10 September 2019


This visit to Cologne has become an array of varied concerts: upcoming contemporary jazz, established Cathedral organ and the latest experimental piano. And a nice one to come before I train out. The experimental piano was at the Stadtgarten in a blackened concert space with a Steinway and recording mics set. Being set up for recording seems common in clubs here. The performers were a pair of Parisians, first up Roberto Negro playing the piano prepared with a box of tricks that got added and subtracted during the concert and three mics and a mini keyboard feeding through a small controller and into a laptop for effects. His playing was obviously trained, rapidly polyrhythmic and frequently descending chordal then alternating with quiet passages free of rhythm. I think he was playing a shorter version of his album Kings and bastards. Eve Risser followed after an interval. I watched as the piano was tuned and Eve set up her preparations: bluetac on strings top and bottom of the keyboard and some vibrating plastic sheets, some heavy glass balls, a vibrator. No electronics here but similarly adventurous. Again this was a trained pianist with a delicate touch playing noise and paying dues to French impressionism and minimalism with a lovely harmonic sensibility. Quieter than Roberto and less flipping from one level to another but these are styles not capabilities. These are an excellent pair of adventurous pianists. They are both on Spotify but I feel blessed in happening on them here in Cologne.

Roberto Negro and Eve Risser (prepared pianos) performed at the Stadtgarten in Cologne

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