideas. It all reached its fruition, providing a result that is very satisfying.
“Music is medicine for the soul.” — Dr. Alan Storeygard
Physician and jazz musician Alan Storeygard is as dedicated to music as he is to medicine. By day, he’s busy seeing dozens of patients at Jacksonville Medical Care.
The musical posters and reviews of his music on his office walls only hint at his commitment to a second career that has taken Storeygard around the world.
Storeygard has performed for many audiences in his career, including a fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton in 2015.
Like Denny Zeitlin, the San Francisco doctor-psychiatrist and piano player, Storeygard is a versatile pianist, composer and arranger. Storeygard harmoniously weaves jazz, blues and classical music as the mood strikes him. He has been called “a genius, a renaissance man – a world-class pianist, composer and artist.”
While Storeygard’s been influenced by Ramsey Lewis, Dave Brubeck, Oscar Peterson and Bill Evans, he has developed his own unique style of piano jazz.
Storeygard has released five albums on his own record label, Church Jazz. He has been a member of the Recording Academy since 2003 and a voting member since 2010.
Storeygard’s newest release, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” is another musical gem. It reflects a lifetime of musical influence with his signature style. The album delivers a synthesis of symphonious classical/jazz arrangements to honor many great classical and romantic composers, along with contemporary jazz and classical artists.
The new CD includes soulful renditions of music by Rachmaninoff, Beethoven, Bach, Chopin, Offenbach, Tchaikovsky and more.
Jacksonville has long embraced him as a gifted musician and trusted physician. Dr. Storeygard has served his community for almost four decades as a family doctor, delivering over 1,000 babies, and working with up to five generations in one family.
“As a family doctor, I have been invited to be a part of many people’s lives, sometimes as a musician in their personal symphonies, sometimes as a guest conductor to see them through difficult medical issues, and other times as a composer or arranger to help plan the best medical path, which may involve many other doctors along the way,” he says.
Born and raised in Minneapolis, Minn., Storeygard’s earliest memories of music were conceived in church and by exposure to the sounds of classical greats such as Chopin and Rachmaninoff.
He recalls, “We always had a piano in the house. My two brothers and I became inspired to play the piano as we grew up listening to our father play.” His father, a chemical and mechanical engineer, was also a violinist and choir singer in the family’s local Lutheran church.
Throughout high school, Storeygard continued to pursue music but also developed a love for science. This led him to study towards an undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of Minnesota in 1973.
His calling to become a medical doctor evolved through working summers at a nursing home, where helping ill people became second nature and socially satisfying.
Storeygard graduated from Mayo Medical School in Rochester, Minn., in 1977 and completed his family-practice residency program at Duke University in Durham, N.C., in 1980. He began playing jazz at parties and composed and arranged jazz for his annual medical school shows.
A newfound love also surfaced when he met his wife Paula, who was studying law at Duke at the time he was completing his residency. The two have anchored themselves in rural Jacksonville for over 35 years, continuing their careers and raising two children.
The inspiration for Storeygard’s first recording, “Church Jazz,” where he plays solo piano, was released in 2001. It emerged as his family became active members in church in 1996.
He found an opportunity to create and play jazz arrangements of popular church songs for his congregation at the First United Methodist Church. His church jazz-fusion evoked standing ovations and requests for his music to be available on CD for his community.
In 2002, “Church Jazz” was a winner in jazz piano composition at the 2002 IBLA Grand Prize International piano and voice competition in Ragusa, Sicily, which led to an invitation to perform his rendition of “Amazing Grace” at Carnegie Hall in 2003. The album was a semi-finalist in the 2004 Grammy Showcase Competition in Memphis.
Inspiring the classical vision for Storeygard’s latest album, “Jazz Meets the Classics,” concert pianist Salvatore Moltisanti, creator and artistic director of the IBLA competition, has also played a key role in Storeygard’s musical career over the last two decades. In 2011, Moltisanti invited the Alan Storeygard Trio to play his arrangement of “The Star Spangled Banner with Italian Ending” in Carnegie Hall for the finale of the New York IBLA awards concert.
He also formed the Alan Storeygard Trio and Alan Storeygard Trio and Friends, with his brother, vocalist Bob Storeygard, drummer Dave Rogers and bass player Brian Wolverton.
His second album, “Just Havin’ Fun,” was released in 2006 with Rogers on drums, Joe Vick on bass and vocalist Taylor Carlisle, who sings her rendition of “Fever” to Storeygard’s arrangement.
He adapted his own interpretation of Ramsey Lewis’ jazz piano style to his arrangements on his third album entitled, “Third Time’s a Charm,” released in 2010.
His fourth album, “New Directions,” released in 2014, contains a variety of other musical ideas and friends. The album also includes a vocal version of “The Lord’s Prayer,” taken from his younger brother’s album, “If I Can Help Somebody.”
A lifetime of dedication to music, medicine and family brings Storeygard five years away from his possible retirement as a medical doctor, and yet he is highly motivated to continue to perform and share his music with the world.
He says, “It might soon be time to retire from medicine – but never from music.”