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TOMAS SAUTER "The Faraway Nearby"
new textures in jazz


Domenic Landolf – tenor sax
Luzius Schuler – rhodes
Daniel Schläppi – bass
Kevin Chesham – drums
Tomas Sauter – guitar
 


Press release:

Guitar player TOMAS SAUTER has been drawing some attention with exceptionally inspired compositions for quite a while now. He even achieves to make the new and strange sound familiar. If you become engrossed in his music, a mystic veil of exotic beauty will enthrall you. The songs captivate discreet subtlety, they are well-rounded, perfect in form and let you
forget that they make highest demands formally, metrically and harmonically. Sauter is a magician of
motives and melodies, but he’s also a sorcerer of grooves who knows how to interweave composition and improvisation in a singular way.

"Magic Carpet" signifies inspired composer Tomas Sauter unrolling, with his compositions, the red carpet for dancing with a top-notch quartet of accomplished European musicians. High-flyer DOMENIC LANDOLF on saxophone and clarinet sails off as a prima ballerina, a real ingenious mind
and astounding improviser. It is a real pleasure and a spectacular and lasting experience to immerse
one's self in the flow of ideas of this jazz dervish. The duos of clarinet and guitar are paired together in an enchanting beauty. Further aboard there is the vigorous drummer JULIAN SARTORIUS. His stylistically-appropriate handling of forms, grooves and dynamics have made him a sideman in demand with many formations of high repute. His authentic antipode and driving aggregate of this section is bassist DANIEL SCHLAEPPI who creates a solid basis and also sets his marks as a soloist. This companion of Sauter of many years has already drawn attention as a leader of his own groups – a bass player who understands how to bring himself into the music.

Among this illustrious circle of musicians Sauter acts as „primus inter pares“. The captain distinguishes himself with his elegiac solos as an unpretentious storyteller, never straying from a compositional idea, but developing it into intricate dimensions and drawing strong images with unequivocal statements, free from slush and stereotype.

The Norwegian master engineer Jan Erik Kongshaug made the final touches to the recordings.
"Magic Carpet" is a marvel and unadulterated melodiousness.

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TOMAS SAUTER "DOUBLE LIFE"

Ralph Alessi -trumpet
Luzius Schuler -keyboards
Tomas Sauter -bass
Dominik Burkhalter -drums


Groove Reloaded

You only live twice … Half a century ago this used to be the slogan with which movie trailers were advertising the eponymous James Bond classic. At the same time Joe Zawinul joined up, on Fender Rhodes, with the band of Miles Davis who was about to start his second or third life as a trend setting artist playing his trumpet through effect devices. The electric bass was recently established in jazz music and the era of fusion music was launched. One could say that all this is ancient history but some might argue that it should nonetheless not be forgotten about. Because despite the vast mass of jazz productions in present time jazz only few artists are able to emerge from the shadows of jazz icons. And only a very small circle of artists is capable of catching people’s attention through authenticity and musical personality, in the echo of the great traditions.

Without any doubt Tomas Sauter belongs to this illustrious circle of artists. A gifted composer, interpreter and guitarist who attracted the attention of the audience with stunning records over the past years and who created a remarkable body of work.
The silent worker is a guarantor for great music and sets a distinctive counterpoint in the gimmicky jazz business. And all of a sudden he breaks in on bass with a profound double life!

… and twice is the only way to live! Maybe the more significant afterthought of the old Bond slogan reveals the secret of true artistry: To be able to choose what one wants to do because one has the skills and the potential to allow full bent to one’s penchants and to put the sheer enjoyment of creativity above career management.
Sauter turns his amazing multiplicity into musicality of rare ease and he changes the instrument like a chameleon changes color. He is a musician to his very fingertips driven by his passion to play music.

Licence to play … Bass is quite a world apart from guitar. Sauter’s odyssey into unknown territory could have easily become an aimless journey with a bad ending, if he were not a true musician who is able to find the right place and a pertinent part in every musical context. Despite his skills as a virtuoso guitar player Sauter immerses himself in the role of the bass player in his new quartet, supporting the music and at no time pushing himself to the fore. At the bottom of things and on the pulse of events Sauter is noticeably comfortable in his new role as a motor of the band and accompanist. Whatever he touches becomes music.

