Space Kiss

A fusion of the sound of jazz piano and string quartet. The album is the result of a collaboration between Uri Caine and an outstanding Wrocław ensemble active at the National Forum of Music – Lutosławski Quartet.

Price: 30 zł
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Album premiere: 2016

Publishers: 816Music, National Forum of Music

Performers: Uri Caine, Lutosławski Quartet

The dialogue between classical music, jazz and popular music has been going on for many decades. The roots of jazz were far from the classical music venues; yet it was classical composers (Stravinsky, Ravel, Milhaud and others) who eagerly referred to the new, fashionable phenomenon. The bridge between popular music and classical music was built by the brilliant George Gershwin. To this day, many artists from the world of jazz take on classical themes. Both realms have been perfectly fused by the phenomenal Keith Jarrett.

The album Space Kiss is a meeting with the extraordinary musical personality of Uri Caine, an American classical and jazz pianist and composer. The artist was born in Philadelphia, on June 8, 1956. He started playing the piano at the age of seven, and at the age of twelve he began studying with the French jazz pianist, Bernard Peiffer.Then he studied at the University of Pennsylvania, where his mentor was George Crumb, one of the most famous representatives of the world’s musical avant-garde. During this period, he also explored the secrets of classical music while performing in clubs. Already in his young years, Uri Caine was confronted with diverse musical worlds (jazz, avant-garde, classical), which has resulted in an intriguing, specific style of his work to this day.

In the 1980s, Caine moved to New York, and it became his hometown. Surely the vibrant artistic life of New York has inspired every talented artist. Uri Caine developed a very active career. He has released numerous albums, and in 2009 he was nominated for a Grammy Award in the “Best Classical Crossover Album” category for the album The Othello Syndrome. This is a typical undertaking for Caine: a creative adventure with the famous opera Otello by Giuseppe Verdi, whose mood and music inspired Caine to create his own vision in a jazz convention.

Verdi, of course, is not the only classical composer who inspires Caine’s musical imagination. There are others. For example, Gustav Mahler, whose songs and monumental symphonies – it would seem – do not welcome a musical dialogue. And yet for Uri Caine they are a suitable inspiration, the Austrian composer’s music is something that Caine is able to comment on and develop into his own musical language. These have been successful attempts that met with approval: in 1997, the artist received an award from the German Gustav Mahler Society.

During his numerous concerts, this intriguing pianist presents his various “jazz” or perhaps simply individual and modern visions of classical themes or even entire pieces, with which he enters into a musical dialogue. Such an inspiration may be Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Sonata in C major “Facile”, Johann Sebastian Bach’s Goldberg Variations, Ludwig van Beethoven’s Diabelli Waltz Variations... It may also be the music of Robert Schumann or Richard Wagner. The jazz canon is a challenge for the artist too, or rather an invitation to create his own, unique arrangements (George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk). When listening to the pianist’s performances, what stands out is the extraordinary energy, even ferocity of his style, the vitality of rhythm, truly virtuosic freedom and the ability to combine tradition with modern sound means.

On the Space Kiss, the pianist is accompanied by the famous chamber ensemble Lutosławski Quartet.

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