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Sylvie Courvoisier - NOSPR

Sylvie Courvoisier Piano

“Some pianists approach the instrument like it’s a cathedral – Sylvie Courvoisier treats it like a playground.” So observed Kevin Whitehead in the notes to the Sylvie Courvoisier Trio’s D’Agala (Intakt), an album selected as one of the year’s best by both The New York Times and Los Angeles Times in 2018. Previously, Double Windsor (Tzadik) – the first album recorded by Courvoisier in league with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Kenny Wollesen – had been named best album of 2014 by Slate and New York City Jazz Record, along with receiving the “CHOC” from Jazz Magazine and Jazzman in France. In his notes to Free Hoops – this virtuosic trio’s latest album, due in September 2020 from Intakt – Whitehead goes into detail about the range of atmosphere explored by Courvoisier and company: “The music harbors a misterioso, dreamlike quality… induced by a wistful ostinato or moonlit piano arpeggio, or by a quiet episode that underscores the depth of the trio’s sonic space, as when a slapped-strings piano bass cluster explodes into the void. They also do that good stuff we prize jazz for: the happy swinging, the coming together when they make complex material sing.” Courvoisier has earned just renown for balancing two distinct worlds: the richly detailed depth of her European chamber-music roots and the grooving, hook-laden sounds of the downtown jazz scene in New York City, her home now for two decades. Beyond her trio with Gress and Wollesen, the Swiss pianist’s partnership with violinist Mark Feldman – lauded on both sides of the Atlantic – has yielded a long-running duo, as well as a top quartet. Over the years, Courvoisier has also worked with such avant-jazz luminaries as John Zorn, Wadada Leo Smith, Evan Parker, Ikue Mori, Ellery Eskelin, Susie Ibarra, Fred Frith and Mary Halvorson. — Bradley Bambarger


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