The biography in German Dieses unbändige Gefühl der Freiheit about the life and career of jazz pianist Irène Schweizer was written in 2016 by jazz journalist Christian Broecking (1957-2021) on behalf of the Lucerne UASA and published by Broecking Verlag, Berlin. An English translation of the book has been issued in 2021 in collaboration with the Friends of Irène Schweizer.
This page contains links to the audio recordings accompanying the publication. This has been done with kind permission from Intakt Records, Zürich.
Of course, a freely accessible selection of such a large oeuvre must be limited in scope. The following 13 examples are a chronological cross-section of Irène Schweizer’s solo career, from the wild playing style of the 1970s (Saitengebilde) to the somewhat more moderate, but no less exciting, late work. Several versions of Ballad of the Sad Café and Jungle Beats are available, making it possible to experience the development of the pieces over a longer period of time. Also noteworthy is Irène Schweizer’s version of Thelonious Monk’s Ask Me Now, whereby she not only appropriates the piece, but also characterises Monk the pianist in her playing.
The selection also has examples of collaborations with other musicians: over the course of her life, Irène Schweizer has recorded many duos, principally with drummers. This preferred formation is represented here by recordings with South African Louis Moholo-Moholo and Dutchman Han Bennink, which also showcase Schweizer’s international connections. There is also a duo with saxophonist Omri Ziegele and a waltz with the band Les Diaboliques, in which she has been playing alongside Joëlle Léandre and Maggie Nicols since the 1990s.
Unless otherwise stated, the performers are also the authors.