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Hit Couleurs JAZZ

It begins with a majestic ballad opened by double bass and cymbals, followed by a muted trombone.

From the outset, everything is clear: these three Swiss musicians are above all concerned with sound, and the sound they display is magnificent and rare. Indeed, how many trombone/bass/drums trios do exist? This one clearly sets the bar very high, which is hardly surprising when you know the partners, who here bring together three generations.

Daniel Humair, the octogenarian eldest, needs no introduction as his more than sixty-year career has seen him explore every facet of modern jazz. But we never cease to be amazed by his ability to renew himself by confronting younger instrumentalists. He’s definitely a man who doesn’t care about nostalgia. Indeed, how many instrumentalists of his age are still active or capable of playing with such modernity?

The sixty-something Heiri Känzig is one of Europe’s greatest bassists, and has been heard with the Vienna Art Orchestra and our ONJ as well as in small groups such as the Swiss-Austrian trio Depart and the Franco-Swiss quartet of the late Charlie Mariano. In short, he possesses – in addition to a deep sound – a broad mastery of the language of contemporary jazz as well as older idioms.

Samuel Blaser, the youngest member of the trio, is a young forty-something in full possession of his expressive powers and virtuosity, which he displays on both sides of the Atlantic, playing with Marc Ducret or Vincent Courtois as well as Russ Lossing or Paul Motian. Blaser undeniably possesses one of the most beautiful trombone sound you’re ever likely to hear, and his improvisational talents know no bounds, enabling him, among other things, to perform as an absolute soloist.

For their second opus, following on from “1291”, released in 2020, the three companions have chosen to explore a repertoire featuring collective compositions, standards by Thelonious Monk or Duke Ellington, pieces from the pen of Humair or Blaser, and even traditional Swiss tunes.

In other words, diversity is the watchword here, and the trio handles these themes magnificently, with remarkable attention to melody, phrasing and group sound. The understanding between the three is palpable, and their exchanges are fascinating to follow, both in terms of the timbres of each instrument and the lyrical flights of trombone and double bass, which the drums accompany with finesse and breathtaking variety on the cymbals.

This is a masterly album by three musicians who have yet to cease delighting us.


Samuel Blaser: trombone

Heiri Känzig: double bass

Daniel Humair: drums

Our Way is a “Hit Couleurs Jazz” and belongs to “The Best of The Month” for May 2024.

It was released by the label Blaser Music on May 24, 2024.

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