When David Helbock’s Random Control made Think of Two that album was so angularly brilliant that it seemed hard to imagine how Mr. Helbock could surpass the creativity and dynamic energy of that album. However, with Aural Colors he has done just that. His new Trio is but another extension of the extraordinary musician leading to the belief that the chameleonic pianist might have much more up his sleeve. The quality of his playing is altogether exceptional. Pianist David Helbock takes nothing for granted. Nor should we in listening to him. He is as irreverent, yet as ingenious as Cecil Taylor is: wildly idiosyncratic and provocatively iconoclastic. It is as if the spirit of his more illustrious countryman, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart were reborn in him. Even with his own compositions he plainly understands that every interpretation is just one possibility, and he offers us a very enticing opportunity to open our minds, especially in those charts we came to be familiar with from Think of Two: “Para Hermeto,” for instance.
Some, like me, may become wide-eyed by Mr. Helbock’s utter disregard for convention. But then that can also be an amazing characteristic of this delightfully impertinent and enchanting musician. He gives us all a feeling of rush, and unexpected revelations also abound. In the embedded minimalism and aristocratic elegance of the “Schönberg meets Kandinsky Suite,” any other pianist would be spare and perhaps even repetitious to a fault, but David Helbock takes us into another world. It is full of glittering lights, mysterious depths and expectations, like the shattered shadows of a sinister quasi-Schönberg glimpsed in the magnificent moonlight of Kandinsky in a forest of a myriad of aural colour. The sheer colour and variety of the aural colors of the title as well as infinitely more than that in the depth of characterisation both extraordinary men. Here is where we also encounter the exceptional range and refinement of Mr. Helbock’s pianism. The pianist imparts a power and monumental stature to the surrounding rhapsody of the piece.
The surprise and variety of stylishness of the rest of the programme is matched by the performances not only of Mr. Helbock, but also the drummer Herbert Pirker and the extraordinary bassukuele player, Raphael Preuschl. David Helbock brings an effortless Monkish angularity and lyricism to the pieces he has composed. His partners in crime in the trio do likewise. It seems so easy because the music is as seductive as the musicians are compelling. More than anything, David Helbock provides an object lesson in the very essence of style. He plays his music with buoyant, aristocratic grace and psychological ambiguity, and he is (rightly) almost insolently effortless as he brings a debonair virtuosity and swagger and a sassy swing to his music. Many of the compositions lend themselves to this kind of treat as they are—and we must highlight “Para Hermeto” once again—virtuosic, goblinesque and ravishingly beautiful. All in all, this is a record that many musicians would give an arm and a leg to make.
Track List: Yellow meets Red; Schönberg meets Kandinsky Suite: Sechs kleine Klavierstrücke op. 19, Nr. IV; : Sechs kleine Klavierstrücke op. 19, Nr. III; : Sechs kleine Klavierstrücke op. 19, Nr. II; Öpfili, bist so kugelrund; Intro to the Myths; Horus and Jesus; AM – Anonymous Monkaholics; Virus Ukulen Song; Healing Colors; Para Hermeto.
Personnel: David Helbock: piano; Raphael Preuschl: bassukuele; Herbert Pirker: drums.
Label: Traumton Records | Release date: February 2015
About David Helbock
Two rewards and the audience prize at the world biggest jazz-piano-solo competition of the Jazz Festival Montreux is only some of the accolades that have come David Helbock’s way. His music has attracted a lot of enthusiastic international reviews and his music has won him the most important prize in Austria 2011 – the “Outstanding Artist Award”. Helbock comes from a small little village in Austria called Koblach, is without doubt, on his way up to a great international musical career. Helbock is not only a great pianist, but he is also a very individual thinker, who is investing not only a lot of dexterity but also quite an amount of brain activity to his projects. Read more…