|Swiss Jazz Award|||||Nominees 2013|||||Winners|||||History and Sponsors|||||Terms of nomination|
Christina Jaccard is hailed as the “blackest white voice in Switzerland”. She lives and breathes her music, seamlessly blending the deeply frank and sensitive with impressive power and charisma. In the truest sense of the word, it is her soul that captivates audiences and makes any gospel or blues night with her an unforgettable experience.Read the press release
Alexia Gardner is an English singer with Jamaican roots who has been living in Switzerland since 2006. Her collaboration with the Offbeat Trio in 2009 culminated in her first album Chasing Hope which met with a positive response from both press and public alike. The group plays both traditional and modern jazz with original compositions, Latin grooves and emotional ballads in all of which Alexia Gardner’s sensuous voice comes into its own.
The Dani Felber Big Band counts as the most versatile in Europe. Founded by the Swiss bandleader, composer and flugelhorn player Dani Felber and made up of first-rate musicians of various nationalities, the band has been playing together for nine years. Having performed all over the world, it has won a reputation for verve, good vibes, virtuosity and professionalism at the highest level.
Dani Felber began his career in the National Youth Brass Band where he played until 1991. He took private lessons with Eisuke Yamamoto, first trumpeter with the Bodensee Symphonie Orchester, and no sooner had he seen the film The Glenn Miller Story than he knew his goal was to have his own big band. After performing extensively both in Switzerland and abroad and working together with such greats as Clark Terry, Al Porcino, Johnny Griffin, Jimmy Heath, Phil Woods and Franco Ambrosetti, Dani Felber is now widely regarded as a worthy heir to Max Gregor, Hugo Strasser and James Last. As a soloist, he is compared with Chuck Mangione and Art Farmer. His big band is made up of eighteen musicians of international renown.
The Robi Weber Quartet belongs to that rare species that knows how to combine excellence with entertainment. Its metier is soul in the broadest sense of the term with a repertoire that includes both famous compositions by the giants of jazz as well as several compositions by members of the band. With his own distinctive brand of soul, laced with elements of blues, R’n’B and gospel, Robi Weber is one of Switzerland’s best known and most successful jazz pianists. His powerful, if unconventional piano playing was inspired by his model Oscar Peterson and is reminiscent of Les McCann, Junior Mance, Ray Bryant and Gene Harris. Backing him up is a now almost legendary rhythm section: Kalli Gerhards on bass, who with his sure sense of rhythm and harmony is always in high demand, Curt Treier on drums, who for many years set the pace of the Swiss Radio and TV Big Band, and as front man on vibraphone “Junior Soul Man” Thomas Dobler, whose emotional, virtuoso grooves never fail to impress.
The name Hazy Osterwald stands not just for a legendary bandleader, inspired arranger and outstanding composer, but also for an excellent instrumentalist who rose to fame first as a pianist, then as a trumpeter and later as a vibraphonist. Hazy, who in 2009 turned 87, can look back on a six-decade-long career. It began at school where he was enlisted first as a pianist and later as leader of the school orchestra. At nineteen, he was already arranging songs for Teddy Stauffer, the legendary Swiss musician who in the 1930s was crowned Germany’s “King of Swing”. Having mastered the piano, Hazy turned to the trumpet, which he played first in Fred Böhler’s band and then as one of Eddie Brunner’s “Original Teddies”. Then he founded his own combo, after which the list of those he performed with reads like a who’s who of Swiss jazz.
Like so many of his counterparts on the other side of the pond, Hazy was never afraid of breaking new ground meaning that his repertoire was always up to date. He seized on hits climbing up the charts, rearranged them to suit his band and made them part of his repertoire. He and his band produced numerous film soundtracks, especially in Germany. His 1959 recording of Criminal Tango became a legend in its own time, selling hundreds of thousands of copies. And Hazy’s band was the official band of the Olympic Games both in Munich in 1972 and in Innsbruck in 1976.
Hazy has been taking it easy these past few years. His last live concert was at Schloss Thun three years ago and many of the musicians he used to play with are no longer among us. By presenting Hazy Osterwald with the Swiss Jazz Lifetime Achievement Award 2009, Radio Swiss Jazz and JazzAscona are honouring a great musician who even today is both idol and model for many a young jazz hopeful.
The children’s jazz band Swing Kids was founded fifteen years ago by the Japanese-born trumpeter, trombonist, bandleader, arranger and composer Dai Kimoto, who even as an adolescent just loved playing Dixieland. The group now numbers fourteen enthusiastic young musicians from eastern Switzerland and has become a force to be reckoned with on the international big band scene. What is amazing is that the youngest band member is barely ten years old! The secret of the band’s success is Kimoto’s belief that playing together should be fun. Instead of being taught individually and made to reel off endless exercises, the Swing Kids play together in a band. That way they get to make music with grownups, too – something they do with extraordinary verve.
What started out as a group of young, inexperienced musicians was transformed in a matter of months into an ensemble that has nothing to fear from comparisons with professionals and has engagements the world over. This is thanks first and foremost to Dai Kimoto, a Japanese who has been living in the Swiss town of Romanshorn since 1979 and whose personal dedication to popularizing jazz among young people has assured jazz a future! Dai Kimoto and his Swing Kids frequently go on tour both in Switzerland and abroad. Their ports of call include not just Montreux, Davos or Zurich, but Japan, Taiwan, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay and the USA. Which other youth jazz band has toured Japan and there given twelve concerts in front of 10,000 people, including one at the legendary Birdland jazz club in Tokyo? Which other youth band, scheduled to perform at the famous Hotel Pennsylvania in New York, has been hailed as “The Legend of Switzerland”? These young musicians have won the hearts of countless concert- and festival-goers, setting off whole avalanches of applause.
The Loverfield Jazzband was founded by six Dixieland enthusiasts in June 1986. The name Loverfield is a literal English translation of “Liebefeld”, which is the district of Köniz that is home to two of the band’s initiators, Rita and Peter Trachsel. Rita and Peter are mainstays of the band even today. As in almost every ensemble, there have been changes over the years, so that today’s formation dates only from January 2000. The Loverfield Jazzband is a very committed group with an outstanding stage presence and a well-balanced repertoire in which Dixieland, blues and swing – sometimes laced with gospels – all have a place. Endowed with an exceptionally clear voice, Rita Trachsel sings the gospels, while bandleader Peter Trachsel moderates the concerts.
The Loverfield Jazzband is a welcome guest at traditional jazz clubs all over Switzerland. Since it goes down especially well in the intimate atmosphere of a club, it performs regularly at the Lutry in Canton Vaud, the Linth in Rapperswil in Canton St Gallen, the Hecht Mammern in Canton Thurgau and at the Jazzclub Delémont.
It is also well represented in the repertoire of Radio Swiss Jazz, Switzerland’s only jazz station, which in 2006 added "Amazing Grace", "Bel Ami", "Love is Here To Stay" and "Mahogany Hall Stomp" from the CD S'Wonderful to its archives. The Loverfield Jazzband’s rendering of “Amazing Grace” sung by Rita Trachsel not only shot to the number one spot among the most popular songs on Radio Swiss Jazz, but also won the band the first ever Swiss Jazz Award presented by Radio Swiss Jazz at JazzAscona 2007.