One of the most noteworthy cover versions of John Lennon's iconic Imagine is by Grammy winning jazz pianist and composer Bill Cunliffe. The 2001 album The Bill Cunliffe Trio Live at Bernie's, which provides my graphics, is both a technical and musical tour de force. It was literally cut at Bernie Grundman Mastering in Hollywood direct to 45rpm disc in unedited fifteen minute takes. The digital file used for the recording was made as a parallel recording and Bill Cunliffe's evocative solo take on Lennon's Imagine is the final track. Bill Cunliffe trained in classical composition and his output includes a piano concerto. Among the other tracks on the disc are jazz takes on Samuel Barber's Four Excursions and, quite unimaginably, a remarkably beautiful riff on the theme from the second movement of a piano concerto by one of Benjamin Britten's teachers, John Ireland. If all that isn't enough the eponymously titled Bill Cunliffe Piano CD has a free transcription of the slow movement from Rachmaninov's Second Symphony. I am sure readers will put me right, but are these the first time that jazz has met Barber, Ireland and Rachmaninov?
+ John Lennon died on December 8th, 1980. Now imagine there is no artwork.
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