Continuing a bold new era of productive collaboration, pianist-composer Sylvie Courvoisier will debut her second new ensemble of the year — Poppy Seeds — on a tour across Europe in November 2024, performing new music written especially for this quartet. The New York-based group includes musicians new to her work: Patricia Brennan on vibraphone and drummer Dan Weiss, in addition to bassist Thomas Morgan (who recorded with the pianist as part of her hit quartet co-led by violinist Mark Feldman). The Swiss-born Courvoisier — whom The New York Times described as “a pianist of equal parts audacity and poise” — designed the band around a double-keyboard sound that she grew to love after having created a recent evening-length work with pianist Corey Smythe showcasing her arrangement of Stravinsky’s Le Sacre du Printemps and her own piece Spectre d’un Songe.
“I love playing with any two keyboards, which I define to include the vibraphone for Poppy Seeds,” Courvoisier explains. “I love the thickness of the paired sound, and the harmonic richness and attractive dissonance that can be achieved. My very first band — Ocre— actually included a barrel organ — I used to spend months creating graphic scores and punching cardboard barrels to replace the traditional barrel pinnings for that. Through this process, I discovered and came to appreciate the mistakes in the punches that could emerge, resulting in minor seconds, dissonant resonances. That’s how my journey into the sonic world of double keyboards began. Later, I recorded a duo album with the pianist Jacques Demierre, and then my recent project with Cory Smythe on Le Sacre du Printemps and my own Stravinsky-inspired Spectre d’un Songe deepened my fascination with the sound of two keyboard instruments.”
Although the lineup of piano, vibraphone, bass and drums has been familiar to jazz fans since at least the Modern Jazz Quartet, Courvoisier and company will be exploring fresh possibilities. She has found something of a kindred spirit in Patricia Brennan, as the vibraphonist also has a background rooted in both improvised and classical music. Along with recording under her own name, Brennan has worked with such notable figures as Michael Formanek, John Hollenbeck and Vijay Iyer. Thomas Morgan has been one of the most in-demand bassists in progressive jazz over the past decade and a half, having recorded with Bill Frisell, Paul Motian, Jim Black, Jakob Bro and Tyshawn Sorey, among many others. As both a leader and a sideman, drummer Dan Weiss is a top virtuoso on the New York scene, releasing diverse, widely acclaimed albums featuring his own bands (from trio to large ensemble) along with collaborating with such figures as Miles Okazaki, Ohad Talmor, Rez Abbasi, and Rudresh Mahanthappa.

Courvoisier herself has been going from strength to strength for years. Along with interpreting the music of composers from Stravinsky to John Zorn, she leads a forward-minded jazz trio with bassist Drew Gress and drummer Kenny Wollesen. Her two-decade partnership with Mark Feldman yielded a seemingly telepathic duo, as well as a lauded quartet. She has also pursued ear-opening collaborations with such avant-jazz luminaries as Wadada Leo Smith, Evan Parker, Ikue Mori, Ellery Eskelin, Susie Ibarra, Fred Frith and Mary Halvorson. As NPR’s Kevin Whitehead has said: “Some pianists approach the instrument like it’s a cathedral… Sylvie Courvoisier treats it like a playground.” — Bradley Bambarger

Line Up

Sylvie Courvoisier, piano
Patricia Brennan, vibraphone
Thomas Morgan, acoustic bass
Dan Weiss, drums




01.11.2024  travel to Europe
03.11.2024  BERLIN/Germany - Haus der Berliner Festspiele / Main Stage
07.11.2024  BADEN/Switzerland
15.11.2024  NEUBURG a.d. Donau/Germany - Birdland Jazz Club
16.11.2024  return home


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