All boss on bass, Sauter composed all the music of his new album and manifests that totally different music emerges when it’s thought from a bass player’s perspective. His tunes flow from the magic of musical modes and distinct three-dimensional bass patterns of which the guitar acts as the model for a source of inspiration. Added to this there’s his smooth touch on the instrument and a velvety, earthy and growling sound which would be good for every full time bassplayer to aim at. Following the footsteps of the likes of Paul Jackson or Darryl Jones Sauter provides a bass foundation on which his band instinctively does everything right to evoke the good spirits of „Bitches Brew“. They, in the best sense of this tradition, create a brilliant music which pulverizes our listening habits. Considering how little there is left from the last five decades from the crossover of rock, pop and jazz music towards a vast pile of badly aged fusion music, such an up to date picking up with the past testifies a profound sense of musicality.

That’s one reason for Ralph Alessi to totally lift off on „Double Life“. Alessi is the trumpet player of the moment and not just since his much appreciated ECM debut as a leader. It means something that he should joins in and plays as a sideman of a European bandleader who records is making an album on his secondary instrument. And how he does it is literally dazzling. From his first phrase in „Heat Conversion“ one goes to the floor to be given the count slowly and finally being counted out. In general there must have been a good mood at the recording session for Alessi to be enticed to play a few takes on electric bass, his former original instrument. What came out are some intriguing spontaneous duets with Sauter. And besides that, one learns that his substitute bass sounds as good as number one...

Two unjustly unknown musical personalities round out the astounding quartet: When „Double Life“ was recorded young Luzius Schuler was still in his Master’s program at the arts academy. Nevertheless he deeply impresses the listener by his terrific improvisations, melodic flights above modal grooves and his commanding comping. It’s simply impressive how a newcomer displays so much inspiration and serenity on a studio session alongside a crack like Ralph Alessi.

Dominik Burkhalter established his reputation as being one of the first addresses for crisp beats in countless bands and also in his own projects as a leader. With the heart of Bernard «Pretty» Purdie and the technical skills of Marvin „Smitty“ Smith Burkhalter as usual impresses with his powerful precision, crazy beats and reckless fills. What sometimes sounds like spastic stumbling is revealed as risky drum stunts with careful listening. That’s how he creates delicate crazy drumbeats which only John Travolta at his best guided by Tarantinos puppet strings could put on the dance floor.

Groove reloaded would be the category of style for the album „Double Life“. Like a never ending big stream this music pulsates, fizzes and meanders through emotional worlds. It lets us space out and descend in thoughts to finally vanish in ethereal space. That’s what dance music for the future sounds like. It’s a mixture between over-chilled electronica and heart-melting sing along choruses which would honor the „Bee Gees“. The music is played with a nonchalant jazz attitude, improvised on the spot with open ears for pleasant surprises and with sublime awareness for collective sound.



TOMAS SAUTER/DANIEL SCHLÄPPI

contemporary chamber music

tomas sauter g, comp
daniel schläppi b


press release:

Highlight in chamber music
Creativity, innovation and musicality are trade marks of the duet by Tomas Sauter and Daniel Schläppi. The duo releases a veritable revelation with their debut CD «indian summer». Both artists have been established band leaders for years, now Tomas Sauter and Daniel Schläppi position themselves as a highlight in the European jazz scene with their duet.
With the production of «indian summer» two creative musicians met who have already become two unmistakable voices after years of intensive artistic development. While they both are authentic and of firm character as soloists, Sauter and Schläppi combine guitar and bass as two equal partners in their musical dialogue. This new casting breaks with established patterns and opens up new possibilities of interplay.

