An all-round pianist

Yannick Delez makes contemporary piano music that has its roots in jazz, but also manages to enthuse lovers of classical music and improvisation. The 44-year-old pianist from French-speaking Switzerland, who has been living in Berlin since 2011, has astonished people with his latest double album – a solo achievement. “Live/Monotypes” is a substantial solo work, which can be listened to again and again. The individual compositions and tracks are wide-ranging and powerful enough to get a sense of how masterfully and intuitively Delez moves in his music.

The musician, who was born in Martigny, fell in love with the piano at a young age and taught himself to play. In 1990, he began his professional training at the Ecole de Jazz de Lausanne, which he successfully completed, receiving his diploma for piano in the field of jazz/performance. He played with various bands on the Swiss jazz scene and was also a member of Piano Seven, an ensemble of seven pianists with whom he recorded four albums and toured Asia and Latin America. In 2003, he published his first solo album “Rouges”; a year later, he founded his own trio.

Since then, Yannick Delez has been fine-tuning his sophisticated piano skills. The critics agree that he is in a class of his own. “He has produced a stunning solo piano album, for which comparisons are hard to find,” wrote the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung about his most recent work “Boréales”. The Tages-Anzeiger newspaper characterises him as follows: “Delez offers a rare mixture – he takes a sense of trance from minimalism, of improvisation from jazz, and of harmony from romantic piano literature.”

His latest double album is an impressive exhibition of his piano talent. The first CD is a live concert in which he weaves his own compositions and standards, showing off his skills as a first-class jazz pianist. CD 2 is dedicated to “Monotypes” – spontaneously improvised pieces which he recorded in the Beethoven House in Bonn. Here, Delez has selected 17 shorter pieces from his many hours of material, and carefully linked them.

In the opus, the genres blend weightlessly as virtuosity and precise motion are overlaid with impressionistic moods, jazzy flow, opulent outbursts and song-like moments. “When I make music, I want to take the listener by the hand and go with them to a place they wouldn’t have gone to by themselves,” Yannick Delez recently told the magazine “Jazz’n’More”. There are plenty of such places to discover on “Live/Monotypes”, and all are worth the trip.

Pirmin Bossart


Yannick Delez: “Live/Monotypes”, Unit Records, 2017

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