By Dan McClenaghan (10.12.09)

Swiss pianist Stewy von Wattenwyl blasts into this high energy set, Live at Marians, with a blistering one-two punch of Wes Montgomery's “Fried Pies” and John Coltrane's “Moments Notice.” The leader pounds the keys in a McCoy Tyner mode, and saxophonist Eric Alexander sounds raw and just barely tamed. This is not a sound that can be called laidback; this is a gale force wind gusting into town.


(...)The live setting definitely agrees with the Swiss keyboardist. The music on Live at Marians crackles with spontaneity, and nobody is being careful. These guys came to kick down the doors and play some jazz.


The band slows the pace on the Kahn/Van Heusen standard “All the Way,” with von Wattenwyl displaying a tender touch behind Alexander's soulful horn. Tom Harrel's “Terrestris” cranks things back to a mid-tempo on the tightest performance of the night. The pianist opens Bill Evans' “Very Early” with a beautifully inward intro, before the saxophone comes in with a ringing tone.


The power's back on in a down tempo way with Sonny Rollins' “Sonnymoon for Two.” Alexander digs deep, like Rollins, and the entire band seems particularly inspired and interactive on this down and dirty take, as Von Wattenwyl crafts a superb solo that takes flight in front of a rubbery rhythm.


Stanley Turrentine's “Stan's Shuffle” features Wattenwyl and the band at their free-swinging best, wrapping things up with a tune that must have had the audience up out of their chairs and dancing.


Piano-Off-Stage Festival Luzern

Im KKL trafen sich Jazz-Pianisten zum Showdown

(...) Höchster Level

(...) Sein Landsmann Thilo Wagner befand sich ebenfalls auf der Überholspur. Dicht in der Interpretation und technisch auf dem höchsten Level, ergossen sich seine spannenden Modulationen über das Publikum. Im Duett mit dem Berner Pianisten Stewy von Wattenwyl, der ihm in keiner Weise nachstand, kam es zum ersten Showdown des Abends. In gegenseitiger Inspiration schaukelten sich die beiden Pianisten hoch - eine witzige und virtuose Zwiesprache, wo der Spass mit beiden Händen greifbar war (...)
Roman Kühne, 26.11.09



Stewy Von Wattenwyl with Eric Alexander

Live at Marians

A great Swiss set from tenorist Eric Alexander -- one that has him blowing beautifully with the trio of pianist Stewy Von Wattenwyl, really stretching out in a fresh new setting! We love Alexander's other albums, but it's especially nice to hear him here in the company of some different players -- as the group really seems to keep him on his toes, blowing boldly and in new ways to match the energy of Stewy's piano, Reggie Johnson's bass, and Kevin Chesham's drums. Some tracks are nice and long -- with lots of solo space




review by Dan McClenaghan

It never hurts to have a great CD cover. Wabash, from Swiss keyboardist Stewy von Wattenwyl, features art reminiscent of Miles Davis' sometimes maligned On the Corner (Columbia Records, 1972). But while the Davis cover seemed to project hipness with his cartoon characters, von Wattenwyl's pencil-necked, slouching musicians—beside, upon and within a monolithic music machine—seems to be an invitation to a good, unpretentious straight-ahead listening experience, and that's just what you get with the CD.

Von Wattenwyl's fine Dienda (Brambus Records, 2005) featured the keyboardist in the context of a piano trio. Wabash finds him strutting his stuff on the Hammond B3 organ, in the company of saxophone, trumpet and drums.

The title tune is from the pen of the late alto saxophonist Cannonball Adderley. Wattenwyl's band has that Cannonball vibe: a no-frills mainstream sound with a lot of soul, together with some Booker T and the M.G.'s feeling, a lot of solo space for the two horns, and the deeply soulful atmosphere coming from the leader's adept organ work.

In addition to the Adderley tune, the group cover's Duke Ellington's "Purple Gazelle," Duke Jordon's "No Problem," George Coleman's "Amsterdam After Dark," and the Eric Alexander/Jim Rotondi gem, "Burner's Waltz," along with a couple of von Wattenwyl originals and a couple more from Alex Hendriksen's pen; all with saxophonist Alex Hendriksen burning on tenor beside trumpeter/flugelhornist Daniel Woodtli's soft, warm tones.

