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Christoph Irniger's Pilgrim Quintet

  • Bird and Beckett 653 Chenery Street San Francisco, CA, 94131 United States (map)

The quintet Pilgrim, founded by Zurich based tenor saxophonist Christoph Irniger, has become over the years one of the most exciting ensembles in modern European Jazz. After the highly praised group’s latest vibrant live album, Big Wheel, Pilgrim presents now their fourth recording, Crosswinds. On this gorgeously considered, but luxuriantly open new recording the quintet uses ambiguity as a tool. Some compositions are freely improvised, while others are completely notated, yet most lie in between, with an elasticity that reflects a life of freedom, where informed choices are made spontaneously. The accompanying soundtrack oscillates between enigmatic reflection and wild eruptions, although the band creates a dense, all-round sound which is hard to categorize.

Noting the many surprising turning points in Pilgrim’s music, In Crosswind’s liner notes, veteran jazz critic Peter Margasak writes: “On Crosswinds Pilgrim expresses the incomprehensible—the ineffable—but it the quintet does so with ravishing beauty, humanity, and tenderness. Irniger and his bandmates have developed a richly contemporary sound that melds ideas from some of the most harmonically advanced thinkers in the US with a distinctly European flavor heard most explicitly“.

Dave Gisler - Guitar
Stefan Aeby - Piano
Raffaele Bossard - Bass
Michi Stulz - Drums
Christoph Irniger - Tenor Saxophone

The five members of the group, which was formed in 2010, come from different parts of Switzerland. They also play in various other groups, throughout the world, and already in their short careers they have had the opportunity to play with and be taught by jazz greats such as Dave Douglas, Nasheet Waits, Dave Liebman and Joey Baron.

The group’s versatility, its clever approach of dealing with contrasts and its full sound make it a group to take into account internationally.
— Henning Bolte, London Jazz News
Earlier Event: August 11
Preservation Hall Jazz Band
Later Event: August 13
Smith Dobson: Jam Session