Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Solothurnmann, Juerg

Solothurnmann, Juerg, tenor saxophone, alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, musicologist; b. Zuchwil/SO, Switzerland, 22 April 1943.

Grew up in the town of Solothurn. First instruments: were accordion, piano, banjo and marching drum. Parents brought him in touch with Swiss folk music. First music Swiss folklore then classical and then dixieland jazz/boogie woogie.1963 was the start of studies at the University of Bern, first with the aim to become a college teacher (history and German literature). Visited a broad range of courses in art history, pedagogy, psychology and increasingly musicology (Arnold Gering, Sandor Veress). Chose a new direction in the late 60s: musicology (accent on ethnomusicology), modern history and journalism. At the same time (1968-72) he took saxophone and jazz theory courses at the Swiss Jazz School. From 1972-74, he did his studies at Indiana University in Bloomington/IN with David Baker (jazz) and George List (ethno.).

1979 Diploma (lic.phil.I/M.A.) in Bern in modern history (Beatrix Messmer) and (ethno) musicology (Sandor Veress). He is a music journalist for newspapers in Bern (including Der Bund until the early 80s), has taught at public schools including1966-69 teacher for German and history at the state gymnasiumin Solothurn. Until 1986 active also as a private saxophone and improvisation teacher. Since the 70s active as a guest lecturer with Jeunesses Musicales Switzerland, at local Volkshochschulen (adult education) in various Swiss towns and at the ETH (Swiss Techniological Institute) in Zurich. Guest courses also for Afro-American literature and history at the Conservatories of Zrich and Winterthur, the Institutes of Musicology at the Universities of Bern and Zrich and the Music Academy G. Dima in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). He had a regular teaching position for jazz history at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern until 1986. He has made educational TV broadcasts on jazz, gospel music etc. Since1969 he has done jazz programs for  Swiss National Radio DRS (German language network). Since the mid-70s he performed with blues-jazzrock- and salsa bands, later with his own jazz ensembles Uepsilon (1976-84), S.A.H. (1985), Alpine Jazz Herd (1982-94), First Aid Band I, II & III (1985-92), At the Crossroads (1988), Agasul Orchester (since 1990) Raw & Cooked (1992-96), Sound & Space, a duo with Ian Gordon-Lennox (founded 1996), The Magic Triangle (founded 1995), a project with Harry Tavitian and Corneliu Stroe (the Romanian avantgarde duo Creativ); Live According To E.E.Cummings  (compositions and improvisations based on poetry) with Ellen Christi.

He combines contemporary jazz and Swiss folklore. Since the early 80s, he's done concerts and tours in CSSR, France, Germany, Italy, Romania, Russia, Sweden and Switzerland. He has performed with Don Cherry, John Tchicai, John Fischer, Tony Scott, Ellen Christi, GySrgy Szabados, Karoly Binder, Ekkehard Jost, Bernd Konrad, Dieter Glawischnig, Vinko Globokar, and Han Bennink. Since the early 80s he has collaborated with actors, documentary filmmakers and painters/performers. He is co-founder and longtime board member of the Musiker Kooperative Schweiz (MKS) and the Interessegemeinschaft improvisierte Musik (IGIM) in Bern. 1986-94 member of one of the committees of the SUISA (Swiss Union for Music Rights).

In 1986 he realized The Assimilation of National Folk Music into Contemporary Jazz with groups from various countries. In 1992 he organized and directed the Swiss-Spanish Jazz Festival at the Swiss Pavillon within the World EXPO Sevilla. Co-founder of "Musik der Welt in Bern" in 1994/95.He founded Unit Records in 1983, a musician-owned label. Director till 1991. He won the Zurich Radio Award 1988. - Big Music Prize 1996 of the Canton Bern. In 1992 he organized and directed the Swiss-Spanish Jazz Festival at the Swiss Pavillon within the World EXPO Sevilla. From 1993/94, he was initiator and co-organizer of the Jazz Meeting Bern/Lausanne in order to bridge the Swiss language barriers. He was a board member of the International Jazz Federation (IJF) and associate editor of the Jazz Forum, the Warsaw based magazine if the IJF until its folding 1993. Until, 1986 he was active also as a private saxophone and improvisation teacher. He's done Private classical saxophone studies with Iwan Roth (Basel). Since the 70s active as a guest lecturer/teacher for jazz history and improvisation with Jeunesses Musicales Switzerland, at local Volkshochschulen (adult education) in various Swiss towns and at the ETH (Swiss Techniological Institute) in Zrich. Guest courses also for Afro-American literature and history at colleges.

He's been a guest teacher at the Conservatories of Zrich and Winterthur, the Institutes of Musicology at the Universities of Bern and Zrich and the Music Academy G. Dima in Cluj-Napoca (Romania). - Regular teaching position for jazz history at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern until 1986. He presented research papers at symposiums for jazz research and music sociology in Darmstadt, Giessen, Graz, Budapest, Warsaw, Norkjoping and Ascona. - Musicological publications in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. For his activities as a music mediator and musician he was given awards by the cantons of Solothurn and Bern and the town of Bern. - Zrich Radio Award 1988. - Big Music Price 1996 of the Canton Bern. He's co-founder of "Musik der Welt in Bern" in 1994/95, a concert association dedicated to extra-European music, the remnants of old European folk and the new (partially improvised) folkmusic. 

Recordings:
Uepsilon:  Head in the Clouds; Alpine Jazz Herd:  Swiss Flavor; Urs Blchlinger:  Don't Call Back We Let You Know; First Aid Band; Alpine Jazz Herd: Alpine Two; John Fischer: Swiss Radio Days IV; Agasul Orchester: No Turning Back

Bibliography:
Translation of jazz method books by David N. Baker (USA) and Graham Collier (GB).
Musicological publications in Switzerland, Germany and Austria.
1979 Diploma (lic.phil.I/M.A.) in Bern in modern history (Beatrix Messmer) and (ethno) musicology (Sandor Veress).

Contact information:
Hallwylstr. 32 CH-3005
Bern, Switzerland    
Tel  +41-31-351 27 03 
+41-31-388 91 11  
Fax +41-31-388 95 20
Juerg.Solothurnmann@SRDRS.SRG-SSR.ch

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