Master pianist combines classical and popular music

THE concept of brunch – a mixing of two meals – was the inspiration for acclaimed pianist Charl du Plessis’s latest album, music from which he will perform at East London’s Guild Theatre next week.

Du Plessis has been hailed as a “cult pianist” – a maestro of the keys who simultaneously specialises in classical and popular music.

The Charl du Plessis Trio, with Werner Spies on bass and Hugo Radyn on drums, was founded in 2006 to further the enjoyment of jazz music among lovers of classical music.

This unit recorded their first album, Trio, in 2007 with new arrangements of jazz standards and original music by Du Plessis and have just released their long awaited second album, Shanghai Brunch.

Concerts in Namibia, Switzerland, China and the Netherlands have been on the trio’s schedule repeatedly for the past four years.

On Thursday, Du Plessis will entertain East London audiences with a performance of music from the Shanghai Brunch album – the idea for which came to Du Plessis while on tour in China in 2010.

“I was having brunch on the balcony of our 28th floor apartment with an amazing view of Shanghai when I realised I wanted to listen to music,” he says.

“I needed something classical but funky, modern but classy. That is when the unique identity of brunch not being breakfast nor lunch but a mixture of the two gave birth to my idea for our new trio CD: mix jazz and classics in a new fresh musical way to create the perfect companion to every occasion.”

The result is 16 tracks of hits by Beethoven, Mozart, Bach and Schumann to name but a few, all in fresh, new contemporary arrangements.

These are stylish re-workings of some of the masters’ most loved works while a special version of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue will be performed as well.

As a classically trained pianist and doctor of music, Du Plessis has been named Africa’s youngest Steinway Artist and continued his quest for perfection during this musical journey.

“I included one of my own compositions and original melodies from other composers I knew the audience would instantly recognise and enjoy.

“Creating these arrangements with exciting and original rhythmic patterns for drummer Hugo Radyn was a challenge for me. We sometimes had to argue and experiment quite radically before reaching a democratic musical middle ground.

“Werner Spies remained the pillar in our trio as bass player and could masterfully serve as our harmonic basis.”

The single performance of music from Shanghai Brunch by the trio is scheduled for one night only on Thursday at the Guild Theatre and tickets are available from the theatre on (043)743-0704.

For more information visit www.charlduplessis.com

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