This passion project by David Helbock, in which the „young lions“ of Austrian jazz meet one of the most sought-after sidemen in the international jazz scene of the past decades, captivates with plenty of percussion and groove, and most notably, with many keyboards and other keyboard instruments, in the spirit of Austria’s most successful jazz musician, Joe Zawinul.
The American jazz pianist Peter Madsen, “a well-kept secret favorite among piano enthusiasts” (Jazztimes), can look back on a successful career spanning over 40 years. In 1987, he achieved his first breakthrough when world star Stan Getz invited him to join his band to tour the US and Europe. Since then, Peter has played with the “who’s who” of the jazz scene – with traditional musicians such as Benny Golson and Stanley Turrentine, with modern musicians such as Chris Potter, Joe Lovano, or Kenny Garrett, with free-jazzers such as Dewey Redman and Don Cherry, or in his over 30-year collaboration with funk legends such as Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker.
In 2001, Peter moved from New York to Austria, where he met 16-year-old David Helbock, already an exceptional talent on the piano, and became his teacher, mentor, and friend. Meanwhile, David Helbock has outgrown the footsteps of his former teacher and became his most successful student.
Helbock is a multiple winner of the world’s biggest jazz piano solo competition in Montreux (CH) and has released over 20 albums as a leader – the last six of which with the renowned German record label ACT – and the press praises him as a “savvy sound tinkerer and consistent pathfinder at the pulse of the times” (3sat Kulturzeit) and as a “shooting star of the European scene” (Süddeutsche Zeitung).
In this joint project, Peter Madsen and David Helbock now bring the best rhythm section that Austria has to offer in jazz on board for their “Austrian Syndicate.“ Raphael Preuschl and Herbert Pirker have been a well-rehearsed team for over 20 years and the most sought-after bass-drum duo in Vienna, and David Helbock has played hundreds of concerts worldwide with them as a trio.
Raphael, who is actually a studied double bass and electric bass player, has also mastered the unusual bass ukulele like no other, and Herbert contributes his grooves to such diverse bands as Shake Stew or rapper Fiva, and also teaches at the Bruckner University in Linz on the side. The quintet is refined by the percussion skills of Claudio Spieler, who has gone a similar way as David Helbock and studied with the Afghan master drummer Hakim Ludin in the traditional master-apprentice relationship at a young age, and now performs as well on the big stages with artists like Konstantin Wecker or Martin Grubinger.
Their new album, which was released by ACT in mid-2023, also features many international jazz stars as guests, companions of Peter Madsen, David Helbock, and even Joe Zawinul himself.
David Helbock – keys, synths
Peter Madsen – piano
Raphael Preuschl – bass, bassukulele
Herbert Pirker – drums
Claudio Spieler – percussion