“Look me in the eyes and imagine I’m the greatest musician of all time…” Chilly Gonzales, all in effortless verve with hair slick and pink suit square to the camera, confronts his audience with a hypnotist’s aplomb. Whether megalomaniac star or singular eccentric, the 46 year-old pianist commands attention from the very first seconds of the documentary “Shut Up and Play The Piano”.
Last September, the Canadian showman released Solo Piano III, the final phase of his Solo Piano trilogy whose peculiar alchemy sees simple piano melodies transformed into the kinds of mellifluous soundscapes that bring classical music closer to audiences otherwise alienated by its unfortunate ‘elitist’ reputation. The fifth track on the album, “Chico”, pays homage to actor Chico Marx in Sam Wood’s 1935 film A Night at the Opera. Able to command an audience and succeed in his every ambition, Chico Marx struck Gonzales precisely because his story resembled his own: a musician tirelessly reinventing himself and and multiplying his musical projects in pursuit of his audience. Indeed Chilly Gonzales multiplies his alter-egos and their styles, as fluent in classical music as rap or electronic.
Chilly Gonzales multiplies his alter-egos and styles, as comfortable within classical music as rap or electronic