Apart from some ‘big names’ like those of George Gruntz or Daniel Humair, Swiss jazz has remained rather unrecognized for too long. Yet since its beginnings, this musical style seduces the small mountainous country from within. It stirs up some important Swiss themes: curiosity, taste for innovation and regional particularities. This is brilliantly highlighted in the aptly titled "The Helvetic Confederation of Jazz" article by the French journalist, Franpi Barriaux.
The improvised music scene is particularly prolific in Switzerland thanks to the leading light that is Irene Schweizer. A light that hasn’t stopped shining since the early 60s, shifting music, notes and preconceived ideas. In 2018, Irène Schweizer won the Swiss Music Grand Prix: an opportunity for Christian Steulet, who knows her well, to draw her portrait.
Today, the most internationalized Swiss woman in music is Elina Duni who presides over various projects including Aksham in the company of the excellent Geneva pianist Marc Perrenoud and the very popular French trumpet player David Enhco. Another singer, another style, the Zuricher Lucia Cadotsch who offers a stunning revision of standards with her trio Speak Low. In Berne the new scene of improvised music simmers throughout the year, especially in March when the Jazz Werkstatt festival spends a week at the Turnhalle and extends its antennas to Europe and South Africa; a festival for musicians by musicians. Flashback on the edition 2018.
And let us not forget the next generation!
As usual in Switzerland, we like to do things our way, with excellence, including and especially when it comes to jazz.