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Meier, Tommy Root Down: The Master And The Rain (Intakt)

Reedist and composer Tommy Meier's Root Down is a passionate tribal-percussive heavy band from Switzerland with a large set of players including pianist Irene Schweizer; irresistible new jazz!

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product information:

UPC: 7640120191818

Label: Intakt
Catalog ID: INT181
Squidco Product Code: 13362

Format: CD
Condition: New
Released: 2010
Country: Switzerland
Packaging: Jewel Tray
Recorded on December 6th and 7th, 2009, "Camel Dance" on March 12, 2007 at Jazzclub Moods, Zurich by Willy Strehler. "The Rain Part II" recorded on August 30th, 2008 at Jazzfestival, Willisau by Martin Pearson.


Tommy Meier-tenor saxophone, bass clarinet, compositions

Russ Johnson-trumpet

Marco von Orelli-trumpet

Co Streiff-alto and soprano saxophones

Peter Landis-tenor and baritone saxophones

Hans-Peter Pfammatter-trombone

Mihael Flury-trumbone

Irene Schweizer-piano

Hands-Peter Pfammatter-key bass

Luca Sisera-bass

Flo Goette-electric bass

Fredi Flukiger-drums, rain percussion

Chris Jager-percussion

Trixa Arnold-turntables

Stephan Thelen-guitar

Jan Schlegel-electric bass

Herbert Kramis-bass

Marco Kappeli-drums

Peter Scharli-trumpet on "The Rain Part II" and "Camel Dance"

Andi Marti-trumbone on "The Rain Part II"

Jurg Wickihalder-soprano saxophone

Chris Wiesendanger-keys on "Camel Dance"

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Artist Biographies:

"Trumpeter Russ Johnson is a recent Midwest transplant after spending 23 years as an important member of New York City's jazz community. He has 7 recordings as a leader or co-leader and performed on more than 75 recordings as a sideman. Russ has worked alongside many of the legendary figures in jazz including Lee Konitz, Steve Swallow, Bill Frisell, and Joe Lovano. In addition, he has recorded and/or performed with a long list of the most prominent musicians currently on the international jazz scene, including Myra Melford, Ken Vandermark, and Tony Malaby. Russ has performed in more than 40 countries across the globe. His groups have recently performed at the Chicago, Winter Jazz Fest (NYC) Hyde Park, (Chicago) and Bergamo, (Italy) jazz festivals.

His most recent recordings, Meeting Point (Relay Recordings) and Still Out To Lunch! (Enja Records) received 4 1/2 & 4 stars respectively from Down Beat Magazine and appeared on many "Best Recordings of 2014/5" lists including Down Beat, the Chicago Tribune, Chicago Reader, NYC Jazz Record and Magnet magazine. Russ will be releasing a new recording by his "Headlands" Quartet in 2017.

Russ is also active as an educator/clinician, having taught at colleges and universities across the U.S. and Europe. He currently serves as Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin Parkside where he won the university wide "Stella Gray" Teaching Excellence award in 2016."

-Russ Johnson Website (

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"Marco von Orelli was born and raised in Basel, Switzerland. He completed his musical studies at the University of Music and Theatre Winterthur Zürich (HMT) and the University of Music Basel, where he majored in trumpet and improvisation. Additional study programmes: Jazz, New Music (Neue Musik) and free improvised music. Furthermore he took study trips to Den Haag (NL) in 1997 and two years later to Vienna (A). Since 1997 Marco von Orelli occupies himself with composition. He has given Solo concerts (e.g. for the 20-year anniversary of the cultural magazine "Programmzeitung", for the "Global Landmarks Illumination Initiative" in Bern or for Basel's celebrations for being a part of Switzerland for 500 years in 2001).