Tone quality in the twilight zone of jazz and classical music
Tomas Sauter and Daniel Schläppi brilliantly move in the twilight zone between jazz and classical music. Without denying their roots in jazz both musicians prove adeptly that conceptions of metrics, articulation and dynamics based on classical patterns may well hold their ground in comtemporary jazz and enrichen the new music with exciting forms of expression.
They combine composition and improvisation in an original way to create an equally authentic and innovative music which turns the boundaries between classical music and jazz fluid. Following this approach the two musicians hold an elaborated tone quality in highest esteem. This priority claim, rarely met with in jazz, explains why Sauter and Schläppi were able to have mastered their first recording by the world famous sound engeneer Jan Erik Kongshaug, the preferred engeneer of such a sound esthetician as Pat Metheny, at the «Rainbow-Studio» in Oslo. What a winner!

Intersection and vanishing point of artistic development
Over the last couple of years Sauter and Schläppi have developped a preference for accoustic micro-groups playing chamber music. With the duet of guitar and bass the two have found an essential instrumentation. Strung the right way, the two musicians make do with only ten strings to create relaxed moods, spontaneous intensifications, spheric worlds of sound and throbbing beats.
During an extended stay in New York Tomas Sauter studied with John Abercrombie. In addition he invested some time to write music and composed numerous great pieces. This material serves the duet as the foundation of their repertoire which has a lyrical basic mood. It offers the two musicians exactly the right combination of structure and open space. Thus Sauter and Schläppi distinguish themselves as specialists in melodiousness, subtlety and ease who find formal stringency even in long solos.

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Tomas Sauter/Daniel Schläppi/Jorge Rossy
Starkes Zeichen
Auf der ersten CD-Veröffentlichung mit Jorge Rossy seit seiner legendären Zeit im «Brad Mehldau Trio» ist der geniale Schlagzeuger im Trio mit Tomas Sauter (g) und Daniel Schläppi (b) zu hören, die sich beide als virtuose Instrumentalisten und kreative Bandleader in Europa seit Jahren einen hervorragenden Namen gemacht haben. Sauter und Schläppi haben unzählige Konzerte im Duo gespielt und mit Indian Summer (2006) und First Day in Spring (2011) zwei CDs herausgebracht, die von Publikum und Fachwelt euphorisch gefeiert wurden. Das Zusammenspiel im Trio mit Jorge Rossy klappte vom ersten Ton an wunderbar. Und auch im Verbund mit dem unvergleichlichen Rhythmiker bleibt die langjährige Arbeit im Duo spür- und hörbar. Alle Beteiligten lassen in dieser fluiden Musik ihrer künstlerischen Intuition freien Lauf, und so finden drei Persönlichkeiten zu einem umwerfend kompakten und eigenständigen Bandsound. Mit der CD Wonderland gibt die europäische Jazzszene ein starkes Zeichen an die Neue Welt.

Inspiriert und zeitlos schön
Dieses Trio lässt aufhorchen. Nicht nur wegen des beeindruckenden Spiels der drei Musiker, sondern auch wegen der erfrischenden und authentischen Kompositionen von Tomas Sauter. Seine Stücke sind bald druckvoll modern, bald von balladesker Leichtigkeit – immer aber eingängig und zeitlos schön. Der pulsierende Groove des Openers The Same But Not The Same ist inspiriert vom lebhaften Treiben im New Yorker Stadtteil China Town, wo Sauter längere Zeit gelebt hat. Im Morgengrauen verhüllen Nebelschwaden die Manhattenbridge mit einem dichten Schleier. Die Komposition Eos beginnt in dieser Stimmung. Doch bald klart es auf über dem East River, und wir spüren die Wärme der ersten Sonnenstrahlen auf der Haut.
Blue Demon II ist eine würdige Hommage an Gitarrengott Jimi Hendrix. Bereits im Intro evozieren raffinierte Flageolet-Ketten der Gitarre metaphysisches Gruseln. Der druckvoll treibende Drumbeat, die monochrome Basslinie und ein orgiastisches Gitarrensolo mit Reverse-Delay lassen alte Zeiten aufleben, als Musik und Drogen noch ein unzertrennliches Paar waren. Doch selbst vom wildesten Trip kommt man irgendwann herunter. Die feinfühlige, sensationell gespielte Ballade No Sleep Till Wonderland ist der ideale Soundtrack zum Wohlgefühl der Stunden danach.

