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.