Best Classical music album of the year from South African Music Awards 2018 (SAMAs 24)
Official release date: 26.01.2018
Charl du Plessis Trio
The Charl du Plessis Trio is one of the most versatile and respected South African crossover ensembles. The diverse style of music this trio performs ranges from Baroque, Latin, Swing, Classical to Funk and sets them apart from other instrumental groups. The trio consists of Steinway Artist Charl du Plessis (piano), Werner Spies (bass) and Hugo Radyn (drums).
The Charl du Plessis Trio was founded in 2006 to further the enjoyment of jazz music and prove that classic music lovers can enjoy jazz too. This unit has recorded 6 albums and regularly perform in Europe and the Far East. They have won major music awards including a South African Music Award (SAMAS), Ghoema Award for Best Instrumental Album and Fiësta Award for Best Music Production.
Charl du Plessis is a prolific pianist and Steinway Artist with an extensive performing schedule who holds a Doctorate of music from the University of Pretoria under Joseph Stanford. He has performed on 4 continents with repertoire ranging from concertos with leading symphony orchestras to jazz and pop appearing on the stage of the Berlin Philharmonie for a performance with Chick Corea in 2015. He has recorded 6 albums on his own independent label before becoming a Claves Recording Artist in 2016. He is a piano lecturer at the University of Pretoria and has been the collaborative pianist with South African star singer/songwriter Nataniël since 2000, performing in more than 120 stage productions per year.
Werner Spies studied jazz at the Tshwane University of Technology and is a free-lance bass player and teacher. Branching out, he is a successful entrepreneur co-owning the Haloa coffee shop chain in Pretoria, South Africa. He has toured Europe as bass player with South African singer Jannie du Toit.
Hugo Radyn is a specialist jazz drummer who studied jazz at the Tshwane University of Technology. He is a sought after drum teacher and was until recently the head of drums at Cornwall Hill College. He has made CD and DVD recordings for various bands and projects.
About this recording
With some prolific examples of crossover music on the international circuit I never imagined my original arrangements of Baroque music for jazz piano trio would lead to such long line of concerts, recordings, and a selection of albums in the Baroqueswing series. What an honour to present our first DVD in this special box set with our second album by Claves. Finally we can share the ethereal beauty of Musikdorf Ernen with audiences around the world. As so many artists before us have found inspiration in the picturesque village, we also feel honoured and energised by the intense influence of nature, silence and overwhelming beauty found in the Alps.
As with the previous programmes I aimed at combining a selection of work which could contrast with past efforts by the Trio, whilst allowing for contrast within the works presented in Baroqueswing Vol. II. Our endeavour to include longer, multi-movement works not only displays the genius of the composers represented on this album, but explore (within the confines of our new cross-over musical language) the prestidigitation required for stylistic and aesthetically pleasing performance. Combining this with the dexterity and spontaneity of improvisation in the moment and the energy exuded by the audience, culminated in a musical stimulus not possible to reproduce in the safe and rigid world of the recording studio.
As part of 10th anniversary celebrations of the Charl du Plessis Trio, I included two of my own compositions as a reflection of our own contemplative abilities while also expressing some form of honest musical connection in stark contrast to the more formal works. The Bach and Friends Jazz Suite is my own creation, where interjecting jazz standards amidst well-known Bach works made for a unique experience, performing these colourful creations in succession.
Performing this new music for the first time on this recording - even if the source of our creation has been around for many centuries - was a truly memorable experience for us. Not only is this music a form of entertainment and art in combination, but also a means of contact with the world of beauty, which stimulates our imagination, sensitivity and minds eye. It sometimes makes us wonder or sometimes moves us, confirming the power of live music creation.
Charl du Plessis, February 2017
The new formation since 2018 is: Charl du Plessis (piano), Werner Spies (bass) and Peter Auret (drums)
Next concerts: charlduplessis.com