Mit Zwischentönen ins Delirium
Den Titel First Day In Spring haben Sauter und Schläppi bereits für ihre gleichnamige Duo-CD aufgenommen. In der Trio-Version offenbart diese vollendete Komposition neue Facetten. In rein akustischer Besetzung werden auch leise Zwischentöne hörbar. Die luftige Atmosphäre des Stücks öffnet Raum für unaufdringliche musikalische Interaktion auf höchstem Niveau und gibt den Spielern Gelegenheit, ihren Ruf als Meister des Filigranen zu bekräftigen.
Kontrapunktisch wirken die darauf folgenden Miniaturen Crossing 1 und 2. Sie bringen den Augenblick zum Klingen, machen die Flüchtigkeit des Moments greifbar und kreieren intensive Stimmungen, bevor die CD Wonderland mit Bei 40 Grad Im Schatten zu ihrer paradoxen Klimax kommt. Von der Gluthitze in einem mexikanischen Provinzkaff gelähmt, kapitulierten selbst hartgesottene Gauchos vor den Mücken und dämmern unter mannshohen Sukkulenten dem Abend entgegen. Die Zeit steht still … und dann entführt sie ein magischer Slow Blues ins Delirium.
Diese Trance schärft die Sinne ‒ genau richtig für Crossing 3. In diesem Kabinettstück lässt Bassist Schläppi seinem musikalischen Ideenfluss freien Lauf und erkundet mit technischer Raffinesse und Eleganz die Höhen und Tiefen seines mehr als 200 Jahre alten Instrumentes. Stupende Soundtechnik macht den Atem des Spielers, die Finger auf dem Griffbrett, die unter der Hörgrenze gelegenen Vibrationen des Resonanzkastens und singende Obertöne hörbar. In jeder einzelnen Note wartet ein halluzinogenes Sinneserlebnis.

Als spielten sie Kinderlieder
Seinen eigenen genialischen Weg zu kollektiver Bewusstseinserweiterung ist auch John Coltrane gegangen, als er Ende der 1950er Jahre den bahnbrechenden Klassiker Giant Steps komponierte und damit nicht nur Tommy Flanagan, sondern ganze Generationen von Jazzmusikern ins Schlingern gebracht hat. Sauter hat sich jahrelang in dieses Masterpiece vertieft. Diese Arbeit klingt in seiner sophistizierten Reharmonisation Minor And Major Steps nach, die beim ersten Hören kaum mehr an die Akkordfolge von Giant Steps erinnert. Trotzdem passt sie perfekt auf Coltranes Melodie und lässt Sauter, Schläppi und Rossy in atemraubenden Tempo und doch vollkommen relaxt und leichtfüssig über diese komplexe Form hinweg fliegen, als spielten sie ein Kinderlied. Der Kontrast zu Piuki, einer melancholischen Weise über ein kroatisches 10-Seelen-Dorf, könnte nicht grösser sein. Sauter und Schläppi tragen die ruhige Walkingballade im Duo vor. Bei aller Intimität ist kein Bruch zu spüren, denn die Musiker bleiben der für die ganze CD charakteristischen Mixtur von Intensität und Entspanntheit treu. Der Bass übernimmt das erste Solo und setzt damit ein weiteres Glanzlicht auf dieser in allen Belangen schillernden Produktion.
Für den Ausklang bittet dann nochmals das Trio zum Tanz. Obwohl Sauter Petit Dance schon als zwanzigjähriger Jungspund geschrieben hat, ist es alles andere als ein Gesellenstück und zeugt im Gegenteil vom Potential des Komponisten. Die Nummer mutet an wie ein simples Volkslied, hat aber eine verzwickte Form mit verschlungenen Takt- und Harmoniewechseln. Vielleicht musste es deshalb 15 Jahre in der Schublade schlummern, bis es jetzt endlich von diesem hellhörigen Trio wach geküsst wurde.

