Peter Schärli’s liberated jazz

Peter Schärli has been touring for more than 35 years and has played throughout Europe and at festivals around the globe. In this time, his music has become even more stylish and mature. Trumpeter Peter Schärli comes from Lucerne and lives in Aarau. His jazz is popular among many people who claim not to like jazz. His latest album, “Purge”, is proof positive of this.

On nine tracks that flow and groove, the Peter Schärli Trio featuring Glenn Ferris play melodies that create connections and contain superb improvisations on the main theme. The result is jazz that is so relaxed that you overlook the almost secret complexity of tracks with unique chord progressions and unusual forms.

This music is the product of deliberate omission and of paring down, enabling its essential elements to come to the fore more clearly. The album title, “Purge”, means doing precisely that. “I don’t believe in being better, faster and louder than others, whether in society or in music,” Schärli said in an interview. Nevertheless he adds, “I practise daily. Sometimes I play a single note for 45 minutes.”

Just like his long-established Special Sextet, the Peter Schärli Trio featuring Glenn Ferris is a real working band. He’s been playing with the earthy sounding bassist Thomas Dürst and the wonderful trombonist Glenn Ferris for decades. The youngest member of the band is Hans Peter Pfammatter, who has already made a name for himself with experimental electronic projects, though here he plays classic piano, albeit in an imaginative and form-conscious manner.

Glenn Ferris, the American in Paris, played with jazz and pop icons like Frank Zappa, Archie Shepp, Don Ellis, Tim Buckley and Stevie Wonder before coming to Europe. His swing is as sentimental as it is funky and full of soul; his solos are a delight to behold. The bandleader’s clear and precise sound creates a veritable horn section.

Peter Schärli turned 60 last year. “Purge” is like an initial stocktaking of his current qualities. These qualities can also be heard in his other trio with Brazilian guitar-player Juarez Moreira and the Basel pianist Hans Feigenwinter as well as in his ballad-like quartet “Don’t change your hair for me”. Schärli is therefore a tried-and-tested guarantor of understated class.


Peter Schärli Trio featuring Glenn Ferris: “Purge”, Enja, 2016.

Comments (0)

Write new comment

Comments are approved within one to three days. The editorial team reserves the right not to publish discriminatory, racist, defamatory or inflammatory comments. Our detailed comment rules are available here.

Switzerland is getting brighter. Artificial lights are chasing away the dark, even in the most remote corners of the country. But one particularly...

Read more

On 27 November, the Swiss people will vote on an initiative by the Greens to switch off the country’s nuclear reactors.

Read more

Lovebugs have released their first album for four years, entitled “Land Ho!”. An interview with frontman Adrian Sieber about being Swiss in the pop...

Read more

The Area for the Swiss Abroad is nestled within the bay in Brunnen and boasts incredible panoramic views. Now, one of Switzerland’s most beautiful...

Read more

Auslandschweizer Organisation
Alpenstrasse 26
3006 Bern, Schweiz

tel +41 31 356 61 10
fax +41 31 356 61 01