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Irène Schweizer - Pierre Favre

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Album Review

This is the fourth in the series of piano-drum duos recorded by Irène Schweizer for Intakt. This one with Pierre Favre, the drummer she's known perhaps the longest since her defection from the world of classical music, is also the most compelling by far on a number of levels. For one thing, this is decidedly a jazz date, unlike the ones with Han Bennink or Louis Moholo. For another, there is no fight here, no battle for supremacy or to display "chops" to the other. Over the 11 selections recorded live in Bern, the sheer musicality of this pair is staggering. Schweizer's muscular chromaticism is matched in texture by Favre's dancing tom-tom runs and slippery snare work. When Favre does let loose, skittering across the cymbals and hi-hat before tearing loose on the snare, his handiwork is met by large comped-up chords that seem to react rhythmically to his jagged pulse on the skins. When the pace turns to dynamic sweetness and light — or perhaps twilight, as Schweizer's harmonic sensibility is wont to from time to time because of her comfort with all things consonant — and trickles of Schubert or even Haydn slip from her fingers, Favre's brushes play accents on the rhythm, almost inaudibly. This is a topnotch live set that reveals piano and drum pairings are not always percussive pound-a-thons.


Born: 02 June 1941 in Schaffhausen, Switzerland

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Pianist Irène Schweizer performed and recorded with leading European improvisers and free jazz musicians since the 1960s, including female improvising groups starting in the late '70s. One of the initial organizers of the Taktlos and Canaille music festivals, she is also a founding member of the Intakt label. Born in Schaffhausen, Switzerland, in 1941, Schweizer grew up hearing dance bands in her father's restaurant. When she was about 12 years old, she started playing on the piano, and a couple...
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Irène Schweizer - Pierre Favre, Irène Schweizer
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