Austrian Syndicate

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PreviousAugust 2025

Austrian Syndicate – associations immediately arise with the most famous and influential Austrian in jazz: Joe Zawinul. But keyboard player David Helbock's new project is much more than a reminiscence. It is a return to the roots and their further development, stylistic realignment and bundling of forces as well as opening up to world music. Or as Helbock simply says himself: “A matter of the heart”.

As syndicate members he was able to recruit the best rhythm section that Austria has to offer: Raphael Preuschl on bass and bass ukulele, the drummer Herbert Pirker and the percussionist Claudio Player. A prominent Austrian from America completes the quintet: pianist Peter Madsen. And if this Austrian supergroup wasn't enough, star guests Maria João, Fred Wesley, Dhafer Youssef, Alex Acuña and Lakecia Benjamin will grace the Austrian Syndicate.

In the spirit of Joe Zawinul, the pioneer of the use of electronic keyboard instruments and the grand master of fusion jazz - whether with Miles Davis, Weather Report or his own Zawinul Syndicate, which then also put world jazz in the spotlight - David Helbock is on " “Austrian Syndicate” can only be heard on electronic keyboard instruments for the first time. He leaves the place at the piano stool entirely to Peter Madsen. “I basically got everything I know about music and jazz from him,” says Helbock about his former teacher, mentor and current friend. A true piano hero, but far too often treated as an insider tip, who went on a world tour with Stan Getz in 1987 and has since played with the “Who's Who” of the jazz scene - whether with traditional musicians like Benny Golson or Stanley Turrentine, Modern -Jazz greats like Chris Potter, Joe Lovano or Kenny Garrett, free jazzers like Dewey Redman and Don Cherry or funketeers like Fred Wesley and Maceo Parker. In 2001, Madsen moved from New York to Austria, where he met the then 16-year-old Helbock and took him under his wing. Which is why Madsen took on the role of second band leader in “Austrian Syndicate” in addition to the piano parts and stands out as a composer.

Raphael Preuschl and Herbert Pirker are also long-time companions of David Helbock and, as a well-rehearsed team, have been the most sought-after bass-drums team in Vienna for over 20 years. Preuschl has also made the unusual bass ukulele his own like no other. The equally versatile Pirker sits on drums in Austria's sensational band Shake Stew, among others. Percussionist Claudio Player studied with the Afghan master drummer Hakim Ludin at a young age and now appears on the big stages with Konstantin Wecker and Martin Grubinger.

Last but not least, extraordinary guests, all world stars, give the album international shine and world music color. Included are Portugal's great voice Maria João; Peruvian percussionist Alex Acuña, who once played with Zawinul in Weather Report; The Tunisian singer and oud virtuoso Dhafer Youssef, who has just won an award for his album “Streets of Minarets” and plays to sold-out houses; Funk mastermind and James Brown associate Fred Wesley; And the saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin, currently perhaps the hottest thing in the American jazz fire

Program and cast

David Helbock: keyboards
Peter Madsen: piano
Raphael Preuschl: bass
Herbert Pirker: drums
Claudio Spieler: percussion

PORGY & BESS Jazzclub

Porgy & Bess (actually, Jazz and Music Club Porgy & Bess ) is a jazz club in the Riemergasse 11 in the 1st district of Vienna. The club , founded in 1993 is considered " the most important jazz organizer and trendy meeting point " of the Austrian capital .

The program of Porgy & Bess speaks to a very large audience , about 70,000 guests a year ; is accordingly Jazz " understood very pluralistic ," and the program " even in fringe areas , such as electronic music , contemporary music and world music penetrated . " Many international artists , particularly from the U.S. space , see also Austrian musician here an opportunity to perform . The club also offers the stage for events, such as the award of the Austrian World Music Award.

Musicologist Christian Scheib According to the Porgy & Bess " at the same time essential for the development of the musical ( jazz ) reality of a City" and needs and uses ' plain commonplace as urban space music. " It creates itself " through artistic preferences, acoustic quality , capacity and real capacity, the necessary exclusion of other clubs. " Here, the different areas of the jazz clubs allow - the area in front of the stage with tables, upstairs gallery , a lateral area with a bar at counter - different intense concentration on the concert scene . For Jazzthetik Porgy & Bess is even a " traditional club . "

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