Samuel Blaser is a 21st century trombonist. The foundations of Blaser’s art are the breadth of his influences, his technical fluency, and the clarity with which he applies these assets.
Born in 1981 in the town of La-Chaux-de-Fonds, Swizterland, he emerged professionally after graduating from conservatory in 2002. During the next five years he developed associations with the Vienna Art Orchestra and the European Radio Big Band, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, pursued graduate studies at the Purchase College Conservatory of Music, State University of New York, and recorded his first album as a leader, the Samuel Blaser Quartet’s 7th Heaven (Between The Lines). Since 2009 he has been based in Berlin.
He grew up learning classical and Swiss folk music as well as jazz, and his projects include jazz-informed investigations of operatic, rock stead, and blues music. He understands that growth is relational, and has sought out and sustained relationships with veteran and senior musicians, such as Pierre Favre, John Hollenbeck, Gerry Hemingway, Marc Ducret, Paul Motian, Oliver Lake, and Daniel Humair, all of whom have helped him to develop his own sense of who he is. He exercises the full range of the trombone’s possibilities, including fluid melodic statements, emphatic rhythmic punctuations, earthy interjections, and abstract sound effects, with a clear sense of purpose. He approaches each endeavor as a leader and collaborator with a clear sense of purpose, knowing what he wants to accomplish and what each musical situation requires from him. Blaser’s responsiveness is never more evident than in his solo performances, which use his bold sound to draw out the qualities of both architectural and environmental settings.
In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced all musicians to suspend touring. But Blaser’s response illustrated another aspect of his resourcefulness. While he was off the road, he set up an internet label, Blaser Music, which issued its first four releases during the spring and summer. And as soon as Europe began to reopen, he returned to the stage, playing concerts with Samuel Blaser Quartet, Humair Blaser Känzig, and as a sideman for Michel Portal and Marc Ducret.