Since George Gershwin’s 1924 composition “Rhapsody in Blue”, artists Gunther Schuller to Duke Ellington have used elements of classical music to create jazz sounds that are new and different. Lou Caimano, alto saxophonist, and Eric Olsen, pianist, are two of the most creative musical talents to combine these two great art forms. They turn well-known operatic arias to create innovative and unusual jazz compositions. Since 1996, the duo have been performing together under the name DYAD. Webster’s defines this as “two people in a continuing relationship involving interaction.” This project features their musical interaction with jazz arrangements of operatic melodies mainly from the 18th and19th centuries. Two jazz legends, Ted Nash and Randy Brecker, join them on their latest CD DYAD JAZZ ARIAS. Olsen says, “We wanted a deeper jazz feel for this CD than what we had with DYAD Plays Puccini,” We asked Ted and Randy to join us. Their distinctive voices and improvisatory chops gave rise to additional harmonic and rhythmic textures.” Caimano says, “Although they re-shape operatic melodies to fit into a jazz context,” and Caimano contributed two arias. Recorded in one take, DYAD transforms the aria into a jazz waltz. Olsen and Caimano improvise solos from the soaring melody line. Caimano, Olsen and Massenet also share the arranging credit for “Meditation” in Massenet’s opera “Thais”. Although the melody was originally intended for solo violin, Caimano u0026 Olsen transformed it into a jazzy composition that retains the expressive, lyrical melody of the original. Sometimes, jazzing up an aria requires subtle adjustments to the original in order to incorporate new jazz rhythms and harmonies. Some composers are more open to this process than others. Olsen may find Mozart’s music less suitable for jazz than others, but he does an excellent job with “Finch’han Dal Vino”, also known as Don Giovanni’s Champagne Aria. Olsen completely reharmonized the composition and created a swing version with Brecker playing a bubbly trumpet solo. Samuel Barber is one of the most renowned composers of the 20th-century, and Brecker appears on “Do Not utter a single word.” Olsen took the aria from the opera Vanessa and gave it a bluesy feel, giving it a modern take on the despairing thoughts of the character in the opera. He also created a counter line to Brecker’s melody that seamlessly combines with Barber. Olsen and Caimano perform a hip, up-tempo version of “Seguidilla”, from Bizet’s Carmen. Caimano performs it with ease and grace. Olsen’s arrangement of “Habanera”, a well-known melody, is driven and forward. It takes you on unexpected paths. Caimano mentions Michael Brecker’s influence in his solo for this piece. Verdi’s “Dio!” closes the CD. mi potevi, scagliar” is an aria in the middle of which Otello laments his fate. Olsen completely re-harmonized this composition, with Caimano performing a version the original oboe line, and Nash performing an original counter line that Olsen wrote. DYAD PLAYS JAZZ ARIAS, a beautiful and moving album that appeals to jazz and classical aficionados, is available now. It features outstanding performances by Caimano, Olsen, and their guests, Brecker, and Nash with arrangements that pay tribute to the originals but allow the musicians full expression in jazz idiom. from http://dyadplayspuccini.com

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