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Two Releases From Wolfgang Seligo

Budd Kopman By

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Below are two releases from pianist Wolfgang Seligo, who has eclectic influences, boundless energy and technique, with a flair for self-promotion in the best sense.

Wolfgang Seligo
Wolfgang Seligo Jazz Trio
Self Published
2015

The four tracks presented here, all composed by Seligo and totaling under sixteen minutes, present a very tight, stylistically varied mainstream piano trio.

The first tune, "Major Max" has much going for it in its romanticism and lushness that is mixed with an interesting construction that continually surprises. The middle bass solo is quite good and is just the right length to lead to the recap and very pretty closing chords.

"Little Note" is on the funky side and its title signifies the tune's construction that includes a repeated note. The texture gets very thick at times, but, just when the ear has enough, the bass takes over with another nice solo which leads to the recap.

Following this is "Prokofiev" (it is unclear of the connection of this tune to the composer) which relentlessly swings very hard, making the foot tap, head nod and the fingers snap; the best word is "cooking." This familiar style, when used on an new tune is very attractive.

Ending this mini-set is "Romanian Concerts," the longest track, which starts with a grand introduction that leads the tune proper, underscored by a rather cool bass line, many times also played by the piano. A very nice track with a well conceived arc that allows the story to unfold.
Wolfgang Seligo
Alternative Jazz Piano
Self Published
2015

From the opening notes of "Octavia," it is clear that Seligo has an enormous, crystalline technique and wide-ranging stylistic influences. Everything he touches has enormous forward energy that projects an intensity that grabs one's attention, even when he plays on the softer side.

The album has ten tracks which run under thirty minutes (included are five multimedia videos of the first tracks), and taken together, present a tour de force of piano playing. Each tune explores a different mood which is expressed through a specific compositional kernel that is then expanded and filled out with what are many times amazing improvisations.

The ideas practically explode from Seligo's fingers, coming so quickly that at times the sheer pianistic sound can be overwhelming in both density and volume, especially when contrasted against a softer, sparser section. The last track, "Baroque Jazz Standard," but one minute long, is actually "Autumn Leaves" and is performed on harpsichord. The sonic difference is obviously a bit of a shock, but Seligo works around the instrument's unchanging volume and no pedal very well, and makes it work.

Nevertheless, Seligo is obviously extremely talented, both in composition and performance. It seems like he almost cannot help playing in such a bravura manner, but, because there are so many things happening, it is relatively easy to get beyond the surface and enjoy the very fine playing.

Tracks and Personnel

Wolfgang Seligo Jazz Trio

Tracks: Major Max; Little Note; Prokofiev; Romanian Concerts.

Personnel: Wolfgang Seligo: piano; Peter Strutzenberger: bass; Heimo Wiederhofer: drums.

Alternative Jazz Piano

Tracks: Octavia; Theme No. 2 -Intro; Theme No. 2; Theme No. 3; Epilog 2000; Herbie; Piano Enlargement; Overture Blues; Log In; Baroque Jazz Standard.

Personnel: Wolfgang Seligo: piano, harpsichord.

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