Marco von Orelli has enjoyed success on stage with the street scene musical by Kurt Weill under the direction of André Bellmont, Werner Düggelin and Heinz Spoerli, as well as with acts such as the George Gruntz Workshop Big Band or with various orchestras like the basel sinfonietta, the Swiss Improvisers Orchestra, TOMMY MEIER - ROOT DOWN, musique brute or Marco von Orelli 5. He is playing in different styles and has been seen giving concerts at such established events as the Jazzfestival Willisau (CH), Jazz à Mulhouse - météo (F) or music unlimited 22 in Wels (A). In 2002 Marco von Orelli toured with the swiss Circus Monti (Music composed by Ben Jeger) and from January 2003 right to the end of 2004 he acted as live musician for the Theatre Puravida in Basel. Marco von Orelli is also known for his collaborations with artists like Flavia Ghisalberti (Butoh-Dancer), Sheldon Suter, Daniel Ott, Jan Schlegel, Christoph Baumann, Co Streiff, Frances Marie Uitti, Johan van Kreij, Béatrice Götz (miR Company), Peter Schärli, Tommy Meier, Omri Ziegele, Michel Wintsch, Christian Weber, Irène Schweizer, Paul Hubweber, Luìs Lopes, Marc Unternährer, Isa Wiss, Luca Sisera, Travassos, Carles Peris, Alex Huber, Frantz Loriot and many more!"

-Marco von Orelli Website (

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"Irène Schweizer (born 2 June 1941) is a Swiss jazz and free improvising pianist. She was born in Schaffhausen, in 1941. She has performed and recorded numerous solo piano performances as well as performing as part of the Feminist Improvising Group, whose members include Lindsay Cooper, Maggie Nichols, Georgie Born and Sally Potter. She has also performed a series of duets with drummers Pierre Favre, Louis Moholo, Andrew Cyrille, Günter Sommer, Han Bennink, Hamid Drake, as well as in trio and quartet sessions with others, including John Tchicai, Evan Parker and Peter Kowald. With Yusef Lateef, Uli Trepte and Mani Neumeier she performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 1967. One of her most enduring collaborations is with the improvising musician Rüdiger Carl (de)."

-Wikipedia (

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"Luca Sisera (b. 27/08/1975, Chur)

For a good 15 years, Luca Sisera has been a sought-after bassist in the Swiss jazz and improvisation scene. Musically, he likes to operate in the charged environment between composition and improvisation. He is frequently seen on stage at various festivals and jazz clubs across Europe in well over 100 concerts each year, whereby some tours and concerts have already taken him to Egypt, China and America. To date, he has been involved in over 30 audio releases, often produced in cooperation with Swiss Radio SRF 2. Most recently, Luca Sisera has also started working as a composer for his own quintet "ROOFER". As interdisciplinary projects have always interested him, Luca Sisera has also worked with authors, cabaret artists, dancers and visual artists, among others, as well as on theatre and film productions.


Plays and played with: Michael Jaeger, Yves Theiler, Silvio Cadotsch, Michi Stulz, VincentMembrez, Norbert Pfammatter, Urs Leimgruber, Sheldon Suter, Dario Sisera, Franz Hellmüller, Tony Renold, Isa Wiss, Carles Peris, Axel Dörner, Tommy Meier, IrèneSchweizer, Co Streiff, Peter Landis, Greg Osby, Chris Jaeger Brown, Valentin Kessler,Manuel Mengis, Tobi Schramm, Lisette Spinnler, Alex Hendriksen, Nadja Stoller, Oli Kuster,Marco von Orelli, Russ Johnson, Philipp Schaufelberger, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Reto Senn,Dave Gisler, Marc Halbheer, Christoph Irniger, Stefan Rusconi, Christoph Baumann, Valeria Zangger, Christoph Gallio, Alex Huber, Flurin Caviezel, Patricia Draeger, Albin Brun,Georges Kazazian, Bahur Ghazi, Sheila Runa, Jacinta Candinas, Andri Perl, Lukas Mantel, Guy Bettini, Fabio Martini, Alexander von Schlippenbach, Gerry Hemingway and many more"

-Luca Sisera Website (

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"Jan Schlegel was born in 1964. In the 1980s he attended the Jazz School Lucerne and completed studies in New York (Ken McIntyre). Since 1989 he has made countless appearances at home and abroad with various ensembles (solo to big band). At the center of his artistic work is free improvisation paired with composition, and this in the wider environment of jazz, contemporary music, rock to noise. A matter of the heart are the working bands such as "Objets Trouvés", "Noisy Minority", "Tresbass", "Cheap Farmer", the duo with Luigi Archetti, "Quittology", "Bass Quartet", among others Jan Schlegel is also a member of Ensemble Zampugn (Daniel Ott). Since 1990 he teaches at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences.

