Purple Is The Color
Putting a band together can be a long quest to find the right mix of personalities; but sometimes it happens organically, as a result of perfect serendipity. Such is the case of pianist and composer Simon Raab’s new project. Raab met his future musical partners Štěpán Flagar, Martin Kocian, and Michał Wierzgoń in 2015 at a jam session in Linz, Austria, the city where he was finishing his studies, and where the other three had recently began theirs. It became clear to all four of them that there was some potential there, and so that impromptu session marked the beginning of what now is the quartet Purple Is The Color.
Raab has steadily made a name for himself in the Austrian scene, playing in a variety of groups and genres, mainly with singer Lucia Leena in the pop group Listen to Leena and the contemporary jazz quintet Luzid Chaos. Teaming up with his Czech companions also shows Raab’s keen ear and instinct for talent. Flagar’s own quartet was already shortlisted for the 2015 European Jazz Competition, which saw drummer Wierzgoń win the prize for best soloist that year.
The band’s music borrows from the rich jazz quartet tradition, but does not shy away from incorporating elements of pop and folk music, weaving it all together into a modern soundscape. In that sense one could say that there is something distinctly European about their sound, one that stems from an eclectic mix of cultures as well as the ever present influence of classical music, more so than from a blues-driven tradition as is the case of many American bands. European also in that it embraces the serious and the whimsical, treating them both as different sides of the same coin.
This might also be the reason behind the group’s name and their reluctance to label themselves as a „jazz band“. Purple can only exist as a result of the combination of blue and red. In the case of the band, their music is the result of equal parts composition and improvisation. On one hand there is an ethereal and expansive quality to their music to be found in the form of beautiful melodic lines played with utmost clarity and no sense of haste. On the other an interplay of driving and grounding grooves, that sometimes lead to short interludes of intended chaos. The four blend together perfectly, having found a common language that is contemporary but nevertheless warm, and that allows each musician to explore freely.
Purple is the Color hits all the right notes when it comes to finding the right flow between composition and improvisation – this is a group with a strong individual sound and most definitely a band worth keeping an eye on!
PURPLE IS THE COLOR
Stepán Flagar – sopran sax
Simon Raab - piano
Martin Kocián – double bass
Michał Wierzgon - drums
Recorded February/September 2017
Recording, Mix, Master: Alexander Yannilos
Studio assistent: Linda Steiger
Produced by Simon Raab & Alexander Yannilos