Choruses: Swing, Swung, Swingled

Bach swings. So well, in fact, that jazzmen have been spinning out variations on his music ever since the 1930s, when Benny Goodman's band started belting such numbers as Bach Goes to Town, and since then Bach has been through more modern translations than the Iliad. Now from Paris comes an eight-voice chorus called the Swingle Singers, with a new gimmick — sing-swinging Bach.

Organized just two years ago, the octet (four men, four women) sings fugues and preludes by vocally approximating the sounds of chamber-music instruments. Put to the swinging four-beat rhythm of string bass and drums, the sound...

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