Thursday, 26 June 2014

Real Good For Free

One afternoon in Innsbruck, I was hanging around near the tunnel that runs between Universitätsstrasse and the Old Town, which is a favourite spot for buskers.  Although much shorter, it's very reminiscent, acoustically, of the tunnel in London running from South Kensington underground station to the Natural History Museum, where you can often hear African musicians of real talent playing. In general, I have a lot of time for street musicians, so long as they can actually play their instrument, don't sing travesties of Neil Young or Bob Dylan songs, and don't have a dog on a string.  For some reason, I have a deep prejudice against anyone who keeps a dog on a string.

Although I was busy concentrating on looking for photographs, I gradually became aware that I could hear some unusually good street music.  Truly wonderful music.  Somewhere, someone was improvising on a piano, with the freedom, confidence and fluid imagination that can only come from the soul of a talented musician.  As I turned a corner there he was, sat at an upright piano on the pavement.

It was magical.  I stood there listening for 20 minutes or so in the sunshine, entranced, while he wove intricate patterns that transformed an ordinary afternoon into a movie starring me, a passing cast of extras, and two rival balletic flocks of pigeons.  I could hear the influence of Esbjörn Svensson, bits of Michael Nyman in romantic mode, and was inevitably reminded of Keith Jarrett (Vienna Concert Jarrett more than Köln Concert Jarrett), and when he paused for a break I went over for a chat and told him so.  He was pleased.  In fact, he said, just last year Keith Jarrett himself had listened to him play for ten whole minutes.  Jarrett's companion had tried to interrupt, but had been told, "Shh, I'm listening".  It probably doesn't get better than that, does it?

I bought his CD Working Piano for 8 euros.  His name is Gregor Blösl, and he has a website at  Why not give him a listen?  And, no, I didn't think to ask how the hell he managed to get his piano out there onto the street.

1 comment:

Martyn Cornell said...

It's great when that happens