Eyran Katsenelenbogen takes the standards out


    Israeli-born pianist Eyran Katsenelenbogen has attracted high praise for his work, Jay Deshpande at All About Jazz suggesting he is “most in league with Art Tatum … he sets the bar towards which other pianists must strive”. Now Katsenelenbogen has issued a new solo piano album, Outstandards, which takes a jazz perspective on some European classics, the Great American Songbook and some modern standards.

    A classically trained pianist with a jazz style, Katsenelenbogen has performed and recorded at venues including the Iridium Jazz Club, New York, Teatro di Marcello, Rome and the Saint Joseph Theatre, Scarborough. He also performed at various Chinese venues during his 2014 “Piano Fight” tour with fellow pianist Tal Zilber. In addition to solo and duo touring, Katsenelenbogen has appeared with his “Pictures At An Exhibition: Classical Meets Jazz collaboration” with Russian classical pianist Andrei Ivanovitch.

    In Outstandards, Katsenelenbogen presents jazzy renditions of classical cornerstones such as Für Elise (Beethoven) and Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C major, alongside jazz classics such as Tea For Two (Youmans/Caesar) and Cheek to Cheek (Berlin). Katsenelenbogen also revisits Chick Corea’s Armando’s Rhumba, which featured on his CD Solotude in 2005, and delivers an intimate performance of Insensatez (How Insensitive) (Jobim/De Moraes). Insensataz carries a special meaning for Eyran and is dedicated to his parents in gratitude for their eternal love, reflecting Frank Rubolino’s observation in Cadence that “he is a passionate man who feels deeply, and he has the talent to express those feelings through his playing. You can not help but be moved by his performance”.

    Well regarded in the academic world, Katsenelenbogen has since 1996 held a faculty position at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), where he trained alongside Ran Blake, Paul Bley, Fred Hersch, Danilo Pérez, George Russell and Gunther Schuller. He has specialised in pioneering techniques for teaching improvisation to students with special abilities and diverse needs and thanks his students for inspiring much of the work on Outstandards. The Outstandards project was made possible with funding from the NEC.

    The full track listing is: Libertango; Für Elise; Sonata No. 16 in C major K. 545: I. Allegro; Prelude in C-sharp minor Op. 3, No. 2; Hungarian Dance No. 5; Cheek To Cheek; Tea For Two; Prelude in C minor, BWV 847 and Improvisation; Armando’s Rhumba; Theme For Ernie; Insensatez (How Insensitive); Chega De Saudade (No More Blues); The Windmills of Your Mind; Just You, Just Me.

    Requests for Outstandards review/airplay copies may be directed to Eyran Katsenelenbogen management. Watch the Outstandards promotional video. Visit the Eyran Records official website for more information.

    This article was produced with the assistance of the artist