:: Pierre Favre ” The Drummers “

In search of the melodic aspects of the drum set and the percussion, Pierre Favre found to the solo in the sixties. «A good percussionist always plays melodies, drum melodies. The melodies cannot be put under the classic term of melodies. But, they are melodies», Pierre Favre says in an interview.

He dreamed of the melodious percussion and of the orchestral dimension of the percussion as possibilities. This led him to initiate a percussion ensemble together with Paul Motian, Fredy Studer and Nana Vasconcelos called «Singing Drums». Later, the quartet was transformed into a percussion ensemble with eight percussionists: «Pierre Favre – The Drummers». In 2010, Pierre Favre re-established «The Drummers» as a quartet with Valeria Zangger, Chris jaeger Brown and Markus Lauterburg.

Up to the mid sixties, the percussionists were the rhythm creators. Only with the aesthetics emancipation movement, the roles of the percussionists changed in jazz. In music, the percussion produces the pulse, creates the melodies and harmonies. Pierre Favre has written a versatile repertoire for «The Drummers». The musicians show different facets of complex rhythms and structures on a very high level. Furthermore, astonishing sound images are generated. An exciting percussion festival is formed, which sometimes is shaped by this one, sometimes by another, without one person being too dominant. Having totally different characters, the percussionists have developed four most original styles.

What is unique is their mysterious energy that connects «The Drummers» and flows into the audience during a concert. The audience becomes part of the musical event very quickly.

«This quartet is most compelling when it breathes with one soul, when all four drummers play precisely the same complex rhythms and subtle accents. That does not in any way mean a trivial concentration of sound. That is to say, these percussionists usually play with a lightness just the way cats pussyfoot. Paradoxically, this results in a type of airy density at the end.» (Ch. Merki, Tagesanzeiger 2011)

«Pierre Favre, who all alone manages to be an entire orchestra, plays whole perfected orchestra suites with his four-person ensemble ’The Drummers’». (Ch. Rentsch, Jazz’n’More 2012)

Pierre Favre wrote a versatile repertoire for his quartet in which the musicians perform a complex, rhythmic structure of the highest level, resulting in a truly remarquable sound experience. The music will affect the extraordinary and misterious energy that unite this ensemble, which will surely be transmitted to the public. The listener will become a participant in the musical creation.

„ A serious matter, the drums „ notes Argentine author Luisa Valenzuela, they are the strenght oft he world that lies over the border. Fort he last 50 years, Pierre Favre has been pursuing his drumming instincts to the sources.

He was one of the instigators of the European „free“ scene, but always revealed sensibilities that distinguished him from the mainstream – if such a thing can be said to exist – of improvisers. He took a stand against the „brutal“ attributes of free jazz and, in era of hyper-kinetic playing, he emphasised what he calls „old values“. In general, his „old“ may be read as a synonym for „true“.

When on the cutting edge of jazz drumming, he actually felt closest to its originators, men like Baby Dodds and Big Sid Catlett – Big Sid who defined that near-useless word „swing“ as „my idea of how a melody should go.

Steve Lake