Release: March 15, 2024
Following the success of his 2023 solo release ‘Reflections of D’ in tribute to his idol Duke Ellington, Swiss pianist Michael Arbenz – perhaps best known for his work with VEIN Trio – proudly presents his second solo venture. ‘Classicism – A Point of View’ is set to release in March 2024.
Well versed in the idioms of both Jazz and Classical music, the record sees the pianist scrutinize the Classical language through the lens of his own musical curiosity and his “point of view”.
Featuring Arbenz’s solo piano playing in the spotlight, the record’s sound is expanded using electronic effects to add a contemporary twist to his original pieces, each of which are closely inspired by the works of the Greats of Classical music.
‘Brilliant Moon’ for example, inspired by Claude Debussy’s seminal ‘Claire de Lune’, opens in an impressionistic mood, devolving into extended improvisation. ‘Where It Springs Into Being’, a reference to Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous ‘Prelude in C-Major’ offers a unique perspective through polyphonic improvisations, high-energy blues phrasing and affected, distorted piano tones.
The record also features two pieces inspired by Johannes Brahms: on ‘The Roadside Tavern’ Arbenz turns ‘Hungarian Dance No 5’ into a grooving conversation with himself through overdubs, and the famous ‘Lullaby Song’ is referenced through an ethereal, dream-like improvisation. The album closes with ‘Riding for a Fall’, a piano solo tour-de-force quoting Paul Hindemith’s clarinet concerto originally written for jazz clarinet icon Benny Goodman.
Pulling away from what the listener might expect in a solo piano record, Arbenz’s use of contemporary production techniques extends his sonic palette and pushes the record into a more contemporary space. In this way, each composition is built on a concrete link to the classical world, offering the listener a glimpse into the familiar, as well as the unexpected.
A prolific contributor to the Swiss Jazz scene, Michael Arbenz’s career has seen him tour extensively throughout Europe, North America, Asia and South America, performing and recording alongside a host of highly respected musicians in international contemporary Jazz including Greg Osby, Glenn Ferris, Dave Liebman, Marc Johnson, Wolfgang Puschnig, and Andy Sheppard.
Michael Arbenz | Piano, Compositions
Where It Springs Into Being
The Roadside Tavern
Riding For A Fall
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