The award-winning pianist/composer/bandleader Sebastien Ammann (born and raised in Geneva, Switzerland) is a modernist inevery sense, some might even say an avant-gardist. Like the Shepherd’s Tree found on the African continent, Ammann has extremely deep roots. While in Geneva, Ammann performed with internationally known artists such as Maurice Magnoni, Stefano Saccon, Jeff Baud, Béatrice Graff, Manu Hagmann, David Meier and Rafi Schilt. Early in his career, he also became an effective leader and conceptualist, leading his band “Schwytzromand Formula,” which brought together two musicians from the German part and two musicians from the French part of Switzerland, as a way to erase the language barrier.
While in New York in 2008, he studied privately with Jacob Sacks, Marc Copland, Fred Hersch and Garry Dial. Further studies with David Berkman, Antonio Hart, Michael Mossman and Howard Brofsky earned him a Masters degree in Jazz Performance from Queens College in February 2011. During his studies, Ammann was awarded the Sir Roland Hanna Fellowship award in recognition of special achievement, and quickly, “forged collaborations with saxophonist Caroline Davis, reedist Ohad Talmor and trombonist Samuel Blaser.” – Bill Meyer, DownBeat Magazine. Ammann is the leader of the Sebastien Ammann Quartet featuring the aforementioned Talmor, bassist David Ambrosio and drummer Eric McPherson (their first album, Samadhi, on Freshsound/New Talent, 2013.
Mr. Ammann is a member of Gene Ess’ Fractal Attraction, Nick Biello Sextet, Jake Leckie Quartet, and has collaborated with musicians and projects such as Kris Davis’ Massive Thread, Tony Malaby, Billy Drewes, Le Zhang Quintet, Mark Ferber, George Schuller, The Gary Douglas Band, Dana Leong, John Hébert, Sean Conly, Michael Sarin and many others. He regularly performs in venues and festivals all over the USA and Europe.
The centerpiece of Sebastien Ammann’s career is as the leader of Sebastien Ammann’s Color Wheel, a band featuring some of New York City’s most compelling and fearless artists, saxophonist Michaël Attias (Renku, Anthony Braxton, Paul Motian), bassist Noah Garabedian (Ralph Alessi, Ravi Coltrane, Andrew D’Angelo) and drummer Nathan Ellman-Bell (Michael Formanek, Uri Caine, Dave Douglas, Brass Against).
Ammann and co. proudly announces the release of their second album, Resilience, available on Chris Speed’s Skirl Records March 20. The band’s first album, Color Wheel (Skirl Records, 2017) was
very well received by numerous publications in both the U.S. and internationally, including DownBeat Magazine, where Bill Meyer
said, “he makes music that balances accessibility with rigor,” and Something Else! which proclaimed the album was a vehicle for,
“Ammann’s bracing and transcendent compositions that opens up wide both the plotted improv spigots.”
On Resilience we find ourselves listening to a group of five musicians who have become quite close since performing and recording together for many years. And, you can hear their camaraderie in the music. Ammann elaborates, Color Wheel has been together since 2012 and the members have become close friends; outside of Color Wheel, we’ve played in many different bands over the years. This is important to me, working with people I can trust. These musicians have a wide range of musical colors and approaches they can use. As my music is informed by a wide spectrum of influences, I need people who can navigate complex written material as well as wide open improvisation.” Ammann’s goal with Resilience was to compose pieces that each had their own distinct identity, while showcasing the musicians and their singularities. “With some compositions, like Yayoi and Untangled,
the emphasis is on form, while with others, such as Aylan Kurdi and Resilience, the focus in on a certain feeling. Pedestrian Space is an example of working on texture within a frame, thinking in terms of mass. We also cover two tunes that I’ve been playing a lot over the years, Afterthought by my friend Dave Scott (trumpet), and King Korn from the album Turning Point by Paul Bley, who has been one of my favorite pianists after listening to his album Open To Love in my early twenties. While composing the music for Resilience I was thinking about ways to convey specific information to the musicians while giving them freedom to interpret it in a variety of ways, expressing their personalities. This has been my new focus while writing music,” said Ammann.
Recorded by Michael Perez-Cisneros and Alex Haley on June 11, 2018 at Big Orange Sheep (Brooklyn)
Produced by Sebastien Ammann and Jake Leckie
Mixed by Jake Leckie
Mastered by Alan Silverman at Arf Mastering (New York City)
Compositions by Sebastien Ammann (except “King Korn” by Carla Bley and “Afterthought” by Dave Scott)
Design by Karlssonwilker Inc.
A native of Switzerland, Sebastien Ammann has been active on the New York City since 2008 as a pianist, composer and
educator. He is the leader of the Sebastien Ammann Quartet and Sebastien Ammann’s Color Wheel as well as a sideman with projects including the Nick Biello Vagabond Sextet and the Jake Leckie Quartet....more