He is probably one of the most creative jazz pianists out there these days. Unfortunately, in spite of being extremely popular in his home country, he’s still not as well known in the rest of the world. I really hope this will change.
A Jazz Piano Trio Concert Weekend
I hadn’t really planned on being in Switzerland this weekend, but in the end, concert-wise, it turned out rather a great place to be. I had the extreme pleasure of seeing Michael Wollny’s Trio Live yesterday in Basel, and will be seeing GoGo Penguin live tonight in Zurich (see my review of their latest album here).
Michael Wollny Trio Live At Jazz Festival Basel, July 7, 2016 – Nachtfahrten
I must admit, I initially had some hesitations about a live concert of his most recent album Nachtfahrten. Although I liked it a lot, it is an overall rather quiet, nocturnal album, and I wasn’t sure if this is music that would be well adapted to a live concert.
I shouldn’t have worried. While he played several songs of Nachtfahrten, only the title track, which he played as a great encore, was as slow and meditative as the album.
During pretty much the entire rest of the concert, the trio was truly on fire. Wollny was in great shape, you could really see how physical this was for him (I was lucky to be all the way up front in third row, so had an excellent view). This is a musician that truly lives his music.
A special compliment needs to go to Eric Schäfer on drums. He put so much energy into his solos, that at some point a piece of his drum kit got catapulted into the audience. And the way he kept the groove really was essential to the spellbinding atmosphere of this concert.
Christian Weber, the local Swiss addition to the trio, was in great shape as well. The interplay between him and Wollny was just outstanding.
The trio also played several songs from the previous album, Weltentraum. Actually, the concert was special in a way that the trio didn’t only play individual songs, but actually one song merged into an improvisation seamlessly blending over into the next song. The audience barely got any occasion to clap (so when they did, the applause was over enthusiastic).
If you ever get the possibility to see these amazing artists live, don’t miss it. His Weltentraum Live Album gives you a good idea what to expect.
Luckily, this concert got recorded by Swiss radio (to be played somewhere in summer), so I hopefully will be able to relive this great experience again. And maybe this even makes it into an album. Fingers crossed.