Not every classically trained musician has the gumption to interpret Michael Jackson on the violin. But German-born virtuoso David Garrett re-imagines "Smooth Criminal" with such fervor that you'd think Jackson had intended the song to be played by the instrument all along. "I always loved his performances because as a lot of classical musicians are perfectionists, he was," said Garrett of the late singer. "He was really one of those people who was really old school, always looking for better performances. Recorded before Jackson's death, Garrett's "Smooth Criminal" cover appears on his self-titled debut album, which has enjoyed three weeks atop the classical crossover charts since its release last month on Decca Records.
Already a celebrated artist in Europe and Asia, the 28-year-old worked his way into the spotlight in the United States with help from his PBS special "Live in Berlin."
And his chiseled jawline and playful blond ponytail seem to help sway the female contingent. Garrett, who studied with renowned violinist Itzhak Perlman at New York's Juilliard School, recently set a record as the world's fastest violinist, a feat to be documented in 2010's Guinness Book of World Records. He played "Flight of the Bumblebee" in a dizzying 66 seconds. Put another way, that's 13 notes per second.
David Garrett was born as David Bongartz on September, 4th 1981, in Aachen, Germany to an American mother and a German father. When Garrett was four years old, his father bought a violin for his older brother. The young Garrett took an interest and soon learned to play. A year later, he took part in a competition and won first prize. By the age of seven, he was playing once a week in public. He studied violin at the Lubeck Conservatoire. At the age of 12, Garrett began working with the distinguished Polish violinist Ida Haendel, often traveling to London and other European cities to meet her. At the age of 13,
He moved to New York and entered at the Juilliard School as one of the first students to study with Itzhak Perlman. In the same time, he will supplement his income by working as a model. The experience of working with Perlman has helped him identify himself as a musician, to develop his musical voice and to prepare himself for a life of music. He graduated from the Juilliard School with many awards in 2004. He left New York and his close friends with regret to come back in Germany and perform in Europe.
"Smooth Criminal" is the seventh single from Michael Jackson's Bad album (1988). The song contains a fast-paced beat intertwined with Jackson's lyrics about a woman named Annie, who has been attacked in her apartment by a "smooth" assailant. It was released as a single on October 24, 1988 and peaked at 7 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was re-released on April 10, 2006 as a part of the Visionary: The Video Singles box-set. The re-released Visionary single charted at #19 in the UK. In 2003, the song appeared on the Number Ones greatest hits album.
Micheal Jackson’s 45 degree lean in smooth criminal was the stuff of magic. It consistently gave me goose bumps because It defied what I thought could be possible in one smooth move. When I first saw the video, I asked myself “How did he do that?” and it seemed like no one I knew, knew. A lot of people I asked thought magnets, but according to the patent filled in 1992 no magnets are used – more like the shoes fit in slots. The Lean was originally seen in the Smooth Criminal music video which was from the movie Moonwalker. Basically the lean dance move in the video was a special effect. In an Online Audio Chat - October 26, 2001 Michael was asked : How do you do that lean on the video to Smooth Criminal?
Michael: Oh, Smooth Criminal, well. That one happened ... it was in the middle of the shoot and it wasn't .. I choreographed it right at the moment. Took us an hour to execute it. It's a special effect that we kind of lean as far as we can and, uh, we let the conveyor belt do the rest.
So how does Michael perform it live on stage???? Well its all in Michaels patented shoes which allow the wearer to lean forwardly beyond there center of gravity.
Trying to lean beyond one's center of gravity normally leads to a giant, awkward step forward to retain balance, so to achieve the 45-degree angle he wanted, Michael and his dancers used special shoes as well as a trick in the stage floor. When the time came for the move, a peg-like aperture would protrude from the dance floor. The heel of the dancers' shoes featured a triangular cut out that could be hitched onto the peg, anchoring the dancers to lean much farther forward, and thus blowing the world's collective mind.