Looking at the numerous projects in which Max Nagl
is involved, one thing instantly becomes quite clear. This is a
musician who wants to create his own freedom and for whom the words
"fear of contact" are a foreign term. There is hardly any music genre in
which the award-winning saxophonist and composer can not succeed
impressively. Driven by almost irrepressible curiosity and by the great
love of experimenting, this multifaceted jazz musician always rises up
to new musical challenges.
Is it solely the instrumental virtuosity that distinguishes a musician?
Or is there far more to the deal of positioning one self as an
independent artist. Perhaps it requires the courage to leave old ways in
order to get free and ready for new paths. Without doubt, Max Nagl
belongs to a group of musicians who fight with vengeance against being
categorized, against losing focus in repetitions, and who always take on
new musical projects.
Born in 1960 in Upper Austria, Max Nagl already received piano and
clarinet lessons and played in the local brass band in his early
childhood years. After school he went to the Bruckner Conservatory in
Linz, where he studied piano. This was followed by saxophone studies at
the Conservatory in Vienna, as well as studies of musical movement
education at the Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts in Vienna. Since
1980, the saxophonist has been active in countless formations and band
constellations, and, in the course of time, has also succeeded in
working on an excellent reputation outside of Austria. The multi-faceted
and extremely versatile musician has already toured through Europe, the
USA, as well as to Australia, North Africa and Taiwan.
Holding on to traditional jazz standards is not really Max Nagl's thing.
The saxophonist doesn't look at music as a closed system which is
subdivided into different segments, but rather as a broad field which
has to be to worked on artistically. The versatile musician is all about
getting rid of the tight corset of rules and creating new spaces for
his music. In his compositions, the Upper Austrian always trys to
reconcile opposites, no matter if they are about different forms of
playing, sound structures or harmonies.
What primarily distinguishes the saxophonist from others is his enormous
versatility and an almost uncontrollable joy of experimenting and this
is consequently reflected in the immense range of his musical
understanding. A key element of Max Nagl's music is improvisation
and the energetic interaction with his fellow musicians. His pieces
often only take their final shape after the interaction. It is the
spontaneous creative process itself, from which the compostions of the
saxophonist get the moments of tension.
In his work, Max Nagl celebrates the flirt with the unexpected. No
matter what musical context, whether jazz-rock with "Go 4 It", free jazz
with "Manhattan Love Suicide" or producing a connection between jazz
and classical music in "Maxixe", the native Upper Austrian never shys
away from new and unknown territory. With his release "Market Rasen" in
2006, the exceptional musicians even ventured into the world of pop
music, especially that of art pop icon Robert Wyatt, the drummer,
singer, composer and co-founder of the legendary experimental group
In addition to his instrumental skills, it is particularly his
undisputed openness to new ideas which makes Max Nagl one of the
greatest musicians of the country. No matter whether as a solo artist or
as a member in a formation, Max Nagl presents himself as an artist who
is often a step ahead of his time. With the ability to always expand his
own music with new facets, we may assume that we will hear a lot
more of Max Nagl in the future.