Peter Schärli is one of the most original trumpet and flügelhorn players to emerge from Europe since the beginning of the '80s. His endeavors have shown a committed individual who chose to develop solid and long-lasting relationships with a core of like-minded musicians. As a performer, he emphasizes expressiveness over virtuosity.
He began to play the trumpet when he was ten and started to play professionally at age 23. He quickly focused on a project that he kept developing and refining over the years. It all started in 1982 when he founded a trio with bassist Thomas Dürst and drummer Marco Kappeli. Two years later, he added guitarist Giancarlo Nicolai and reedist Hans Koch. In 1986, Roland Philipp replaced Hans Koch and, later that year, trombonist Glenn Ferris joined the band, which by then had already become a sextet. The ensemble remained stable and started to record at a regular pace until 1994, when Schärli decided to reorganize it so that it could better suit his new musical ideas. Ferris and Dürst remained and the newcomers were pianist Hans Feigenwinter, drummer Beatrice Graf, and French horn player Tom Varner. In its new configuration, the band recorded two of Schärli's most notable opuses: Blues for the Beast and Guilty. In parallel, Schärli launched two projects: Don't Change Your Hair for Me, with vocalist Sandy Patton, and Peter Schärli Special Choice. In 2001, he created a new project with another trumpet player and fellow educator at the Lucerne Jazz School, Lars Lindvall. The trumpeter has also been very active in composing theater music and movie soundtracks, and has had his share of sideman and cooperative work with musicians as diverse as Donat Fisch, Rick Margitza, Co Streiff, Christy Doran, Johannes Bauer, and Hans Poppel. ~ Alain Drouot