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With its three-year support programme, Pro Helvetia fosters selected young Swiss jazz bands that have already gained transregional acclaim, have undertaken international concert tours, and whose goal it is to enhance their presence in the international scene. The programme includes financial contributions towards tours, coaching offers and assistance in publicity matters.
The «High priority jazz promotion» programme was launched in 2015. Since then, the following six bands have been selected, each benefiting from the promotional tool for a period of three years:
2017 – 2019 period
Florian Favre Trio: light-footed jazz with equal rights for all
Kaos Protokoll: jazz spiced with multiple other genres
Luca Sisera Roofer: sound collages combining composition and improvisation
2016 – 2018 period
Schnellertollermeier: experimenting with traditional band roles
The Great Harry Hillman: musical team players with unmistakable jazz lingo
2015 – 2017 period
Pilgrim: quintet on a quest of musical discovery
Find further information on the supported bands in the above tabs.
Florian Favre Trio
2013 «T’inquiète pas, ça va aller»
Musical democracy. What may sound unspectacular on paper becomes highly sophisticated when performed and heard live. With their concept of equal rights for all instruments, Florian Favre Trio are following an unconventional track. The fact that the three musicians have known each other since their days at the Bern University of the Arts contributes to the ease of the musical flow and helps explain the equal status granted to each individual’s input. Since 2011, Florian Favre (piano and composition), Manu Hagmann (bass) and Arthur Hnatek (percussion) have been fusing their jazz with classical and electronic influences, opening up enticing new perspectives for the genre.
After «T’inquiète pas, ça va aller» in 2013, their second album called «Ur» was released in 2016. It is a work focussing on essentials – on the essence of music, in the words of Florian Favre, the man behind the compositions.
2012 «quick & dirty»
They are masters of organised chaos. Since 2010, Berne-based Kaos Protokoll with Flo Reichle (percussion), Marc Stucki (saxophone) and Benedikt Wieland (E-bass) have been stirring up the national and international jazz scene, while defying all forms of categorisation. As the name suggests, their music is an ultimately indefinable – and yet unmistakable – mix of genres, including jazz, rock and punk, sometimes spiced with funk rhythms and reggae beats, testing the limits of genre combinations. Their debut album «quick & dirty» was released in the wake of their first public performance at «Jazzwerkstatt Bern». This laid the foundation for their self-named «electronically infected punk jazz». In 2015 their second album «Questclamationmarks» saw the light of day. Kaos Protokoll represents an ongoing musical experiment that makes exceptional sound combinations the norm.
Luca Sisera Roofer
Their debut album «Prospect» sounds like a travel journal written by someone who set out to discover the big wide world of music. The nine tracks were composed by the quintet’s founder, jazz bassist Luca Sisera from Grisons. Much of his inspiration came from an ocean crossing to New York and time spent on the continent of swing. Sisera’s love of switching from composition to improvisation and back also becomes evident. His Luca Sisera Roofer travel companions are Michael Jaeger (tenor sax / clarinet), Silvio Cadotsch (trombone), Yves Theiler (piano) and Michi Stulz (percussion). And they are continuing on their artistic journey together, skilfully combining elements picked up en route for the creation of sound collages that demand a lot both of themselves and their audiences.
The Great Harry Hillman
2015 «Veer Off Course»
What do jazz and hurdle races have in common? The members of the «The Great Harry Hillman» quartet provide answers on their albums, «Livingston», «Veer Off Course» and «Tilt». They leap with apparent ease from one music genre to another, as if they had a musical hurdle course to accomplish, yet behind the ease are high levels of skill and ambition, with eyes set on Olympian heights. In fact, their very name comes from an athlete, US runner Harry Hillman, who won three medals at the 1904 Olympic Games. Unlike solo athlete Hillman, however, the four band members are team players. Together, Nils Fischer (saxophone and bass clarinet), David Koch (guitar), Samuel Huwyler (bass) and Dominik Mahnig (percussion) create a high-energy fusion of jazz and rockpeppered with improvisation, resulting in an unmistakable soundscape.
2010 «Zorn Einen Ehmer Üttert Stem!!»
The trio’s name Schnellertollermeier has the ring of three adjectives in comparative form. This might reflect a high bar the band was setting itself – if so, they cross it with ease. The three musicians from Lucerne, Andi Schnellmann (bass), Manuel Troller (guitar and composition) and David Meier (percussion and composition) do away with traditional band roles as well as with musical boundaries, happily merging improvisation, rough rock and modern jazz composition. While the musicians themselves may still be playing with comparatives, critics have already started using superlatives. On the strength of their latest album, «X», it would be no surprise if there were more to come.
2011 Mt. Tongariro
2014 Italian Circus Story
2016 Big Wheel Live
Pilgrim offers a new definition of pilgrimage. Good shoes may not be essential, but a large rucksack certainly is. After all, the quintet’s pack list includes a saxophone (Christoph Irniger), a piano (Stefan Aeby), a bass (Raffaele Bossard), a guitar (Dave Gisler) and drums (Michi Stulz). Since 2010, the formation under the guidance of Christoph Irniger has been constantly exploring new musical paths. The quest itself is the goal. Further equipped with spontaneity, the sheer joy of playing, and the greatest possible freedom of expression for each band member, they create pieces beyond the confines of rules that put the emphasis on the musical experience itself. The stage becomes both their playground and the road on which they undertake their journey of discovery.