The American pianist Rob Bargad lives with his family in a country village in southern Austria and has become a vital part of his adopted country’s culture. The former Nat Adderley, Lionel Hampton and Jimmy Cobb sideman started a record company to help bring recognition to musicians who live and work in Austria. His Barnette label’s Jazz Piano Austria, vol. 1 presents pianists prominent in the Austrian jazz community but less known outside Europe. Among them are Sava Militec, Geri Schuller, Philippine Duchateau and Harald Neuwirth. Here is Neuwirth’s version of Thelonious Monk’s “Pannonica.” Milan Nikolic is the bassist, Vladimir Kostadinovic the drummer.
Barnette’s Jazz Piano Austria vol. 2 is a tribute to Fritz Pauer (1943-2012), the pianist, composer and teacher who was an inspiration to young Austrian musicians and frequently accompanied visiting artists including Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon, Kristin Korb and Annie Ross. Among Americans who have helped with jazz education in Austria is Dena DeRose, who for several years was Vocal Professor and Head of Jazz Vocals at the University of Music and Dramatic Arts in Graz, Austria. Here, she sings and plays Pauer’s unusual ballad “Sound Within an Empty Room.”
As for Rob Bargad, musician, he steps out of his executive role and appears on several Barnette albums playing the Hammond B-3 organ and singing. Here he is with a piece he wrote for drummer Jimmy Cobb’s album The Meeting. Cobb, drums; Michael Erian, tenor saxophone; Hemut Kagerer, guitar.
Jazz is alive and well in Austria