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Urs Leimgruber

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Swiss-born saxophonist (he plays virtually all of them) Urs Leimgruber has long been a fixture on the European new music, jazz, and free improvisation scenes. Leimgruber has formal training in both classical music and jazz, and began his tenure as a member of the electric, free improv jazz group Om in the 1970s with drummer Fredy Studer, Christy Doran, and Bobby Burri; he later moved to New York with Burri to form and record with their Refelexionen Quartet which, ironically enough, recorded their finest moments at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1987. Leimgruber careens through the free jazz and new music and improv boroughs with startling ease; his long association with drummer and percussionist Fritz Hauser has run the gamut from improvised duets to performing with pianist Irène Schweizer and Steve Lacy. The most satisfying and even revelatory groups that he and Hauser have been involved in, however, are two trios with bassist extraordinaire Joëlle Léandre and another with pianist Marilyn Crispell. In addition to these groups, Leimgruber has also been a featured guest on recordings by Louis Sclavis, Hans Koch, Pauline Oliveros, Tim Berne, Joe McPhee, and Trilok Gurtu, just to name a few. Leimgruber has issued a number of solo saxophone recordings as well, which are, in the same way Anthony Braxton's were in the late '60s and early '70s, groundbreaking, emotionally expressive, and critically brilliant. Since 1988, Leimgruber has lived in Paris, a place he uses as a pivot point for his many endeavors. In the '90s and 2000s, he has fronted the LSM Trio with François Moutin and Patrick Scheyder, and appeared in performances of the works of composers Maria De Alvear, Mani Planzer, and Edu Haubensak. His touring throughout Western Europe, the United States, South America, and Canada is near constant; somehow he finds the time to teach theory courses and run improvisation workshops at a number of universities around the world. ~ Thom Jurek

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Years Active:

'80s, '90s, '00s