Throughout the years Raphael Wressnig has created a unique organ style that is both elegant and explosive. He has established himself as one of the top musician's among the new-generation of organ players on the international jazz and blues scene.
Raphael was born on the 14th of October 1979 in Graz (Austria). Self-taught on both piano and organ starting at age 16, he was immediately drawn into blues , jazz and funk and has never looked back. Raphael's main influences have come from the great traditional jazz organists Jimmy Smith , Jack Mc Duff , Jimmy McGriff, "Groove" Holmes and Hank Marr. Other influences include modern interpreters John Medeski, Larry Goldings as well as rock, soul and gospel organist Billy Preston. Developing a highly personal style, Raphael soon founded "Raphael Wressnig's Organic Trio" which resulted in their debut album "Manic Organic" in 2002. He started a 4 year, 6 record association with the Austrian guitarist and songwriter "Sir" Oliver Mally. Blues great Larry Garner from Baton Rouge, Louisiana asked Raphael to join his band – a collaboration that has lasted many years. Over the years Raphael has toured and played with some of the best known and respected blues players in the world including: Phil Guy, Louisiana Red, Sugar Blue (Grammy winner, ex-Rolling Stones, "Miss You"), James Armstrong, John Mooney, Steve James, Sharrie Williams and Doug McLeod. He has also played with some of the finest jazz players on the scene: Horacio "El Negro" Hernandez (Grammy winner, ex-Carlos Santanta, McCoy Tyner), Craig Handy (Mingus Dynasty, Roy Haynes Band, "Bill Cosby Show Theme"), Jim Mullen (ex-Average White Band), Pete York (Spencer Davis Group, "Super-Drumming" Helge Schneider). He has also shared the stage with many top-notch artists: Tony Monaco (jazz organ master from Ohio), Billy Paul (Grammy awardwinning soul singer, "Me and Mrs. Jones"!), Sonny Rhodes, Ronnie "Baker" Brookes among others.
During the last couple of years Raphael Wressnig has focused primarily on playing in the organ trio or organ combo formats. His group "Raphael Wressnig' Organic Trio" with Georg Jantscher on guitar and Lukas Knöfler on drums is recognized as one of the most creative organ trios on the European scene today and are also touted as one of the hardest grooving bands in Austria. Concerto magazine picked their album "In Between" as "Best jazz album of the year" in 2004. They continued reshaping the classic organ trio sound taking it in new directions with the album "Boom Bello" that was released in 2006 featuring Alex Schultz, Sax Gordon, Christian Bachner and Luis Ribeiro. Raphael's collaboration with celebrated guitarist Alex Schultz, has resulted in counteless tours both as smooth trio or as hard driving blues group. The group also includes legendary blues singer Finis Tasby from Dallas, Texas. Raphael equally leads the hard-rocking R&B combo "R&B Explosion" with four-time W.C. Handy award nominee saxophonist Sax "Gordon" Beadle. In 2006 Raphael released the album: "Mosquito Bite". This CD was the result of a long time and on-going collaboration with the young, multi awarded guitar player Enrico Crivellaro which combines vintage and modern, jazz and blues.
In 2007 Raphael Wressnig became member of one of today's the most exceptionalblues projects: "Women of Chicago blues" - the three powerhouse Chicago blues divas Deitra Farr, Zora Young and Grana Louise plus the all-star Chicago group the "Ladies Men" with Chicago guitar ace Billy Flynn, Kenny "Beedy Eye" Smith (today's top traditional blues drummer, son of the legendary Muddy Waters drummer Willie "Big Eye" Smith), Felton Crews on Bass (ex-Miles Davis, "Man with a horn" album, Ramsey Lewis, Otis Clay, Otis Rush, Charlie Musselwhite) and Raphael Wressnig on the B3 and keys. Raphael Wressnig won the Concerto Poll "Best jazz artist of the year" in 2007. In 2008 he released two albums: "Cut A Little Deeper On The Funk" and "(Don't Be) Afraid To Groove.
Raphael Wressnig tours extensively throughout the world with his various projects and is in demande by many top of the blues and soul-jazz artists throughout : Europe, Scandinavia, North Africa, Asia, Middle East and the Caribbean. Either as leader of his own group or sideman, Raphael has played the most renowned clubs such as New Morning/Paris, Lionel Hampton Club/Paris, Blue Note/Bienne, Quasimodo/Berlin, Stadtgarten/Köln, Moods/Zürich, Babylon/Istanbul, A-Trane/Berlin, Birdland/Vienna, Porgy & Bess/Vienna, Drop Inn/Cogenhagen, Le Jam/Montepellier, Crossroads/Antwerpen and many others. He has played the top festival stages including Bagneux Blues Festival (FR), Veneto Jazz Festival (IT), Bluesfestival Cordoba (ES), Jazzfest Wiesen (AT), Handzame Dilirium Festival (BE), Jazzfestival Abu Dhabi (AE), Jazz A Juan Les Pins (FR), Piazza Blues Festival (CH), Passions Festival Cognac (FR), Jazz in Catharge (TN), Efes Pilsen Blues Festival (TR), Abruzzo nel Blues (IT), Eddie Lang Jazz Festival (IT), Burnley International Blues Festival (GB), Great British R&B Festival Colne (GB), Terre de Blues Festival Guadelupe (GP), Sang a Klang (LUX), Jazzfest Wien (AT), Jazzfest Saalfelden (AT), Jazz sur les Pommiers (FR), Efes Blues Festival Moscow (RU), Efes Blues Festival St. Petersburg (RU), Jazz & others Bozen (IT), Jazz & Blues Festival Rapperswil (CH), Liburnia Jazz (HR) and many, many more. He has opened for some of biggest names in the music business such as Chucho Valdes (five-time Grammy winner and Cuba's premier pianist), Joe Cocker, Mavis Staples, Al Jarreau, Al Foster, Manu Katche, Dianne Reeves, Van Morrison, Randy Brecker, Lucky Peterson, Robben Ford, Roy Hargrove, Dr. John, Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings, James Blunt, Marcus Miller, Keith Jarrett and countless others.
Raphael Wressnig has been the recipient of several prizes and awards: including Concerto poll winner: "Best album blues" 2001 and "Best artist blues national" 2001 with the Blues Distillery and "Best album jazz" 2004 with his CD "In Between" and "Best jazz artist" 2007 and "Preis der deutschen Schallplattenkritik" in 2007 as well. He was elected "Organist of the month" in July 2006 by the International Archives For The Jazz Organ and was awarded 2nd prize in their overall jazz organ poll. He was one of the nominees of the prestigious "Hans Koller Preis" 2003 and the "French blues trophees" in the category "Claviers/Europe" 2005.