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Jazz lovers Archive of Swiss jazz biographies goes online

Swiss musician Bruno Spoerri uses a sphere in his Zurich practice room to make computer assisted jazz


More than a decade ago, veteran Swiss jazz and electronic musician Bruno Spoerri and various collaborators began a labour of love, crafting an encyclopaedia of jazz in Switzerland. Now, some of it is available online.

The 81-year-old Spoerri, a Basel-born saxophonist who in March won the 2017 Swiss Jazz Award, provided the Swiss National Sound Archives with about 1,000 biographiesexternal link of past and contemporary jazz musicians in Switzerland, the Swiss National Library said on Thursday.

The biographies were researched and written as part of the encyclopaedia, which was carried out as a research project at the Lucerne School of Music from mid-2002 to mid-2005. It represents a new research tool to benefit musicologists, musicians, researchers, musical pioneers and jazz fans alike.

Aural history

Spoerri, who brought bebop and cool jazz to Switzerland in the 1950s, began researching electronic music in the mid-1960s. He developed his own instruments to combine with his saxophone, and used them to compose pieces for advertising, documentary and feature films. He also played in many bands.

More recently, Spoerri prevailed in a court case accusing Jay Z, one of the United States’ most successful hip hop artists, of illegally using a 1978 music sample in the rapper’s latest album Magna Carta Holy Grail.

For his encyclopaedia, Spoerri edited the biographies to help tell the history of Swiss jazz from 1920 to today. The biographies were included in a CD-ROM that accompanied the book and that also contained a discography of Swiss jazz.

A synthesised history

Pioneering musician rewinds over 50 years of creating electronic sounds. Saxophonist, jazz musician and composer of film music and jingles for ...

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