Very fine music, made in Switzerland, yet sounding very American.

«CD-Taufe Wabash»
(...) Daneben gibts aber auch hauchzarte Momente, wo Balladen und Hymnen fast gospelartige Intensität ausstrahlen, etwa die Eigenkomposition «Ghost-Bell» von Woodtli und «For  My Angels» vom Leader höchstpersönlich. Als Ganzes bietet das Konzert eine echte «Feel-Good-Music», die nie banal wirkt und den perfekten Spagat schafft zwischen rhythmischer Vielfalt, anspruchsvollen Harmonien und melodischer Ueberzeugungskraft!
Ulrich Roth, BZ 26.5.08

Eine Sternstunde im CH-Jazz

Eine etwas ungewöhnliche Besetzung: Um den Bandleader und Hammond B-3-Organisten Stewy von Wattenwyl scharen sich zwei Bläser, Alex Hendriksen sax und Daniel Woodtli tp, sowie der Drummer Pius Baschnagel. Was hier abgeht ist eine Offenbarung. Kollektiv-und Solo-Improvisationen, angetrieben von swingenden Rhythmen, bluesgetränkt und eindringlich, dazu hervorragende Arrangements. 
***** ausgezeichnet / Egischa / 04.03.2008

 «I Got A Right To Sing The Blues» 
In music as in sports, the best players always make whatever they do seem deceptively easy. Gui-tarist Nick Perrin and pianist Stewy von Wattenwyl are so loose and casual that one might think they were jamming in a basement or garage instead of cutting an album in a recording studio, belying the years of study, discipline and hard work it took to get them to that point. The duo for-mat requires unremitting focus and the ability to listen carefully and respond immediately to whatever ideas one’s partner is laying down. Perrin and von Wattenwyl have that down to a science. (…)This is a splendid session by a couple of world-class musicians...This album is worth hearing for its exceptional artistry and the perceptive interplay between von Wattenwyl and Perrin.

by Jack Bowers, for all aboutjazz and «Cadence Magazine», USA, may 10, 2006


Swiss pianist Stewy von Wattenwyl’s fifth album for Brambus Records, is an impressively recorded studio date, which wouldn’t mean much if von Wattenwyl and his colleagues were less than impressive. Happily, they are not. Von Wattenwyl, whose reputation is growing in his own country and elsewhere, clearly has found his own voice within a framework of elegance reminiscent of contemporary masters Barry Harris, Hank Jones, Tommy Flanagan and Kenny Barron; and power that calls to mind McCoy Tyner, Mulgrew Miller and Benny Green. Several other celebrated pianists are represented on the album - Thelonious Monk (“I Mean You”), Kenny Kirkland (“Dienda”), George Shearing (“Lullaby of Birdland”), Ray Bryant (“Reflection”) - and Stewy (pronounced Steh-vee) adds two of his stylish original compositions, “Hold My Hand” and “Hellblau.” Rounding out the charming program are the standards “My One and Only Love” and “I’m Glad There Is You,” Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “My Favorite Things,” George Gershwin’s “My Man’s Gone Now” and Miles Davis’ “Blue in Green.”

While most of the songs are familiar, von Wattenwyl manages to approach them from fresh and unexpected angles, so that boredom is never a factor (listen, for example, to his resourceful variations on “My Favorite Things“ or “Lullaby of Birdland“). The rhythm sections (bassist Daniel Schläppi is present on six tracks, Reggie Johnson on five) are limited for the most part to a supporting role, one they apparently relish, giving the leader all the assurance he needs and then some. Schläppi and Johnson do solo on occasion, and when the roles are reversed, von Wattenwyl shows that he is a masterful accompanist too.

Von Wattenwyl is poised and confident at rapid tempos but really excels on the ballads, which he interprets with notable warmth, sensitivity and awareness. And he has no problem with bluesy, down-home, striding “after hours” piano, as he shows on Bryant’s soulful “Reflection.” The finale, “I’m Glad There Is You,” is set to a Latin beat reminiscent of the Ahmad Jamal Trio.
A wonderful album by an accomplished young pianist who’d be much better known and appreciated were he recording in New York City rather than Berne, Switzerland. Sound quality is beyond reproach, as is the 70:34 playing time. Easily recommended.

By Jack Bowers, Albuquerque, New Mexico for all aboutjazz and “Cadence Magazine”, USA, june 20. 2005

In a review of Live at Birds Eye, a CD by the Stewy Von Wattenwyl Trio featuring Eric Alexander, All About Jazz reviewer Jack Bowers praised saxophonist Alexanders ability to use his technique to form an emotional bond with the listener. That is what the best artists do, and its what the pianist on that particular disc - Stewy Von Wattenwyl - does so well here on Dienda. It s obvious from the very first notes of Gershwin's ”My Man s Gone Now - a dark, lonely sound - and it 's obvious in his ebullient take on Monk's “I Mean You” that the Swiss pianist means to draw you into his world.

In a review of my own early this year, I wrote that successful piano trio outings depended upon the musicians ability to “get inside” the music. I left out that its also necessary for the players to make the songs - especially the familiar standards - their own. Von Wattenwyl and company are superb at this component of success, whether they re going after the Gershwins or Miles Davis (”Blue in Green”), or ”My Favorite Things,” or the title tune, “Dienda,” written by the late pianist Kenny Kirkland; each song is imbued with the eloquent personality of the trio, with George Shearing's normally jaunty “Lullaby Of Birdland” given an oddly and beautifully introspective opening before it bounces into a brighter mode four minutes in.

Like many jazz pianists, Von Wattenwyl is classically trained, and he doesn't hold back or sandbag his prodigious technique, adding a compelling and assertive elegance to the familiar songs, and adding two very classic-sounding originals - ”Hold My Hand” and “Hellblau” -to an excellent set.

By Dan McClenaghan - all aboutjazz, USA, 20.03.05

Dienda Séléction Jazz Notes

Stewy von Wattenwyl est un pianiste suisse qui nous donne une leçon de piano. Il traite joliment 11 compositions d’une façon très féminine, notamment le morceau-titre qui est de Kenny Kirkland. Il propose ainsi différents rhythmes dans lesquels ses phrases sont empreintes d’une élégance et d’un charme constant. (...) Voilà bien un jeune homme qui, grâce à son talent et à ses compagnons de voyage, mérite d’être écouté. Sa musique possède la modernité recherchée et une originalité débordante. (“Jazz Notes” Nr.38, France, march 2005)

 Live at Birds Eye»
The Stewy von Wattenwyl Trio Featuring Eric Alexander Roving Spirits

Pianist Stewy von Wattenwyl, a rising star in his native Switzerland (where they even know how to pronounce his name), invited one of Americas outstanding young tenor saxophonists, Eric Alexander, to accompany his trio last spring on a ten-day tour of Swiss nightspots, one evening of which was recorded at the Birds Eye club in Basel...

While von Wattenwyl generously assigns his prominent guest the lions share of the blowing space, hes an eloquent soloist in his own right, which he shows whenever Alexander steps aside to let the trio raise its colors. Stewy reminds me at times of the superlative Kenny Barron, with whose high-flying composition Voyage the quartet ends the concert. The curtain-raiser, Alexanders «Second Milestone» (also the title of his recent album on that label), is another scorcher on which Eric's extended solo fairly crackles with resourcefulness and power. Good as that is, hes even better on Henry Mancinis graceful «Moment to Moment» a textbook lesson in how to refresh and enliven a ballad ...«Dolphin Dance» which follows, is taken at a leisurely pace, more so than Antonio Carlos Jobim's usually placid «O Grande Amor» a medium-up bossa that embodies another well-crafted solo by Alexander, splendid work by the trio and an inexplicable fade-out at the end...

...Apart from that modest blemish there's nothing to censure, as Alexander and the trio are clearly at the top of their form and have produced a marvelous album that's unequivocally buoyant and ship-shape from stem to stern. (Jack Bowers - "all aboutjazz", USA)

One of the more pleasurable aspects of the annual Conference of the international Association of Jazz Educators (held this year in New York City) is the chance it gives one to hear and become aquainted with talented young Jazz musicians from all over the world. A case in point is pianist Stewy von Wattenwyl (dont even try to pronounce it) who performed and leads his trio on "To The Point", their second recording on the Brambus label...Comparisons aside its a fairly impressive group that lends ist talents to five respectable compositions by von Wattenwyl... (New York Times, 15.1.98)