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Biographies Jazz


MORAZ, Patrick

* Morges, 24.06.1948

Piano, Clavier, Synthétiseur

He attended school both in Morges and La Chaux-de-Fonds and began studying the violin and piano at the age of three. By the age of nine, he was studying classical music on a number of instruments including trumpet, horns, flute, organ and vibraphone. After completing classical studies in Latin and ancient Greek at the school of St. Maurice, Patrick continued music lessons at the Conservatory of Lausanne where he studied, on rare occasions, Harmony and Counterpoint with famous classical teacher Nadia Boulanger. Moraz continued studying with other local luminaries who made him understand what "real" music was and teaching him the secrets of improvisation, composition and expression on a more esoteric and spiritual level.

Patrick's serious commitment to the piano really began while he was living in Vevey, in the same house as, and studying piano by watching and listening to, Clara Haskil, the great Romanian concert pianist who was one of the world's leading authorities on the music of Mozart, Schubert, Schumann and Beethoven.

Patrick first gained attention when, as a teenager, he played at various jazz competitions and festivals. He was lucky to have some brief musical encounters with jazz violinist Stephan Grappelli, as well as MJQ's John Lewis. In 1961, he was named Best Young Soloist at the Jazz Festival of Zurich. Similar awards followed in 1963 and 1965. These led to Patrick performing as the opening act for a number of American jazz giants, including John Coltrane, at jazz festivals throughout Europe.

Patrick performed extensively throughout Europe during the early and mid-1960's. He made numerous appearances at some of the world's most prestigious music festivals, including Tokyo Laforet Museum as well as the Tsukuba World Expo, the San Paulo Music Festival and the Montreux Jazz Festival. In 1966 and 1967, he toured Africa, India and the Middle East.

By 1968, Patrick was a full-time professional musician. He and Jean Ristori formed a revolutionary rock group called Mainhorse, recording and touring England, Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East from 1969 through 1971. After release of the album "Mainhorse" on Polydor Records, Moraz and Ristori toured Japan and the Far East with a Brazilian Ballet Company for the better part of 1972.

Though he had already scored several acclaimed movies in Switzerland and Germany, including "La Salamandre", (The Salamander) and "Le milieu du monde" (The middle of the world) by famous Swiss Director Alain Tanner, Moraz was asked, on his return from the Far-East, to score "L'Invitation" (The Invitation), by Director Claude Goretta. The movie represented Switzerland at the Cannes Festival and was awarded the prestigious "Prix du Jury", the most coveted award aside from the "Palme d'Or."

Directly after that, Patrick scored another movie for the same Director, "Pas si méchant que ça", starring Gérard Depardieu. Many movie scores followed during the next twenty years.

In the spring of 1973, Patrick moved to London and formed the critically acclaimed band Refugee, with two English musicians Lee Jackson and Brian Davison, both former members of Keith Emerson's band, The Nice.

In August of 1974, Patrick Moraz joined Yes, becoming their new keyboardist. He proved at home in this most complex period in Yes' evolution. After only a few weeks of recording and rehearsing, the band provided what many fans consider to be the pinnacle of its artistic creativity, the album "Relayer." The group performed virtually non-stop, worldwide, for the next three years. During America's bicentennial year of celebrations, many of the audiences numbered in excess of 100,000 per concert. All of the members of Yes recorded solo albums during breaks in the schedule. Patrick's solo effort, the visionary "Story of I", was recorded in the fall of 1975 in the company of John Mc Burnie, (vocals), Jeff Berlin (bass), Alphonse Mouzon (drums), Ray Gomez (guitar), Andy Newmark (drums) and 16 Brazilian percussionists. "Story of I" has been acknowledged as the first "world music" album. It was released in 1976 by Atlantic Records. It was voted Best Keyboard Album of the year by Keyboard Magazine. Patrick was also named Best New Talent that same year.

Moraz then moved to Brazil and learned the native musical languages and idioms of this most exotic land. During previous visits to the country Patrick built a unique band of sixteen percussionists. For over two years, the group recorded at numerous recording studios and performed at festivals and concerts, mainly throughout the Latin American Nations.

In 1978, Moraz was engaged by The Moody Blues to take part in a promotional World Tour for their comeback album. He first performed with the group in October of that year and the band's career was resurrected shortly thereafter. Patrick was made a full-time member of the band in 1980, during the recording of what was to become the group's first Number 1 album, "Long Distance Voyager."

In addition to performing with the Moodies worldwide, Patrick was giving concerts with his band from Brazil. Invited by Claude Nobs to play at the Montreux and Sao Paolo Jazz Festivals, he met jazz greats George Duke, Stan Getz and Chick Corea, with whom he worked with on two albums, along with French bass virtuoso Bunny Brunel.

Patrick also continued to record his solo albums during this period, including the revolutionary "Future Memories I" and "Future Memories II" in 1982. They were chosen to represent Switzerland at the Montreux Golden Rose Festival in 198?. Both were spontaneously composed and broadcast live on television throughout Europe.

Late in 1979, Moraz recorded a series of original works based on musical idioms with the pan pipe virtuoso Simon "Syrinx" Stanciu resulting with the album "Co-Existence" (re-released later as "Libertate" to benefit the children of Romania).

As Patrick continued working as a member of the Moody Blues, he also collaborated with fellow Yes alumnus Bill Bruford, on two acclaimed albums, "Music for piano and drums" and "Flags." He also recorded with keyboardist Chick Corea and guitarist Kazumi Watanabe.

Patrick left the Moody Blues in 1991 to pursue a career as a solo artist once again. In 1994 he released his ninth solo album, his solo piano debut "Windows of Time."

In 1995, Patrick embarked on the "Coming Home America Tour," better known as CHAT.

Recently, Patrick has recorded two new works for piano: "Resonance," released in 2000, and the latest, "ESP, (Etudes-Sonatas-Preludes)" released in September of 2003.

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