Photo: Dietmar Löffler (ORF) © 2012 Michael Borek. All rights reserved.
"The heart is where the music is" (Keith Jarrett)
During my childhood I grew up with the music of composers such as Bartók, Bloch, Chopin, Satie and Stravinsky, but also jazz musicians like Thelonious Monk, Dave Brubeck, The Modern Jazz Quartet or Miles Davis.
At the age of 12 -I had already been playing piano for 6 years- I discovered Keith Jarrett, and the encounter with his compositions and improvisations induced a fundamental change in my musical and pianistical development.
Keith Jarrett's music corresponded closely (and it still does) to my inner conception of the quintessence of a synthesis between jazz and classic, because it carried the sensibility and expressiveness of classical music within the environment of jazz harmony.
That gave me for the first time the motivation to explore myself the world of improvisation and composition. In fact, the first pieces I wrote for the piano at the age of 16 turned out to be oriented towards a "classical" form, being mainly influenced by Debussy and Ravel.
After a following period of particular interest in contemporary music (especially for the piano works of Olivier Messiaen), I eventually returned more and more to the jazz for my piano compositions and improvisations. There I could find a musical language that corresponded to my actual musical sensibility, combining the expressivity of classical music with the possibilities of jazz harmony.
What makes Keith Jarrett indeed to such a great inspiring model for me (beside his immense improvisation talent) is that he belongs to the very few jazz pianists (together with some musicians from the younger generation like Herman, Mehldau, Mirabassi or Trotignon) who have the capability to let the piano "sing" in a such deeply emotional way, as, above all, Chopin achieved in his music.
Because music is emotion, and emotion comes to life through music.