…about the concept for fairytale
The initial idea to do a duo album came after hearing and playing with my friend Aaron Kurziki. We play in several other bands together, and that is how we initially met. I right away knew that I wanted to do a project on my own with him, since I really liked his pure sound and his ability to interact. Around that time, which is a year and half ago, I was really getting into playing duos, because, first I felt it was a great challenge, and that the interaction is so intense, since there are only two people. There is not a whole group to focus on but only basically one person. You really have to listen to that other person while you play, and try to interact with him, almost becoming each other. It is like a conversation, but on a very intense level, I do not know if I actually would be able to do that on a spoken/oral level. And Aaron is so amazing at this, and the message is so clear, that I thought, we do not need more than two people playing the music. It helps making the compositions crystal clear, and nothing overshadows them.
on writing and composing…
Most of the pieces I wrote around the same time. I did not need a long time to write them, they just came out naturally. Only two pieces, I wrote a year before, and it took me way longer to achieve them, which are "Raindrops" and "Dayminder". There is no specific reason, why some compositions take longer than others to write. And it does not even justify the quality of the piece. Some great pieces can be written in 5 minutes, others you need a year. Sometimes it is good to write fast, but sometimes taking your time is good too because you challenge yourself with more possibilities, and with more choices, and you learn that way and improve your compositional instinct.
Composition is difficult to explain, to learn or to teach. I think you have to listen to many great composers from any time and culture. And we study it in schools too. But in the end I just believe mainly in compositional instincts. Knowing how to develop an idea. That is very difficult to do. Many people have great ideas, but do not know what to do with them or develop them. That is the actual craft, and that is what makes the difference between a great composer and a poor one.
My writing has evolved a lot, since studying composition at Berklee College of Music and the New England Conservatory of Music. I love composers like Rachmaninoff, Scriabin, Ravel, Debussy, Stravinsky and Charles Ives, and of course all the Jazzers. My favorites are Duke Ellington, Billy Strayhorn, Wayne Shorter, Thelonious Monk. At the moment I really love checking out the great brasilian composer and multi instrumentalist Egberto Gismonti. He has been a big influence on me.
My piano teachers, Ran Blake and Danilo Perez have also influenced me greatly, musically and spiritually.
In the end, I think though that the compositions almost already exist somewhere (often, maybe not always...:)) it is just a matter of finding them. It is like they are flying around in space waiting to be discovered...
…about the music
My favorite pieces on the album are probably Fairytale, Adventurer in Search Of a Treasure and Raindrops. Raindrops is in my opinion by far the most exquisite piece. Melodically and harmonically, the most complicated too, and original. The form is special too.
Fairytale reflects what I felt from the start. I did not want to do a normal duo album with some hot Jazz... It is a journey from beginning to end, a story of magical encounters, like a Fairytale, told by my friend Aaron and me. There is something mystical about the compositions, the vibe, the interaction, Aaron's playing, people I study with who influence me a lot, but also the audience, beyond Jazz aficionados, I hope that some younger people and children will also enjoy listening to my Fairytale.
Jazz Pianist and Composer Michel Reis was born in Luxembourg in 1982. Classically trained from the age of 8, he became fascinated with Jazz and improvised music after having heard his fathers’ recordings of Duke Ellington and Erroll Garner. At the age of 14 Michel entered the Jazz Department of the “Conservatoire de la Ville de Luxembourg”, where he studied Jazz Piano with Belgian pianist and composer Kris Defoort. He also studied jazz harmony, and theory with Luxembourgian Trumpeter and film composer Gast Waltzing while continuing his classic piano studies with Serge Bausch.
Michel was one of very few European students to be awarded a scholarship at Berklee College of Music, and after completing his studies in Luxembourg, moved to Boston. He has since earned his Bachelors Degree in Jazz Perfromance and Jazz Composition, under the tutelage of some great teachers i.e. Joanne Brackeen, Danilo Perez, Frank Carlberg, Ed Bedner, Hal Crook and Greg Hopkins.
Around the same time Michel appeared as a sideman on the Largo album “Fables of Lost Time” released on Warner UK, and on “Stop Requested” with the Alex Terrier Quartet.
Michel Reis continues to perform through out Europe, the USA and Japan in several formations. His own Trio, with the Nir Naaman Quarter, with the Alex Terrier Quartet – High Groovin’, and with Gast Waltzing his band Largo. Michel has also performed with the Philharmonic Orchestra du Luxembourg and Didier Lockwood.
In 2005 Michel was awarded 4th place in the First Moscow Competition for Jazz Performs (Piano) and in 2006 he won 2nd prize at the Montreau Jazz Solo Piano Competition.
Michel is currently pursuing his Master of Music Degree in Jazz Piano with Danilo Perez, Frank Carlberg, Ran Blake and George Garzone at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston.