daniel schläppi «dimensions»

contemporary chamber music

dimensions live
(2 cds, 2007)


CD 1
1 three little words (h. ruby, b. kalmar) 10.13
2 invention 1 (d. schläppi, j. bucher, c. vallon) 2.55
3 the meaning of the blues (b. worth, b. troup) 10.57
4 out of the city (j. scofield) 8.41
5 invention 2 (d. schläppi, j. bucher, c. vallon) 3.56
6 une rose en hiver (c. vallon) 11.19
7 you’re welcome (d. schläppi) 6.39

total time 54.40

CD 2
1 sing me softly of the blues (c. bley) 11.11
2 invention 3 (d. schläppi, j. bucher, c. vallon) 2.01
3 three little words (h. ruby, b. kalmar) 9.16
4 2300 skiddoo (h. nichols) 8.31
5 invention 4 (d. schläppi, j. bucher, c. vallon) 2.44
6 i should care (s. cahn, a. stordahl, p. weston) 7.56
7 just one of those things (c. porter) 11.36

total time 53:15

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1 just one of those things (c. porter) 7.33
2 besame mucho (c. velasquez) 7.08
3 you and the night and the music (a. schwartz, h. dietz) 5.45
4 you’re welcome (d. schläppi) 5.33
5 i fall in love to easily (s. cahn, j. styne) 5.08
6 moon and sand (a. wilder, m. palitz, w. engvick) 7.05
7 very early (b. evans) 5.54
8 just the blues (c. vallon) 5.30
9 bird food (o. coleman) 3.30
10 tea for two (v. youmans) 6.19
11 old devil moon (b. lane, e. y. harburg) 6.24
12 turn out the stars (b. evans) 6.46

total time 73:16

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Daniel Schläppi (b, comp)

Jürg Bucher (ts, ss, bcl)

Colin Vallon (p, comp)






Press release


contemporary chamber music



During more than a decade of collaborating in different exiting jazz projects Daniel Schläppi (b, comp) developed from a reliable sideman and creative soloist to a singular band leader who perfectly understands to just assemble those people who know how to adequately translate his musical ideas.

Schläppi made a groundbreaking start in 2002 with the quartet «voices» wich only plays originals and stars some of the most promising newcomers in the Swiss jazz scene. For his new project «dimensions» he again was able to win two extraordinary musicians in Jürg Bucher (ts) and Colin Vallon (p). The astounding pianist Colin Vallon reveals at only 22 years a masterful technique, an already amazing artistic maturity and a wealth of musical ability of expressing himself. Jürg Bucher is the outstanding aesthete among Swiss saxophonists concerning his culture of sound and his improvisational logic.

Schläppi functions as the metric and harmonical brace and links his two individualistic fellow musicians to an organic whole with his well placed and deep bass lines. While Bucher and Vallon take off for their soloist high-altitude flights Schläppi provides for the necessary adhesion as the stabilizing influence. On this solid foundation «dimensions» creates improvisational arches of a rare span with an unfailing feeling for agogic dynamic intensifications and with an almost instinctive interplay. Even without drums the band never falters. On the contrary, «dimensions» lives on unconditional «groove» even in their tonal materiality. The trio creates an absolutely breathtaking swing with their uncomparably throbbing drive whether they play ultra fast, extremely balladlike or in odd metres.

Thanks to brilliant craft, concise communication and a sphere-like airiness which can’t be found too often in jazz «dimensions» manage to do without narcissistic amorousness of technique and artificial complexity. Bucher, Schläppi and Vallon on the contrary convince with a rare balance of melodiousness and risk. The trio thus revives old standards and defines its own approach to jazz tradition. The fresh and tasteful band advances unerringly to artistic essence and explores the utmost capillaries of the musical fluid with a sleepwalking security. When «dimensions» transcends known songs into a higher state, the band all the same sounds as stringently as if it interprets coherently composed music. The repertoire consists of seldomly heard but all the same catching classics and covers a field defined by Ornette Coleman and Bill Evans as exponents of most different jazz styles.






Press reviews


«Leaving the audience breathless

Budd Kopman, All about Jazz / US, 21.04.2008


«The very fine ‹Dimensions Live› is the second release from the band led by bassist Daniel Schläppi, which contains saxophonist Jürg Bucher and pianist Colin Vallon, the first simply named ‹Dimensions› (2003). Schläppi has also released ‹Forces› on which he joined forces with Vallon, trombonist Nils Wogram, and teamed up with guitarist Tomas Sauter on the delightful ‹Indian Summer›.

This double CD release was recorded at the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club in Basel, Switzerland on two successive nights, and mixed and mastered by Jan Erik Kangshaug at the famous Rainbow Studio. The sets are a mixed bag of standards, modern tunes, originals and group improvisations that allow the band to shift gears and provide variety and surprise for the audience.

The standards, ‹Three Little Words› (done twice), ‹The Meaning Of The Blues›, Sammy Cahn’s ‹I Should Care› and Cole Porter’s ‹Just One Of Those Things›, are the longest tracks because the tunes are used as the basis for arrangements that nevertheless feel as if they can go anywhere depending on the vagaries of the moment. Repeating ‹Three Little Words› allows us to peer into the nature of the arrangement and see those sections that are prepared and those that arise naturally.

The modern tunes include a rousing and driving version of John Scofield’s ‹Out Of The City›, Herbie Nichols’ ‹2300 Skiddoo›, which must be a nod to Bucher since his own band has put out ‹The Music of Herbie Nichols› and which demonstrates how underrated a composer he was. Carla Bley’s ‹Sing Me Softly Of The Blues›, provides the band with a vehicle on which to stretch out and bring her patented wit to the fore.

As a trio, ‹Dimensions›, although led by Schläppi, feels like a cooperative in that each voice and musical personality can be heard within the music. While Schläppi does solo, he functions (admirably) as the glue and provides each tune’s pacing, balancing between the foreground and background. Bucher is as smooth as silk, with a full soft-edged tone that invites the listener to follow his well thought out solos. However, since his is the only pure single-line instrument, he is not heard as much as his band mates.

Special notice must be taken of Vallon. On ‹Forces› it was apparent that he quite naturally could take over the record, without sounding pushy or overbearing. The same happens here and his first notes burst with energy and incisiveness. His musical thoughts flow out naturally, as if they had been worked out, but always create tension since they are completely unpredictable. The highest compliment can be made by comparing Vallon to pianist Jean-Michel Pilc.

With the group improvisations acting as aural palate cleansers, the second set ends with a magnificent version of ‹Just One Of Those Things› that brings ‹Dimensions› to a rousing close, leaving the audience breathless.»




«Trio without drums

Bieler Tagblatt, 11.04.2003, Kultur: Music Scene


The Bernese are not said to be very ‹quick›, and bass players are considered to be born sidemen. Both clichés are not true for Daniel Schläppi.

Tom Gsteiger

Bernese bass player Daniel Schläppi sets into higher gear again. At the beginning of this year he introduced his quartet ‹voices› – the eponymous CD, which is also highly praised by Swiss ‹Jazz Pope› Peter Rüedi, is available on Brambus – and now he thrusts into the ‹4th dimension› [the group's original name, ds]. Thus Schläppi calls his trio which is completed by Colin Vallon (piano) and Jürg Bucher (sax). Last September this group hit the studio – their first album is scheduled to still appear this year. And now they receive their babtism of fire playing a concert in Biel.

It would be wrong to see Schläppi's formations as shots in the dark, on the contrary they are the logic result of a tedious time of ripening. Schläppi made the transition from rock-jazz to jazz and from electric bass guitar to double bass with whose pleasurably purring world of sound he familiarized himself autodidactically. With the group Twice A Week he walked the colourful paths of fusion on both sides of good taste, with the still working Stevy von Wattenwyl Trio he discovered the fascination of straight-ahead grooves without frills.

An ideal completion

Thinking in contrasts now defines his work as a band leader. The quartet ‹voices›, where two saxophone players Jürg Bucher and Domenic Landolf) who ideally complement each other, are urged forward by a driving rhythm team (Schläppi and the drummer Domenic Landolf), now faces with ‹4th dimension› [original name of the group, ds] a trio which focusses completely on transparency and intimacy. The quartet is without doubt Schläppi's more ambitious group; also the repertoire which consists of originals and ‹instant compositions› points to this. All the same one should not underestimate the trio: It is true that the program mainly consists of standards - from ‹Great American Songs› to compositions by Bill Evans or Ornette Coleman - but they are played with such a high degree of melodic grace, empathy and good taste that we immediately forget that we have listened to these songs in countless other versions.

Schläppi & Co. do not invent jazz anew, but they pass in review some of its most beautiful chapters in their own, tremendously inspired versions. The happiness of an inspired moment can be felt by both the group and the listener more than once.»




3. BeJazz Winterfestival – Saturday Night

jazz’n’more, 03/04.2004


«Daniel Schläppi babtized with his trio ‹dimensions› his first CD. This drumless formation once more proved in a impressive way the opening possibilities that are created by the lack of the usually dominant pulse giver. Very groovy and rich in facets.»




