Born in Romania in 1940, Eugen Cicero performed his first piano concert with a symphony orchestra at the age of six. Abandoning his career as classical concert pianist, Cicero pursued his passion of integrating jazz rhythms, harmonies and improvisation with the music of the classical masters. Cicero recorded over 70 albums, and performed with such prestigious orchestras as the Berlin and Munich Philharmonic. His first SABA/MPS album, Rokoko Jazz sold over a million copies.
Cicero’s rhythm section, German bassist Peter Witte and Swiss drummer Charly Antolini were the perfect compliments to Cicero’s Chopin. For Cicero, “Chopin has always been special for me. I feel him. This sort of sadness and melancholy suits me.” Grande Valse Brilliante plays brightly and swings hard, whereas jazz Guru Joachim Berendt calls Prelude in A Major “50% Chopin, 50% Cicero, played as if it was an old jazz standard”. Cicero plays Waltz in C# Minor with the bluesy atmosphere implicit in much of Chopin’s work, whereas the listener may well agree with Cicero and Berendt that with its block chords, infectious swing, and references to Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier, the Prelude in C-Minor is the album’s highlight. The Etude in E Major exemplifies Cicero’s exclamation that “Chopin swings in me”, while the E-Minor Prelude takes on a Brazilian air. Cicero surmised that, “I’m sure Chopin would have loved the poetry and lyricism of the bossa nova”. Chopin intertwined with the styles of jazz piano greats, bound together through the unique genius of Eugen Cicero – a listening joy for jazz and classical lovers alike!