Live Performance Service - International Music Presentations

Any encounter with the exeptional composer and pianist Friedrich Gulda had an air of risk and unexpected occurrences. It was in the 1980ies when Gulda experiemented with Free Jazz and in his regular phone conversations with Fritz Thom - who at that time introduced artists like Archie Shepp and Art Ensemble of Chicago for the first time in Austria - looked for updates on the latest developments. It was from this intense exchange between Gulda and Thom that in 1987 the idea was born to bring three giants of the piano to perform together: Friedrich Gulda, Chick Corea and Joe Zawinul.

Mozart-intepreter and Jazz-lover
Friedrich Gulda (1930-2000) is best remembered as a classical musician, a celebrated interpreter of Mozart, but he developed a deep love for jazz at a young age. In addition to his classical work, Gulda began performing jazz publicly and spent much of his long career trying to blur the lines between the two genres, sometimes to the distress of classical purists. He was the first classical European musician who saw the potential of the creativity within jazz because it was not bound to harmonic concepts.

Friedrich GuldaFriedrich Gulda
Friedrich Gulda

Ferrari-driver and enfant terrible of the classical audiences
Gulda respected the work of such fellow jazz pianists as Cecil Taylor. Fritz Thom produced several of Gulda’s jazz performances. In the mid-1980s he performed a duet with another respected pianist, Herbie Hancock. In 1987, he performed a unique, one-time, three-piano concert in Vienna with Joe Zawinul and Chick Corea. During this time Fritz Thom produced a Gulda concert in which the artist insisted on the kind of lighting normally found at rock concerts. Gulda would also shock some and delight others by performing naked, playing self-made instruments, and employing DJs and go-go girls during his performances. When not performing Gulda could usually be found at the wheel of his flashy Ferrari sports car.

The personal encounter brought the turn-around
The preparations for the encounter of Gulda, Corea and Zawinul held a lot of suspense until the very last moment. The agencies remained sceptical about the idea and for the first time in his professional carreer Fritz Thom had to sign not a performance contract but a declaration that the event would NOT take place. But Fritz Thom's idea had been right and his insistence paid out: The personal encounter of the three exeptional artists brought the turn-around and the piano-trio of Gulda-Corea-Zawinul on three Bösendorfer grand pianos became the celebrated highlight of an excellent three-day-festival at the Wiener Stadthalle.

F. Gulda, C. Corea, J. Zawinul
© LPS 2007–2020.