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Some warmth and sunshine in the gloomy season

The Zurich jazz and boogie-woogie pianist Chris Conz, one of the most well-known in Switzerland, who has shared the stage with many international stars and given concerts around the globe, played on Monday evening with his band and two young stars at the Rotfarbkeller, under the name Chris Conz and the Youngsters.



Chris Conz and the Youngsters had every reason to beam on the Rotfarb stage.
Chris Conz and the Youngsters had every reason to beam on the Rotfarb stage.

AADORF On Monday evening, in the fully occupied Rotfarbkeller, Pascal Mettler welcomed those present and was joyfully surprised to have so many guests there. 'It's very nice that a big star like Chris Conz presents his project to promote young musicians here in Aadorf,' he said happily. The pianist was received with great applause by the audience. Beaming as always, he took the stage and recounted how he came to boogie at a very young age through Hamp Ruosch and was later supported by well-known pianists, including Silvan Zingg. 'As a thank you, I would like to give something back to other young musicians.' Conz musically greeted the audience with the piece 'Walking the Dog'. Then he introduced the talented drummer Ruben Fein, who at 21 years old as the youngest of the trio, has already been on stage for ten years, and played 'Vipers Drag' with enthusiasm and passion. The next band member, a permanent part of the trio and on stage with Conz for twelve years, is the famous double bass player Arno Schulz, who still masters the old slap technique. Right in the next piece, he was able to perform it with ease and a smile on his face.


Promising Young Talents

The audience eagerly awaited the first young pianist: Ennio Hess, at 17 the youngest in the band. He is a student of Dave Ruosch and won first prize this year in Germany in a competition for young talent with his repertoire of blues, boogie-woogie, and jazz. "Ennio's Boogie" and other pieces were played with passion, captivating the audience and earning thunderous applause. The next young star welcomed was Silvio Rentsch, 18 years old, also a student of Dave Ruosch and has already performed with Conz. He loves rock'n'roll above all, played the keys with gusto, and fired up the audience. He demonstrated his skill with spontaneous improvisations, playing his way into the hearts of the audience. Each of the two with their own charm, Hess with a hat and Rentsch with a red bow tie, played an originally composed blues with enthusiasm and ease, showing their talent for composing as well. As a highlight before the break, all three pianists performed an improvised six-hand boogie. Along with the sensational solos of the drummer and double bass player, they concluded the first part of the concert swiftly and gracefully.


Harmony, Humor, and Affectionate Support

The musicians radiated harmony and a humorous manner among themselves. The two young stars were fully integrated into the band and affectionately accompanied by the professionals. With flying fingers over the keys, the two talented young pianists played with full concentration, then ended with a glow on their faces and shining eyes for the audience. All solos were sensational and captivated the listeners. Conz himself was audience-friendly and humorous during the concert, introduced the pieces, and chatted with the attendees. From time to time, he elicited laughter or a chuckle with a remark about his bandmates. He often had a story to tell about the music pieces, amusing the audience. The bandleader often left the stage to the young stars and proudly watched his protégés from the background. They played together in pairs and with four hands, or even with Conz as a trio at one piano – and with full physical commitment. This included the Honkytonk Train Blues. They really went all out again and demonstrated their skill with the interplay of the two pianos.


A Great Achievement

Schulz, the amiable man at the double bass, often with a smile on his face, shone with his talent and years of experience. Fein, as a young percussionist with a strong presence, showed an enormous stage presence. Although still somewhat shy on stage, the two young pianists knew how to thrill the audience with their passion and talent. Conz, the head of the band and a master on the piano, led the young musicians through the evening in his calm, humorous manner. In the end, he praised the great achievement of his young musicians, who still found time to practice besides their studies and apprenticeships: "This effort should not be underestimated, but it shows that it is worth it." These two young, talented pianists will surely be heard a lot from. Unfortunately, the wonderful concert was over all too quickly, and the audience expressed its regret loudly. After the last piece, there was thunderous applause and a standing ovation with calls for an encore. This was fitting for the season, Chris Conz quipped, and played "Summertime" by George Gershwin with a lot of feeling. Then he brought Rentsch and Hess on stage, and the two played an improvised boogie. The former performed seated, and Hess joined standing, nudged Rentsch, and whispered: "Slide over a little." The latter, still engrossed in playing, made some room on the stool. An amusing, carefree scene that made the audience smile. A snappy and wonderful evening with five dedicated musicians, each a master of their instrument, who lived their passion, love, and enthusiasm for music, brought warmth and sunshine into the gloomy season and made their performance an unforgettable experience.


IRÈNE BASLER


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