Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
At the age of 5 Spedel received his first piano lessons, given by his mother, a music teacher and concert piano player. In 1963 the family moved to West Germany. Contact with different styles of piano playing, like Oscar Peterson and Dave Brubeck, the music of Miles Davis, inspired Christoph Spendel really early to set up his 1st own jazz group. In 1973 he studied at the Robert Schuhmann Institute in Dusseldorf. At same time he started his professional career as a member of the group "Jazztrack", with Wolfgang Engstfeld, Uli Beckerhoff and Siggi Busch (1975).
In 1975 Cristoph Spendel got an award from the city of Dusseldorf, in 1977 from the city of Bremen, to support and honour his talent. After his first album, the next big step forward was the appearance at the Berlin Jazz Days in 1975, 1978 and 1980 with concert at the Berlin Philharmonie. To complete his studies he took piano lessons from Herbie Hancock in 1983. From 1980 to 1990 Christoph Spendel plays together with the "Who is Who " of German jazz, like Albert Mangelsdorf, Michael Sagmeister, Gerd Dudek, Manfred Schoof, Christof Lauer and Wolfgang Schluter. Also he has been invited by several international musicans like Jim Pepper, Miroslav Vitous, Norma Winstone, Hans Koller, Didier Lockwood, Eddie Harris, Airto Moreira, Flora Purim und Alphonse Mouzon to play concerts and record sessions in West Germany and the USA. During this time he also played a few concerts in the GDR, the former East Germany.
Next steps have been record productions for the German labels MPS, L+R, Blue Flame/BMG, Inak, JVC and Nabel. For the famous Gothe Instutite he made a few concert trips to Canada, Hungary, France, Denmark, Israel, Turkey, Sweden, Finland and Norway. He was also invited by the Swiss Television for a production together with the GRP All Stars, e.g. Lee Ritenour and Don Grusin. In 1989 he was called by Michael Urbaniak for the production "Mily Way" to New York. The whole production contains famous musicians like Randy Brecker, Lenny White, Ray Gomez and Urzula Dudziak. Michael Spendel was invited by producer George Jinda to join the band "Special EFX". With this band he started touring for about 2 years (1993-1995) across the U.S and Canada and played in several clubs, eg, the "Blue Note" and the " Five Spot" in N.Y. Also they played several festivals in L.A., Chicago, San Diego, San Francisco, Montreal, Panama City and Puerto Rico. During Christoph Spendel's 3 years in N.Y he played also together with Dave Liebman, Chuck Loeb, Dave Samuels, Leni Stern und Dave Valentin. Another main point during his work in the "Big Apple" was the cooperation with the drummer Reuben Hoch. They met 1st in Israel during a tour for the Gothe Institute. In N.Y. they formed the band "West End Avenue".
The highlights in Christoph Spendel's concert career are Spendel's solo performances at the Berlin Philharmonie in 1987 and at the Montreux Jazz Festival 1997. Also a duo performance with the vibraphonist Wolfgang Schluter in Paris 1981, a piano show with "Schimmel" pianos during the "NAMM Show in L.A. 1991 and a concert with "Special EFX" at the N.Y, Central Park 1994. In 1991 he got a job at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule /Frankfurt/Main Germany as a jazz teacher. He had started his teacher career early in 1979 at the Musik Hochschule Koln, Cologne/Germany. He is still engaded there. For workshops he was called to the Rimon School Tel Aviv/Israel and the Junior College St.Petersburg/Florida. Also he works as teacher on the Akademie Remscheid/Germany. In 1997 Christoph Spendel got a contract for composition and production from the Westdeutschen Rundfunk (WDR), to collect all musical experiences and influences from Europe, USA and Israel. The work got the title "The Three Worlds." 1997 saw the founding of the "Christoph Spendel Elektric Band". Since 1997 the band has played a lot of concerts. More live activities and CD productions came up with the "Christoph Spendel Trio", "Christoph Spendel Quartett" and the "Pianoduo Ratko Delorko und Christoph Spendel". In 1999 Christoph Spendel received from the City of Frankfurt/Main a professor for Jazz and Popular Music at the Frankfurt Musikhochschule. Christoph Spendel is still a live musican and also part of different productions of music,.e.g. "Space Night" from the Bayerischen Rundfunk (BR).
Ongoing projects are the Christoph Spendel Trio, acoustic Jazz Trio with Andre Nendza and Kurt Bilker; Jazz meets Classi, a piano duo with the classical piano player Ratko Delorko; East West Trio, an international band with musicians from Israel and Russia; the Christoph Spendel Electric Band; and solo piano performances. In 2003, the Sonny Fortune & Christoph Spendel Trio toured in Germany.
Parkstreet No. 92 (1978); Limousine (1980); Raspail Hotel (1981); Dreams & Melodies (1982); Radio Exotique (1985); Michael Sagmeister - Christoph Spendel: So Near So Far (1985);... Ready For Take Off (1988); Back To Basics (1988); Spendel (1989); Lenny Mac Dowell And Christoph Spendel Project: Autumn Breath (1989); Cool Street (1993); Thoughts (1995); Out of Town (1995); City Kids (1996); The Art Of Solo Piano (1997); Flight 408 (1998); Silent Night (1999); The Three Worlds (1999); Michael Sagmeister - Christoph Spendel: Binary (1999); Ratko Delorko - Christoph Spendel: Jazz Meets Classic (1999); Unexpected Elements (2000); Stefan Heidtmann - Christoph Spendel: Piano Duet (2001); New York Groove (2001); Daniela Beck - Christoph Spendel: As Time Goes By (2001); Jazz Songs Vol. 1 (2001); The L+R Collection (2001); New Avenues (2001);
Milky Way: Milky Way (1989); West End Avenue: 1 (1989); Axel Fischbacher Quartett: Coast To Coast (1990): Infinity & Alphonse Mouzon: Now (1991); West End Avenue: 2 (1992); Fischbacher Group: Mysterious Princess (1992); Die Dozenten: Take It Easy (1992); The Fantasy Band: The Fantasy Band (1993); The RH Factor: Live In New York (1993); West End Avenue: 3 (1993); Chieli Minucci: Jewels (1995); Reuben Hoch And The RH Factor: If I Only Knew (1995); West End Avenue: City Jazz (1995); Derrick James: Think Positive (1996); Christmas Morning: An Instrumental Christmas Collection (1996); Bryan J. Hughes: Paints A Picture (1996); Bryan J. Hughes: In Your Eyes (2000); Planet Lounge: Electric Bolero (2002); Olaf Kubler: When I'm 64 (2002)