Cooperation with:

Gabriela Friedli, Co Streiff, Dieter Ulrich, Omri Brick, Peter Landis, Herbert Kramis, Marco Käppeli, Jürg Wickihalder, Yves Reichmuth, Nick Gutersohn, Manuela Keller, Roberto Domeniconi, Sheldon Suter, Natalia Sidler, Marco von Orelli, Urs Blöchlinger, Burhan Oecal, Martin Schlumpf, Lukas Heuss, Markus Schoenholzer, Oliver Schmid, Martin Gantenbein, Urs Röllin, Tiziana Jelmini, Claudio Lodati, Irene Swiss, Urs Voerkel, Ellen Christi, Tom Varner, Urs Leimgruber, Christian Wolfarth, Michael Griener, Christoph Thewes Fredy Studer, Saadet Türköz, Charlotte Hug, Christophe Dufaux, Simon Piccard, Daniel Studer, Herman Bühler, Claudia Binder, Marius Peyer, Lionel Friedli, Bruno Amstad, Hans Koch, Christoph Gantert, Urban Lienert, Hanspeter Pfammater, Susann Wehrli, Karin Ernst , Joke Lanz, Wu Wei, Ray Anderson, Toby Pingler, Christoph Baumann, Christian Weber, Peter K Frey, Lina Allemano, and others."

-Hochschule Luzern Website (Translated by Google) (

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"Jürg Wickihalder was born in 1973 in the little Alpine town of Glarus in central Switzerland. Unlikely as it may seem, in the '80s Glarus was home to a remarkable community of musicians and a lively jazz scene, where Wickihalder as a teenager already met such well-known musicians as Abdullah Ibrahim (Dollar Brand), Benny Bailey, or Ray Anderson. While still in high school in the '90s, Wickihalder commenced his studies in jazz composition and saxophone with Urs Leimgruber at the Jazz School Lucerne. In 1992, he moved to Boston, Massachusetts (USA), where he studied with Joe Viola and George Garzone at the Berklee College of Music and developed a strong and widely heard voice, particularly on soprano saxophone. After his return to Europe, Wickihalder continued to deepen his musical language by studying with American soprano saxophonist Steve Lacy in 2000 and expanded his knowledge of the art of great jazz composers such as Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus.

Since 1996, Wickihalder has mainly worked as the leader of his own groups performing his compositions. The Jürg Wickihalder Overseas Quartet (CD "Furioso," Intakt 153), the Jürg Wickihalder European Quartet feat. Irène Schweizer (CD "Jump," Intakt 194), and the Jürg Wickihalder Orchestra (CD "Narziss & Echo," Intakt 209). He regularly plays in duos with pianist Chris Wiesendanger (CD "A Feeling for Someone," Intakt 134) and Irène Schweizer (CD "Spring," Intakt 234).

BEYOND, a trio with Barry Guy on bass and Lucas Niggli on drums (CD "Beyond," Intakt 277) is Wickihalder's most recent project, receiving considerable critical acclaim.

Wickihalder tours worldwide and is a member of the Barry Guy New Orchestra (GB) and the Uli Gumpert Quartett (GER), among other groups. He is a winner of numerous awards, including composition and soloist awards from the Dienemann Foundation, made the dean's list at the Berklee College of Music, received the 18th Annual Student Award of the US music magazine Downbeat and has been performing and teaching as an official Selmer Paris Artist since 2006."

-Jurg Wickihalder Website (

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track listing:

1. Ogoni 6:51

2. The Forbidden Land 2:49

3. No Agreement 9:18

4. Camel Dance 4:00

5. The Veil 1:47

6. The Root 4:29

7. Across the Sands 2:48

8. The Bride 6:33

9. The Rain Part II 5:49

10. Jackals, Children, Everything 4:15

11. Invocation 2:55

12. Colonial Mentality 8:38

13. The Master 9:55
sample the album:

descriptions, reviews, &c.

"Tribal Drums, melodic bass pulse, dark swinging brass phrases and a short wild solo from Irene Schweizer: The opening of the new CD The Master and the Rain could hardly be more moving. It immediately comes back to you, that special taste of this music which had such an infectious effect already on the debut album by Tommy Meier Root Down. A taste of Africa and Jazz which grew out of grappling with a passion. In the black heart of a white Swiss. [...]"-Pirmin Bossart, from the liner notes

This album has been reviewed on our magazine:

The Squid
The Squid's Ear!
Related Categories of Interest:


Improvised Music
European Improvisation and Experimental Forms

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