Chilly Gonzales (Canada, 1972), the stage name for Jason Beck, is a pianist, composer, and author, but also a producer, host, and writer. His music is a continuous virtuosity of his piano together with pop influences. The Guardian says about him: «He would be just a brilliant entertainer if only he doesn’t play the piano so well».
Even if his formation at the piano started when he was three years old, Beck’s career started in the Nineties when was a member of the alternative rock group Son, together with Dominic Salole and Dave Szigeti. The group published two albums for Warner Music Canada: Thriller e Wolfstein, and then broke up.
In 1999, Beck moved to Berlin and started using his pseudonym Chilly Gonzales. He published four albums under the German label Kitty-yo: Gonzales Über Alles (1999), The Entertainist (2000), Presidential Suite (2002) e Z (2003), which are all an exploration of rap music and a display of Gonzales’s pianistic ability in several instrumental tracks.
With his first album containing only instrumental tracks, Solo Piano (2004), Gonzales received extremely positive reviews, and the critics compared his work to the production of Satie.
In 2008, he published Soft Power, followed in 2009 by Ivory Tower and by the establishment of the Guinness World Record for the longest solo performance (27hours, 3 minutes e 44 seconds) in which he played more than 300 songs.
In 2012, Gonzales published Solo Piano II (2012), nominated for a Polaris Music Prize in 2013, followed by Chambers (2015) and Room 29 (2017), which was recorded in collaboration with Jarvis Cocker. In 2018, he recorded and released Solo Piano III, the third and last album for the trilogy that started in 2004.
Alongside his soloist career, Gonzales participated in numerous collaborations. Extremely important was the one with Leslie Fest in her two albums Let it Die (2003) and The Reminder (2007), which was nominated for four Grammy Awards and won five Juno Awards.
Noteworthy was his partnership with Daft Punk in their album Random Access Memories (2013), which won a Grammy for Best Album of the Year in 2013. In 2016, Gonzales hosted the radio program Music’s Cool on Beats 1 of Apple Music Radio during which he analyzed the musical theory behind the productions of several artists.
In 2018, he founded the program for his own musical conservatory, The Gonzervatory: it was an immersive eight-day long experience during which sever international artists could attend classes with Gonzales and masterclasses with musicians like Peaches, Socalled, Fred Wesley e Jarvis Cocker.
In 2020, Chilly Gonzales released his Christmas album A Very Chilly Christmas, a collection of re-edition of traditional Christmas songs in which the unique pianistic style of Gonzales is extremely recognizable and enriched with the collaborations with Jarvis Cocker e Mariah Carey.