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Daniel Humair

Daniel Humair was born in Geneva, Switzerland on May 23, 1938. Humair played clarinet and drums from the age of seven and won a competition for jazz playing in his teens.

Paris has traditionally provided a Mecca for exiled jazz musicians - by the time he was 20 Humair was accompanying these visiting heroes from the drums. Most celebrated was a season with tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson at a club called Le Chat Qui Pèche. Humair became the drummer American musicians would ask to work with (despite a gig with the Swingle Singers in the early 60s).

In 1967 he played on violinist Jean-Luc Ponty's debut Sunday Walk (also contributing the title track). When alto saxophonist Phil Woods emigrated to Paris in 1968 it was natural that Humair should be the drummer in what Woods called the European Rhythm Machine.

In 1969 he won the Downbeat critics' poll as Talent Deserving Wider Recognition. Humair was so in demand that his job-sheet for the 70s reads like a list of the pre-eminent names in jazz- Herbie Mann , Roy Eldridge , Stéphane Grappelli and Anthony Braxton all availed themselves of his graceful, incisive drums. He played with Gato Barbieri on the soundtrack to Last Tango In Paris in 1972.

Welcome on Soul Note in 1986, a record which listed all members of the quartet as leaders, was a perfect demonstration of his warmth and responsiveness as a drummer. Cited by Nat Hentoff as a European 'who long ago destroyed the notion that European drummers can't swing' and also active as a painter, Humair continued to top drum polls in France into the 90s.

In 1991 Surrounded documented a selection of his work from 1964-87, including tracks with legends such as Eric Dolphy, Gerry Mulligan and Johnny Griffin - a neat way of giving Humair centre-stage and celebrating the breadth of his involvement with jazz history.


Liner Notes

Dino Betti van der Noot: Here Comes Springtime

Read "Dino Betti van der Noot: Here Comes Springtime" reviewed by AAJ Staff

There are some musicians whose instrument is the orchestra. They hear multiple voices, textures, harmonic designs. And if they are jazz composers, they hear the sweet and pungent tension between the orchestra and the improvising soloist. If, moreover, they are composers interested in more than self-gratification, they hear, as they write, particular players so that the ultimate scores reflect a range of individual personalities, each of them telling their own stories as well as that of the composer.

Multiple Reviews

Daniel Humair in the Lions' Dens

Read "Daniel Humair in the Lions' Dens" reviewed by Jeff Dayton-Johnson

Drummer Paul Motian is well-known for his “melodic" percussion, in which he skits and dodges arrhythmically, letting the guitars and saxophones mark the pulse of the composition. But for all the praise breathlessly--and deservedly--heaped upon Motian for this approach, the number of drummers who follow his example somewhere on this side of the free-jazz frontier, is relatively small. Swiss drummer Daniel Humair is one such example. Humair is too little known in the US, despite having worked with reed players ...

Album Review

Daniel Humair / Joachim Kuhn / Tony Malaby: Full Contact

Read "Full Contact" reviewed by Martin Longley

This transatlantic collaboration features the long-established partnership of Swiss sticksman Daniel Humair and German pianist Joachim K ühn, but the presence of saxophonist Tony Malaby further establishes the latter's fast-ascending status outside of the US. The reedman isn't blowing as belligerently as usual, tempted into exposing his softer side, his warm tone denuded of its lime-scale textures. The material is clearly composed, but in such a manner that much of the trio's interaction sounds completely improvised (there ...

Album Review

Daniel Humair: Baby Boom

Read "Baby Boom" reviewed by John Kelman

Trust drummer Daniel Humair, who has had more musical lives than the proverbial cat, to continue to reinvent himself by surrounding himself with a group of young players who are equally at home with both composed and free styles of music. Baby Boom unites Humair with saxophonists Matthieu Donarier and Christophe Monniot, bassist Sebastien Boisseau and guitarist Manu Codjia—all players who have only emerged on the scene in the past couple of years. But what they lack in years of ...

Album Review

Daniel Humair, Marc Ducret, Bruno Chevillon and Ellery Eskelin: Liberte Surveillee

Read "Liberte Surveillee" reviewed by Phil DiPietro

Here's one that has it all, including the package itself-so good here, I'll start the review with it. Fittingly recognized as part of the art presented, the case's brushstrokes on the cover are reflected on the discs inside. It features the best photos of musicians I've seen on an album this year, by Christian Ducasse, taken at Paris' Swiss Cultural Center during the run of shows that captured these beautifully recorded live performances. The back cover portrait of Humair makes ...

Album Review

Daniel Humair - Bruno Chevillon - Marc Ducret - Ellery Eskelin: Liberte Surveillee

Read "Liberte Surveillee" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

There’s been a lot of (positive) chatter about this recent release! Firstly, due to the superstar implications of the personnel and secondly for the sheer intensity and roaring firepower, witnessed throughout. Recorded live in Paris, this quartet owns up to its expectations! Daniel Humair has always been a highly regarded drummer within European jazz circles, while tenor saxophonist Ellery Eskelin and guitarist Marc Ducret’s legacies span multiple European and American modern jazz type endeavors. Moreover, Eskelin frequently tours abroad with ...

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The Daniel Humair Quartet plays the 2013 vintage of Château Palmer

The Daniel Humair Quartet plays the 2013 vintage of Château Palmer

Source: Sylvain Menard

Hear Palmer, already a habit, always a surprise... Since the 2009 vintage, Palmer reveals its new vintage in music. This year, the 2013 vintage was interpreted by the Daniel Humair Quartet. You can now enjoy the concert on Hear-Palmer.com. Palmer and jazz—A common philosophy. Like Palmer, jazz has deep roots, with a long history that has undergone many influences and inspirations and, while traditional, is always open to innovation. This respect for tradition is constantly enhanced by expanding its limits ...



Roberto Fonseca, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Daniel Humair, Michel Portal & Vincent Peirani perform at Souillac Jazz Festival this July

Roberto Fonseca, Renaud Garcia-Fons, Daniel Humair, Michel Portal & Vincent Peirani perform at Souillac Jazz Festival this July

Source: Erica Meltzer

The new jazz generation converges with its Afro-American roots this year at the Souillac Jazz Festival in southwest France, to be held from 15 to 21 July. SIX EVENING CONCERTS 16 July The Trio d'en bas will stage an entertaining and unusual spectacle in the Grottes de Lacave. 18 July The drummer Daniel Humair will lead his “Sweet & Sour” Quartet (double-bassist Jérôme Regard, saxophonist Emile Parisien [winner of the Jazz Academy’s 2012 Django Reinhardt prize] and accordionist Vincent Peirani ...



Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson, Daniel Humair-"Jazz Trio" Art of Life Records AL1017-2 CD Reissue

Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson, Daniel Humair-"Jazz Trio" Art of Life Records AL1017-2 CD Reissue

Source: All About Jazz

Gordon Beck, Ron Mathewson, Daniel Humair-"Jazz Trio" Art of Life Records AL1017-2 CD Originally recorded at Fontana Studios in Milan, Italy in January 1972 and subsequently released on the Italian Dire label on LP the same year. Art of Life Records is proud to make this long out-of-print recording available on CD for the first time ever! The 8-page CD booklet includes the original album cover artwork, photos and liner notes exactly as they appear on the original ...




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