Daniel Humair Quartet “Sweet and Sour” New Reunion

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Daniel Humair


Daniel Humair (born 23 May 1938 in Geneva, Switzerland), the dean of European modern jazz drummers, has been one of the international jazz community’s most respected and active musicians since the late-’50s. His three decades of contributions to improvised music were recognized officially in 1986 when he was named Chevalier des Arts et Lettres by the government of France, in 1987 when he was awarded the Grand Prix du Jazz by SACEM (France’s music publishing organization) and in 1988 when he received the highest jazz honors awarded annually by the French Recording Academy (Prix Charlie Parker) and the Academie Charles Cros (Prix “In Honorem,” the equivalent of the Grammy). Winning both of the last two prizes is rare; receiving both in one year was unprecedented.

Humair began playing drums when he was 7 and turned professional in 1955 after winning the annual amateur contest at the Zurich International Jazz Festival. He then spent several years performing in his native Switzerland and touring Germany, Belgium and Sweden before settling in Paris in 1958 where he began working with such legendary mainstream jazz artists as Lucky Thompson, Oscar Pettiford, Kenny Dorham and Chet Baker. In 1959 Humair formed a trio with pianist Martial Solal, the first in a series of collaborations in a musical relationship that continues to this day, and he toured internationally with the Swingle Singers from 1965-67. In the late-’60s he joined Phil Woods’ European Rhythm Machine and was a member of a trio with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and organist Eddy Louiss.

Humair was named Drummer Deserving Wider Recognition in the 1970 DOWN BEAT International Jazz Critics Poll and spent 1971-77 freelancing with such artists as Stephane Grappelli, Ponty, George Gruntz, Jim Hall, Herbie Mann, Lee Konitz and Anthony Braxton before forming a trio with bassist Henri Texier and saxophonist François Jeanneau, hailed as France’s most adventurous ensemble of the time, which toured Asia and the Middle East under the auspices of the French Government.

While the Kühn/Humair/Jenny-Clark Trio is the drummer’s main musical interest and challenge at this writing, he continues to lead an ensemble of his own (with frequent appearances by guest soloists John Scofield, Bob Berg, David Friedman or Larry Schneider) and still collaborates occasionally with longtime associates Solal and Michel Portal. Humair has been a professional abstract painter working mainly with acrylic paint on paper since 1962 and his artwork is included in the permanent collections of the City of Paris, the Swiss Government and several European museums including the Museum of Modern Art in Paris. He has combined his interests in the visual and aural arts by appearing on the soundtracks to many films (e.g. “Last Tango in Paris”), and is the author of Drum Book, an “anti-licks” teaching text with no musical content that presents a revolutionary technique/theory/ system in a series of visual exercises.







One Response to “Daniel Humair Quartet “Sweet and Sour” New Reunion”

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