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These variations of the jazz variety.

Byline: Bob Keefer The Register-Guard

CONCERT PREVIEW The Goldberg Variations Reimagined What: Pianist Uri Caine and a band that includes instruments from saxophone to laptop offer a new take on Bach's famous keyboard variations Where: Hult Center's Silva Concert Hall, Seventh Avenue and Willamette Street When: 8 p.m. Friday Tickets: $15 to $36 (682-5000)

Johann Sebastian Bach most likely never imagined his music would be performed on a laptop computer.

That's one of the instruments that will be on stage Friday, though, when jazz pianist Uri Caine and his band come to town to perform Bach's Goldberg Variations at the Oregon Bach Festival.

Actually, they will be performing their own variations on the Goldberg Variations.

"It is not the literal Goldberg Variations," Caine said in an interview. "It's based on the Goldberg Variations. It is a way for the players to play different styles of music: Theme and variations has variety built into it."

Caine and his band are taking a jazz approach to classical music, a course that he admits runs the risk of pleasing no one.

"Certainly there is criticism on all sides," he said. "Certain people don't like it at all. But other people, who are open to it, accept it."

"Crossover" isn't quite the right word for this music, Caine says.

"There is a lot of music that is happening now that I wouldn't call crossover," he said. "That implies taking complicated music and making it more accessible.

`Actually, I am not sure that either jazz or classical music is really that popular, especially in the U.S."

According to one account, which has the slight feel of a just-so story, Bach composed the Goldberg Variations for the insomniac Count Hermann Karl von Keyserling, who had them played each night by a harpsichordist named Goldberg.

The music consists of an opening aria and 30 intricately conceived variations. Though they were first seen in the music world as little more than exercises, they have become increasingly appreciated as subtle and beautiful in their own right. Pianist Glenn Gould's recordings and performances, beginning in the 1950s, brought them to the cultural foreground.

Caine's band will include, at various times, a saxophone and clarinet, violin, trumpet, piano, bass and drums. Also a gospel singer, two laptop computers and a DJ.

"There is a history of jazz in the variations," he said. "We cover most of the Bach variations in different combinations of ancient instruments and solo piano. We have certain people play the Bach while others improvise over it. And then the other music that is interspersed with that all has different relations to Bach."

A native of Philadelphia, Caine has cut 16 albums since moving to New York City.

His third CD, "Urlicht/Primal Light," incorporated arrangements of music by Gustav Mahler. Caine later recorded "Gustav Mahler in Toblach" live at the Gustav Mahler Festival in Toblach-Dobbacio, Italy.

He first recorded the Goldberg Variations in 2000. In 2002, the Pennsylvania Ballet performed his Goldberg Variations, choreographed by Val Caniparoli.

Caine has performed at numerous jazz festivals, including the North Sea Jazz Festival, Montreal Jazz Festival. Monterey Jazz Festival, JVC Festival, San Sebastian Jazz Festival, Vittoria Jazz Festival and the Newport Jazz Festival.

Classical festivals he's performed at include the Salzburg Festival, Munich Opera, Holland Festival and Israel Festival. He's also played "Great Performers at Lincoln Center."
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Title Annotation:Entertainment
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Jul 6, 2006
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