18:00 / 29 août 2002 / Noumatrouff

Irene Schweizer piano, Co Streiff saxophone.

Irene Schweizer

Swiss pianist Irene Schweizer (1941), who had cut her teeth in a local trio with drummer Mani Neumeier. A few months after British saxophonist Joe Harriott, she pioneered Indo-jazz fusion by recording Jazz Meets India (october 1967), that featured a jazz quintet with trumpeter Manfred Schoof and Neumaier improvising with and a trio of Indian musicians (Diwan Motihar on sitar, Keshav Sathe on tabla, Kasan Thakur on tamboura).

She achieved notoriety in a trio with bassist Peter Kowald and drummer Pierre Favre that debuted on Santana (october 1968), with the 14-minute Santana. That trio became a Quartett (november 1969) with the addition of British saxophonist Evan Parker (the 19-minute Where are all the old cop sets Clancy). Ramifications (september 1973) began a collaboration with tenor saxophonist Ruediger Carl (it also featured drummer Paul Lovens, trombonist Radu Malfatti, bassist Harry Miller) that continued with the quartet of Goose Pannee (september 1974), containing the 21-minute Goose Pannee. Carl and Schweizer formed a trio with drummer Louis Moholo that recorded Messer (may 1975) and Tuned Boots (november 1977), with the 20-minute Tuned Boots .

Her first solo album, Wilde Senoritas (november 1976), contained two lengthy improvisations : the 15- minute Wilde Se¤oritas and the 18-minute Saitengebilde. Hexensabbat (october 1977) contained seven shorter pieces and the 12-minute live Rapunzel Rapunzel. Compared with the harsh avantgarde of the time, her style, blending classical, bebop and free-jazz elements, was folkish and oneiric.

But she was more famous for an aggressive style of playing that abused the possibilities of the keyboard and indulged in neurotic timbral detours. The duo with Carl yielded the live The Very Centre of Middle Europe (october 1978) and Die V-Mann Suite (october 1980), containing the 19-minute Frizeit. A trio with bassist Joelle Leandre and drummer Paul Lovens debuted in the 20-minute Trutznachtigall, off Live at Taktlos (february 1984). The collaboration with Leandre led to the 26- minute Now And Never for a quintet with American trombonist George Lewis, vocalist Maggie Nicols and drummer Guenter Sommer, off the live The Storming of The Winter Palace (march 1988).

She relished a series of piano-drum duos (Andrew Cyrille, Pierre Favre, Han Bennink, Louis Moholo, Mani Neumeier), best probably being the one with Sommer that yielded the ebullient 19-minute Schweizersommer (february 1987).

Piano Solo 1 (may 1990) contained very short pieces, while Piano Solo 2 (may 1990) was a set of live (and longer) improvisations.

The trio of Schwiezer, vocalist Maggie Nichols, and bassist Joelle Leandre, all members of EWIG (the European Women’s Improvising Group), recorded Les Diaboliques (april 1993), a series of brief absurdist skits. Les Diaboliques also recorded Splitting Image (november 1994) and Live at the Rhinefalls (may 1997).



voir toutes les participations de Irene Schweizer

La rencontre de ces deux femmes musiciennes suisses eut lieu à la Rote Fabrik à Zürich au cours du premier festival Canaille en 1996 qui réunissait également Joëlle Léandre, Maggie Nicols, Lindsay Cooper et Annemarie Roelofs. Connue pour sa participation au Vienna Art Orchestra, la saxophoniste est venue jouer à Mulhouse en 2000 au sein de Kadash. La « first Lady » du piano y fut quant à elle l’invitée du London Jazz Composers Orchestra et s’y est produit avec Les trois dames (Nozati, Léandre) et les Diaboliques (Nicols, Léandre). Au début, le programme de Co Streiff et Irène Schweizer comprenait des compositions d’Ornette Coleman, Dudu Pukwana et Monk, puis de Carla Bley. Au fil des années, le duo fut amené à jouer de plus en plus de pièces de Co, plutôt que des classiques du jazz. Lyrique, dépouillée, leur association est devenue naturelle. Douce, non démonstrative et souvent bouleversante, on y entend l’histoire du jazz : une musique rigoureuse dans son écriture, franche dans son accomplissement, diverse dans ses énergies.

2002
 
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