Franz Biffiger

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Franz Biffiger (born February 16, 1939 in Basel ) is a Swiss architect and jazz pianist .

Live and act

Biffiger received classical piano lessons from 1946 to 1956, first in Basel and from 1947 in Bern. He made his first jazz attempts in 1953 in the “Honky Tonk” cellar; as an autodidact , he founded his first bands ( Ragtime Hot Five , Cotton Pickers together with Peter Giger ). Between 1955 and 1959 he was (alongside Peter Candiotto and Marc Hellman ) a member of the Riverboat Stompers , which mainly dealt with the music of Duke Ellington (first in combo format, later also as a big band) and performed at the Zurich Jazz Festival (1956, 1959) . From 1959 to 1962 he led his own trio, which played modern jazz and performed twice at the Zurich Jazz Festival; In 1961 the first radio recordings were made with Bruno Spoerri . In 1962 he was on tour in Germany with Michel Robert and his Mr. Roberts Dixie Cats . While studying architecture at the ETH Zurich (until 1966), he founded a quintet (with, among others, Jürg Grau , Pat Neuburg and Kurt Schaufelberger), which also performed at the JazzAscona festival and performed pieces by Ornette Coleman . He also played in the quartet of Heinz Bigler , from which the all-star band "The Quintet" (with Umberto Arlati , Isla Eckinger ) emerged, which existed until 1970, performed at the Montreux Jazz Festival and went on tour with Johnny Griffin . In 1967, like the other musicians in this band, Biffiger became a teacher at the newly founded Swiss Jazz School . In addition, since 1968 he worked as a freelance architect with partners in the ARB working group; He also oversaw several jazz programs for Radio DRS . Between 1971 and 1974 he played a mixture of folk pop jazz and zappa with the ZUE band, then with the Orgon group (Jürg Grau, Albert Landolt, KT Geier and Kurt Schaufelberger) until 1978 . Until 1990 he was a member of the bands of Raymond Court and Robin Kenyatta (with Walter Schmocker and David Elias ) as well as the Red Hot Peppers , who also performed with international guests and took part in the Dixieland Jubilee in Sacramento in 1984. He also toured with Clifford Jordan and Sal Nistico and accompanied Sandy Patton .

In 1994 he became a member of the Directors' Conference of Swiss Jazz Schools, of which he was President from 2001 to 2004.

Discographic notes

  • Red Hot Peppers: Chicago-Blues-Dixieland Jazzmen (LP, Columbia, 1975)
  • Red Hot Peppers: Memories of Sacramento (CD, Souverän, 1985)
  • Sandy Patton Quartet: The Highest Mountain (Horn, 1995)
  • Friends 4 Friends A Family Affair (2008, with Sandy Patton, Weg Wüthrich , Michel Poffet , David Elias)

Book publications

  • Jürgen Wiegand, Franz Biffiger, Kurt Aellen Apartment Valuation System Bern 1991
  • Lore Ditzen, Thomas Keller, Franz Biffiger, Marco Schibig (Eds.) Arb: Photos, Essays, Catalog 1999


  • Peter Disch, Martin Steinmann Architecture in German Switzerland 1980-1990 1991
  • Bruno Spoerri , Biographical Lexicon of Swiss Jazz CD supplement to: B. Spoerri (Hrsg.): Jazz in Switzerland. History and stories. Chronos-Verlag, Zurich 2005, ISBN 3-0340-0739-6

Web links