Irène Schweizer has made a significant contribution to European jazz, pioneering free improvisation in the 1960s and breaking boundaries for female musicians. As a teenager she already played jazz piano and drums. Eventually, she concentrated on piano and developed a strong preference for improvising, especially in duo line-ups with drummers.
Alongside Andrew Cyrille, Pierre Favre, Louis Moholo-Moholo and Günter Sommer, Iréne Schweizer regularly forms a duo with Han Bennink, Holland’s most adventurous drummer and co-founder of Instant Composers Pool. Their collaboration has led to two albums. In their improvisations they combine swing- and ragtime-like parts with South African jazz and Monk-like passages.
‘Han and I are soul-brother and soul-sister. We have the same taste and rhythmical feelings in jazz music’ (Irène Schweizer).
‘Irène Schweizer and Han Bennink inhabit overlapping musical orbits, sharing an affinity for incisive swing, spontaneity and serious playfulness, such that their camaraderie is effortless’ (New York City Jazz Record).
Irene Schweizer piano, Han Bennink drums