Smokestack Lightnin' Home Page -- The Blues Profile Page
Raphael Wressnig, based in Austria but frequently on the road, is not your ordinary B-3 organ player. He’s actually one of a kind: a young master of the imposing, large instrument who is expansive in his breadth of expertise. He’s technically fluent in the blues, in jazz, in soul, and in funk, and he concocts exciting mixed-genre music from his fervid imagination. Versatile Wressnig doesn’t flaunt his virtuosic talent for the sake of spectacle but rather backs up his every movement on the keyboards, the drawbar and the bass pedal boards with a fierce emotional commitment.
Influenced by royal predecessors like Jimmy Smith, Shirley Scott, Booker T. Jones and Joe Zawinul, Wressnig has taken his music throughout Europe and all over the world, from North Africa and Asia to the Middle East to the United States, Mexico, and the Caribbean. This self-effacing musician, a native of Graz in southeast Austria, has recorded at least 16 feature albums and appeared as a guest on about 30 others. In Spring 2013, he was honored with a nomination for best organ player of the year in Downbeat Magazine.
A fine composer with a gift for searching out splendid classic material to rearrange, Wressnig confidently brings out the inherent pyrotechnic power and mightiness of the large B-3 console. Yet he’s also comfortable with slowing down the pace and lowering the heat in order to achieve colorful passages of quieter music. Not unlike a musician born and bred in New Orleans, the B-3 player possesses special knowledge about conjuring “groove.” As his many fans know so well, this surging or swinging rhythmic “vibe” is vastly important to the success of Wressnig’s sui generis music.
In the 2010’s, Wressnig has solidified his standing as a solo artist. The sheer force of his artistic development has been a wonder to behold, whether encountered on albums or, better yet, at concerts. Live performances are particularly memorable for the happy collision of wild entertainment and focused artistry. After all, Wressnig and the coterie of American and European musicians supporting him always give their best--and it shows.