Sound aus dem und Musik fürs Wunderland
Wie alle Produktionen, die das Label CATWALK bisher herausgebracht hat, besticht auch Wonderland mit hervorragendem Klang. Das erstaunt nicht, denn Tomas Sauter und Daniel Schläppi betreiben CATWALK in Eigenregie, und für die zwei Ohrenmenschen steht bestmöglicher Sound an erster Stelle. Die beiden sind nicht nur ausgewiesene Soundperfektionisten an ihren Instrumenten, sie machen auch bei der Wahl des Studios keine Kompromisse. Konsequenterweise wurde auch die neue CD wieder im Studio La Buissonne mit Gérard de Haro, bekannt von seiner Arbeit für ECM, produziert.
Musikalische Meisterschaft manifestiert sich im Jazz, wenn das Gehörte die handwerklichen Schwierigkeiten, die schwindelerregende Fallhöhe der Kunst im Moment und die Individuen hinter den Tönen völlig vergessen lässt. Zu solchem sind nur Musiker fähig, die sich nicht mehr als Hochleistungssportler oder Bürgerschreck beweisen müssen. Wahre Könner ordnen sich und ihr Ego der Stimmigkeit des Kollektivs unter und konzentrieren sich auf das Atmosphärische der Musik. Bei aller unaufdringlichen Virtuosität und Souveränität tut das auch dieses Trio von Tomas Sauter, Daniel Schläppi und Jorge Rossy in jeder Sekunde und entschwebt so in Dimensionen, wo ihm keine andere Kunstgattung Konkurrenz macht. Dorthin, wo ehrliche menschliche Emotionen darauf warten, geweckt zu werden ‒ ins Wunderland!



TOMAS SAUTER TRANCEACTIVITY

electro power jazz

Tomas Sauter - g, loops
Urban Lienert - b
Christoph Staudenmann - dr


Press release:



Findling – revelation of the year

And there suddenly appears before us, out of nowhere – like a Tarkowski futuristic movie – this “Findling”, year of manufacture 2011. Tomas Sauter, guitarist and composer, has created a landmark, an erratic, with this overwhelming CD: unchanging yet full of fluid and ethereal inspiration, so that the music, from the very first note, shatters the usual esthetic dimensions. “Findling” is no vestige from an extinct past, but rather a revelation of contemporary creativity. In his trio Tomas Sauter “Tranceactivity”, with Christoph Staudenmann on drums and Urban Lienert on bass, Tomas Sauter shows admirable ingenuity, feeling and knowledge, intuition and intelligence.


Versatility at the highest level

Tomas Sauter has appeared in a wide variety of musical projects over the last few years. Whether in a chamber music duet, trio or quartet in totally different contexts, we have always experienced Tomas Sauter as an inventive composer and exciting instrumentalist. He has internalized Villa Lobos, Hendrix, Metheny, Frisell and Scofield and studied with Abercrombie. His wide-ranging works prove that he who stands on the shoulders of giants can see further than the average. Tomas Sauter does not go with the flow, he molds it. In his hands, distortion pedals, ring modulators, wah-wah and bit crusher are transformed from pure noise sources to an esthetic approach – and our sound alchemist goes even further, he gets special effect devices made to measure for him according to his own plans.

On the experimental journey from the Precambrian era into the 21st century, low level passages, trashy Lo-Fi grooves, mutant clusters, booming distortion orgies pass by and cast their spell. Vertically layered loops, antagonistic rhythmical patterns and odd meters propel the music into an orchestral dimension. “Tranceactivity” sounds ancient and urban, baroque and sober, spiritual and groovy, timeless and modern all at once – and develops irresistible seduction.


High tension between ecstasy and contemplation

Very few bands can hold the balance between ecstasy and contemplation, and make up their minds for one side or the other. To tempt fate, to create the instant and then let it become their musical identity, is true art in jazz. In such passages one hears that the trio, who have long been enjoying cult status in Switzerland, have managed to create a unique sound universe in their fifteen years together.

Independently from the musical surrounding, Staudenmann beats out the most complex rhythms in an astoundingly obvious way and distinguishes himself as a sensitive sound craftsman, working with a select choice of gongs and cymbals. Lienert creates an earthquake-resistant foundation with a growling electro-bass and shifts the epicenter within the triangle with his subtle use of electronics. As a team, Tomas Sauter “Tranceactivity” captivates with lively interplay and commanding sound experiments – one of the most innovative bands of the contemporary jazz scene.