The Man Who Dances On The Keys…
What makes the musician Uli Lenz so extraordinary? His piano playing is a synthesis of the entire history of jazz, a treasure trove: he’s not particularly interested in the so called spirit of the times, doesn’t seek orientation there. His thing is far rather reminting jazz classics. From Count Basie through Errol Garner, Monk, Peterson, McCoy Tyner or Don Pullen, he leaves his imprint upon the tradition of the classical jazz piano in his own way. He’s only prepared to pick up on what his inner voice dictates to him: the aptness and the sheer variety of musical riches, which he bestows upon us, the manifold colours, patterns, moods and musical metaphors he finds, always just a wink of an eye before the heart expects them! He knows how to put us in a permanent state of breathless excitement.
“The man who dances on the keys”, is how the maestro thinks of himself as a pianist. That unmistakeable, powerful left hand… because he’s left handed and the urgency of rhythm is second nature to him, his moving - astonishing - force. It’s like changing gears when driving a racing car. Lenz was once a rally driver. He knows how to make the turbo engines drive the piano.
Listen to the dramatic technique in the introduction to Love Channel, moving from the sound of splintering, glittering glass in the highest treble keys through the melodic middle registers to the circular dancing feel of the bass lines by that extraordinary Ed Schuller and of There is no Greater Love, in which the melody, broken into fragments with Brechtian finesse suddenly moves with the hiss of brushes on highhat from drummer Victor Jones and a doop-booping from bass player Ed Schuller, with an abundance of bright, shining notes and exquisite timing, into that classical swinging jazz thing.