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Pierre Favre

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Like his contemporaries, saxophonist Steve Lacy and trombonist Roswell Rudd, Swiss drummer Pierre Favre played Dixieland before embarking on a career in free jazz. Favre was self-taught on drums. He began working professionally at 17; he played with touring American musicians like Lil Hardin Armstrong and Albert Nicholas in the mid-'50s. In the '60s, Favre played with such bop musicians as Bud Powell, Benny Bailey, and Booker Ervin. He also worked in Switzerland for Paiste & Sohn, the cymbal- and gong-making company. In the mid-'60s, Favre developed an interest in free jazz, forming a trio with pianist Irene Schweizer and bassist George Mraz (who was eventually supplanted by Peter Kowald). Saxophonist Evan Parker joined the band in 1968, making it a quartet. In the late '60s, Favre played with saxophonist Peter Brotzmann, drummer John Stevens, and trumpeter Manfred Schoof, among others of note; he also began collaborating with modern classical musicians and avant-gardists from other disciplines. He recorded a solo album, Mountain Wind, in 1978, and began leading an all-percussion group that included Nana Vasconcelos and Paul Motian. Favre has recorded extensively for the ECM label in the '80s and '90s, with artists including vocalist Tamia, classical composer Arvo Part, saxophonist/composer John Surman, and bandoneonist Dino Saluzzi. He began the 21st century with Punctus (2001), Crisscrossing (2004), and Fleuve (2007). ~ Chris Kelsey

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June 2, 1937 in Le Locle, Switzerland

Years Active:

'60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s