Pianist Irène Schweizer is celebrating her 80th birthday this year. Not only has she had a significant influence on the development of jazz piano playing, she is also a pioneer of independent jazz and improvisation scenes in Europe and has achieved international recognition for her role as a representative of Swiss jazz. Irène Schweizer’s work is closely linked to her political agenda: she is committed to women’s equality in the arts and society. She is an advocate for the artistic and economic autonomy of artists. And she militates against discrimination on the basis of gender, origin or sexual orientation.
In 2016 the life, artistic career and political activities of Irène Schweizer were reviewed by jazz journalist Christian Broecking (1957-2021) on behalf of the Lucerne UASA in a three-year project co-financed by Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI. Aside from Irène Schweizer herself, many of her colleagues also provided material, including musicians George Lewis, Evan Parker and Louis Moholo-Moholo, singer Maggie Nicols, composer Carla Bley, jazz festival founder Niklaus Troxler and Zurich Mayor Corine Mauch, to name but a few. A research team from the Lucerne UASA also transcribed selected solo recordings by Irène Schweizer with the aim of explaining the pianist’s particular style and making it accessible to a wider audience.
To mark the artist’s 80th birthday in June 2021, the Lucerne UASA, publishers Broecking Verlag and the «Verein Freundinnen und Freunde von Irène Schweizer» are issuing an English translation of Schweizer’s authorised biography. Further information and the transcribed concert recordings, reproduced with kind permission from Schweizer’s label Intakt Records, can be found at hslu.ch/irene-schweizer.
Authorised biography of Irène Schweizer
Original edition 2016: Dieses unbändige Gefühl der Freiheit. Irène Schweizer – Jazz, Avantgarde, Politik
Print on Demand (Link)
Broecking Verlag and Lucerne UASA, 480 pages (ISBN 978-3-938763-44-5, hardback / ISBN 978-3-938763-43-8, paperback).
English translation 2021: This Uncontainable Feeling of Freedom. Irène Schweizer – European Jazz and the Politics of Improvisation
Translated by Jeb Bishop. Published by Broecking Verlag, Lucerne UASA, Friends of Irène Schweizer. Print on demand and e-book.
E-Book (E-Pub) (Link)