Christian Wolfarth

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An avant-garde jazz drummer based in Switzerland, Christian Wolfarth is mostly known for his work in the trio (sometimes quartet) Momentum with John Wolf Brennan and Gene Coleman. A finesse player and…
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An avant-garde jazz drummer based in Switzerland, Christian Wolfarth is mostly known for his work in the trio (sometimes quartet) Momentum with John Wolf Brennan and Gene Coleman. A finesse player and a skilled free improviser, Wolfarth belongs to the same category of drummers as Paul Lytton and Ramon López. He has performed and/or recorded with Franz Aeschbacher, Donat Fisch, Christoph Gallio, Alex von Schlippenbach, Hans Koch, Philippe Micol, and Jürg Solothurnmann. His first solo album, titled 3-3-2, came out on Gallio's label Percaso in 1996.

Born in Zürich in 1960, Wolfarth first dreamed of becoming a gourmet chef and he actually studied the art of cooking between 1976 and 1979, at which point his father's passion for jazz brushed on him. After trying the guitar and the bass, he settled for the drums and moved to Bern to enroll at the Swiss jazz school. He spent most of his apprenticeship with Billy Brooks who introduced him to the local jazz scene. By the mid-'80s his focus turned to improvisation and in the early ‘90s to composition. That second interest prompted him to study with Siegfried Kutterer and Pierre Favre. Meanwhile he began to compose music for dance, collaborating with dancer Nina F. Schneider in particular. Involved in Bern's avant-garde music scene he was on the executive committee of the WIM (Workshop for Improvised Music) from 1991 to 1995, a period during which he released his first album, a set of duet with Franz Aeschbacher. A short tenure in Gallio's trio Day & Taxi in 1994-1995 led to the release of 3-3-2 a year later (Wolfarth sat in for a few more gigs again in 1999-2000). All this time, his reputation remained for the most part confined to his native country. It took Swiss-adopted pianist John Wolf Brennan to bring his playing to an international audience. Brennan, Coleman and Wolfarth's first CD Momentum came out on the British label Leo Records in 1998 and was followed by two more discs and a number of concerts.