«daniel schläppi ‹dimensions› knew to please with gems

Wochen-Zeitung für das Emmental und Entlebuch, 31.12.2003


For about a year the Bernese bass player Daniel Schläppi has been touring with his project ‹dimensions›, a trio which consists next to Schläppi of the pianist Colin Vallon and the saxophonist Jürg Bucher. ‹dimensions› is a band who made generous gifts to a small audience in the Sumiswald parish house - and this in the form of a virtuously played chain of gems, a cleverly arranged repertoire of seldomly heard standards and worth while hearing originals.

Daniel Schläppi holds the compositions together with his precise and melodic playing and gives them a constant and pleasant grip. The tenor saxophonist Jürg Bucher for his part convinces with his warm tone and the ever exciting melodic arcs. The only 22 years old pianist Colin Vallon from Yverdon finally is not simply a talent - here is the promise of one of the great talents. What this man manages to express with just a few notes, how virtuously he improvises in his solos: He aims for the heart and carries it away! On the stage ‹Büni› there were three musicians performing who are on the one hand marvellous experts and who on the other hand hit it off together and complement each other perfectly.»




daniel schläppi «dimensions»

Beat Blaser, jazz editor at DRS II in Apéro-Special on 16.01.2004


«One instrument of melody, one for the harmonies and one to provide the basement, - that is all to make wonderful music. And if in addition the three musicians playing these instruments are such experts like the following, nothing can stop the fun. […]

These kind of compositions have had a long tradition in jazz: songs in which tenor saxophone and bass introduce the theme an octave apart. Most of the time they are by bass players who thus want to prove their dexterity, one thinks of Oscar Pettiford or Sam Jones. The same is true for this song: it was written by a bass player by the name of Daniel Schläppi, he is from Bern and introduces his trio with his new CD. It consists of a saxophonist, a bass player and a pianist, and Daniel Schläppi has invited two colleagues to the studio who rank among the best in this country. The tenor player Jürg Bucher, also from Bern, convinces with his soulful sound, the ease of his phrasing and his wealth of ideas. Keen observers of the home grown jazz scene have paid attention to him for a long time, as a member of the Martin Streule Big Band and especially because of his interpretations of the compositions of piano eccentric Herbie Nichols. Piano player Colin Vallon can safely be called the shooting star of 2003. He was born in 1980, went to Swiss Jazz School not so long ago and is now the young pianist most in demand. […]

Burton Lane's song ‹Old Devil Moon› was called ‹champion stuff› by his co-composer Harold Arlen. And indeed it develops a magic as rarely any other song. It is no wonder that the song is chosen very often, also by young musicians, because it offers some harmonic obstacles which makes inexpert musicians fail. This doesn't happen to bass player Daniel Schläppi and his colleagues though, they have already learned their lessons.»





Nick Liebmann, jazz publisher at Facts and NZZ , 19.03.2004


Independent young Swiss jazz, this is a pleasure: The Bernese double bass player Daniel Schläppi who already more than once drew attention with his inventive concepts, de-composes with his drumless trio standards in a stimulating way, among them the seamingly simple Besame Mucho and Tea For Two. The arrangements with their unexpected changes and unusual patterns not only allow Schläppi to shine as a soloist. The tenor saxophonist Jürg Bucher proves to be an inspired and meticulous worker, and the only 23 years old pianist Colin Vallon is just sensational. He swings like the devil and always lands on his feet unscathed after his adventurous rhythmic flights.»




«Melodies and ostinati

Der Bund, 26.01.2004


Tom Gsteiger

The ‹contemporary chamber music› of the formation ‹dimensions›, founded by bass player Daniel Schläppi, which is completed by Colin Vallon (piano) and Jürg Bucher (tenor saxophone) seemed like a radical counterproject of Christop Stifel's battle of matériel. Schläppi & Co. dispense with pompous ambitions, they prefer to explore the timeless elegance of wonderful themes, among them such evergreens as ‹Tea for Two› or ‹Besame Mucho›, but also Vallon's ‹Une rose en hiver›. By their renunciation of a drumset the invention of stereotypeless lines of melody comes to the fore. […] All things considered the specialists in subtlety prove a high degree in calm and poise. The inspired pianist Colin Vallon who in his solos takes flight in a similar way as Brad Mehldau may be regarded as a truly captivating enrichment.»




The three musicians of «dimensions»

Berner Zeitung, 26.01.2004

«improvise in a classical way and are free from the constraint to shatter a theme or a rhythm. Therefore there are no unnecessary notes, no uncalled for studies.»




