Nicolas Masson Quartet, has been together since 2005 and features some of the brightest stars of the Swiss jazz scene, recognized for their unique sound as a band, blurring the lines between musical genres effortlessly. The band combines the long and challenging tradition of the jazz quartet and creates its own distinct sound in doing so. It has garnered wide recognition in its native Switzerland as well as abroad.
Nicolas Masson Quartet is:
Nicolas Masson, saxophone
Colin Vallon, piano
Patrice Moret, acoustic bass
Lionel Friedli, drums
Saxophonist and composer Nicolas Masson (b.1972) dived into improvised music at the deep end, at 20 encountering Cecil Taylor and Fred Hopkins in New York and subsequently studying with Frank Lowe and Makanda Ken McIntyre.
After finishing his studies at the Geneva Conservatory in 2000, Nicolas Masson moved to New York City, where he started and recorded his first band featuring Russ Johnson, Eivind Opsvik and Gerald Cleaver. He also studied steadily with the great Rich Perry and occasionally with Chris Potter and Greg Tardy. A leading figure on the Swiss new jazz scene, ECM recording artist Nicolas Masson has worked with a broad international cast of musicians including Ben Monder, Gerald Cleaver, Kenny Wheeler, Thomas Morgan, Kris Davis, Eivind Opsvik, Ted Poor, Mark Ferber, Russ Lossing, Susanne Abbuehl, Samuel Blaser, Colin Vallon, Gauthier Toux, Tom Arthurs, Bänz Oester & The Rainmakers, Otomo Yoshihide, Shinya Fukumori and many more. Nicolas Masson has released eight albums as a leader or co-leader for ECM, Fresh Sound, and Clean Feed record labels. He is also active as a photographer, producing many portraits and personal works, which have been the subject of several album covers for ECM Records.
Nicolas Masson teaches saxophone and improvisation ensembles at the Conservatoire Populaire de Musique, de Danse et de Théâtre and at AMR in Geneva.
After studying classical music for 2 years Colin Vallon (b.1980) took classes with jazz pianist Marc Ueter at the age of fourteen. He enrolled at the Swiss Jazz School when he was 18 and studied with Silvano Bazan, William Evans, Manuel Bärtsch and Bert Joris.In 1999, he founds the Colin Vallon trio with Lorenz Beyeler on double-bass and Raphaël Pedroli on drums; in 2004 it released his debut-album « Les Ombres ». In January 2005, the trio opens the Swiss Diagonales Festival with New-York guitarist Kurt Rosenwinkel. 2005, he forms a new trio with Patrice Moret on double-bass and Samuel Rohrer on drums and records « Ailleurs » published in 2007 by HatHut Records. «Rruga» the third recording of the trio is released in 2011 on the prestigious international Label ECM Records. In 2012 drummer Julian Sartorius replaces Rohrer in the trio.Colin Vallon won the Fridl-Wald Foundation Prize, 1st Prize in the Competition Nescafé Let’s Jazz Together, and 3rd Prize in the Montreux International Jazz Piano Solo Competition. In 2004 Pro Helvetia commissioned a composition by him and he founded a new quintet, « Colin Vallon cinq » with french trumpet player Erik Truffaz. In 2008 he won the Nico Kaufmann Foudation prize and in 2009 the SUISA foundation prize. 2009 the Colin Vallon trio won the Pro Helvetia high priority jazz promotion. He is nominated for the 2016 Swiss Music Prize and in 2017 he receives the « Prix de la Relève du Canton de Vaud ». Since 2009 he is teaching at the Bern University of the Arts.
Patrice Moret (b.1972) he has been rocked by gospel since his earliest childhood. He discovers jazz and contrabass at 21and began professional studies at the Conservatoire de Montreux.
Very quickly, heplays in the bands of Malcolm Braff, Matthieu Michel and Erik Truffaz. Since then he has played with many famous musicians such as Tom Harrell, Ben Monder, Jojo Mayer, Uri Caine, Ted Poor, Ben Perowsky, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Lionel Loueke, Gregory Maret, Ellery Eskelin, Harthur Blythe, Eric Legnini, Rich Perry. In 2005, he started the trio with Colin Vallon with whom he will travel the world and record several albums on the ECM Label. He also collaborates for several years with Elina Duni 4tet, who also works with the ECM Label.
Patrice Moret has been teaching at the Bern University of the Arts since 2006.
« Révélation » Jazz Magazine
« Travelers is both another potential modern masterpiece for the label, and the album that should rightfully bring the same international attention that Masson and his band mates so deservingly enjoy in their native Switzerland. Simply put: Travelers is an album not to be missed. » - All About Jazz
« This album is staggering in its depth and clarity (...) of a lyricism so raw that it splits your spine. » - Le Temps
« Masson's music is deliberate, even consciously slow in its development, because it is a music of discovery first. There are no unnecessary flights of fancy, and the group-think sound serves to underscore the ambiguities in the hearts of Masson's tunes -- they are possibilities, not ends in themselves. The music on Travelers is committed, focused, democratic. It uncovers its secrets slowly, but offers the listener a singular experience in discovering and absorbing them. » - AllMusic
« