New Record: “Divine Traces” released April 2019 on QFTF records.
Contemporary, acoustic, European jazz
German-Australian pianist Max Petersen takes his listeners on a transformative journey through an audacious amalgam of classical and jazz influences. His new trio explores the tension between a traditionally Western approach to performance and composition, and African American improvisational techniques and rhythmic sensibilities. This mercurial blend of influences guarantees that every single concert is unique – as the tempestuous harmonic shifts, elegant melodies, the organic ebb and flow of groove unfold in unison you can expect a truly transcendental experience.
Max Petersen – piano, composition
Dominique Girod – double bass
Fabian Arends – drums
The signature sound of this trio comes from the sonic union of three highly seasoned, telepathically-synched and courageous musicians. Max’s compositions clearly serve as the point of departure for an aural journey based on personal interpretations and free playing. Genre delineations remain liquid throughout – in a blink of an eye the group might shift from contemporary jazz to retro swing, and then over to the 20th century classical avant-garde or nuances that seem to be rooted in a singular German romanticism.
These volatile, yet decisive stylistic turns are made possible thanks to the broad musical horizons and expert-level musical knowledge of each individual player. Max Petersen – currently based in Zurich – has been polishing his technique in New York, studying under the likes of Fred Hersch and Vijay Iyer. Dominique Girod is one of Switzerland’s most in-demand bassists and side-men, and also a composer in his own right. His highly acclaimed operas premiered in 2013 (“L’Homme Qui Rit”) and 2018 (“Orpheus”), respectively. Drummer Fabian Arends is a rising star on the jazz and improv scene in Germany. He performed alongside Lee Konitz, Pablo Held and Nils Wogram. His latest album (“Levitate”) was nominated for the prestigious “echo” award.
Max Petersen’s debut album “Dream Dancing” (Unit Records, 2016) made quite a commotion in the German press. The iTunes website featured it on its starter page for an entire week! The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) referred to the album as “one of a kind in the history of the jazz piano trio”.
With this new band and new set of compositions Max Petersen is determined to add his legacy to the long, elaborate “history of the jazz piano trio.” “I’m not playing African American music per say. I am not a classical musician. I try to understand the essence of the sources and to take my own stand. I want to do that in a respectful way. But for those expecting a clean copy of a style that was popular 70 years ago, my trio will definitely ruin their expectations. I think it takes courage to take a stand on this.” – Max Petersen