«Standards heard in a new way

Der Bund, 22.01.2004


Tom Gsteiger

The standards are played in such a high degree of melodic gracefulness, empathy and sense of taste that one immediately forgets to have listened to these songs in countless other versions. Schläppi & Co. do not invent jazz anew, but they pass in review some of its most beautiful chapters in their own, tremendously inspired versions. The happiness of an inspired moment can be experienced by both the group and the listeners more than once.

The tail ender of the wonderfully unexcited CD ‹dimensions› is the magistral composition by pianist Bill Evans: ‹Turn out the Stars›.»




Concerto / A, 01.2004

«A stupendous workmanship and the feeling […] red wine and music by three first class musicians to listen to in candlelight.»




«Transparent depths

Christoph Fellmann, «Live», calendar of events of the Aargauer Zeitung, Nr. 36, 2004


If there is no drummer in a band the bass player will become the important time keeper. It is impressive what the bass player Daniel Schläppi does with said position in his trio ‹dimensions›. Completely unexited he holds together the chamber jazz of this formation, his playing seems tender and at times almost laconic and yet it is of an enormous drive and full of subtle desire for freedom. […]

Schläppi trusts in such old-fashioned virtues as interplay, melodic inventiveness and solid composition. And in the strength of his sidemen. He has a great and powerful melodist in his group in the person of saxophone player Jürg Bucher, and, with young Colin Vallon a rhythmically and improvisationally versatile pianist who knows all the tricks of the trade and understands to play incredibly cool and hot at the same time.

The CD ‹dimensions› (published on Brambus this spring) thus sounds like the work of a longtime and tight group who swings and grooves, but who also is easily able to dig into the transparent depths of their own compositions and of those belonging to others.»




«Daniel Schläppi and his ensemble electrify with extraordinary jazz

Zofinger Tagblatt, 29.09.2004


Sunday night Daniel Schläppi on bass, Colin Vallon on piano and Jürg Bucher on tenor saxophone took the hearts of their audience by storm and offered a unique jazz concert.

The band leader and bass player Daniel Schläppi, well known among musicians, has found a captivating pianist in the person of Colin Vallon and a tenor saxophonist as fast as sure in his sound in Jürg Bucher. The three of them unerringly and perfect on their instruments worked on a body of sound which became more complete and wider with each song. The pianist, an almost withdrawn Colin Vallon got the best out of the piano with his long pianist's fingers, the very talented tenor saxophonist Jürg Bucher was devoutedly attached to his instrument. And Daniel Schläppi convinced at the bass as well as a sideman as a soloist. With utmost concentration he made an instrument not so profoundly known sound in all its sonority.

Virtuosity without bragging: the understatement of the trio was kept during the whole show. […] Everything sounded so easy, even carefree and made one forget the hard work which all the same was invested in repetition and interpretation.»




www.jazzwelt.ch, 05.05.2004


«Thanks to their brilliant craft, concise communication and their spheric ease which is rarely met in contemporary jazz ‹dimensions› manage to do without narcissistic infatuation of technique and studied complexity. On the contrary, Bucher, Schläppi and Vallon convince with a balance of melodiousness and risk. Thus the trio breathes new life into old standards and defines its own approach to jazz tradition in this way.»




Claude Delley, Director Suisa-Stiftung, www.swissdisc.ch, 19.10.2004

«This CD proves that Swiss jazz hasn't said its last word yet. That it may still give us many such surprises.»




Bob Blumenthal, writer Marsalis Music / US, 18.07.2003


«Your material represents a high level of musicianship and creativity.»




www.cream-magazine.ch, 02.2004


«Bass player extraordinaire and perhaps the best in Switzerland, Daniel Schläppi brings his trio and their irresistable swing sounds to the Schiffbau as part of the Moods Jazz program. Working from their new cd, dimensions, the trio revives old standards and defines its own approach to jazz with ‹brilliant craft, concise communication and a sphere-like airiness›.»




the bird‘s eye jazzclub, program round-up 04.2005


«Drumless but no less charged with tension this creative and mature trio creates its very own ‹dimensions›. In well chosen, beautiful standards and some originals the masterfully and aesthetically improvising Jürg Bucher and the always surprising, strongly expressive and substantial Colin Vallon know how to translate Daniel Schläppi's rich musical visions in a unerring and delightful way and how to incite each other again and again to improvisational flights of fancy.»




Budd Kopman, All about Jazz / US, 08.2007

«Terrific playing.»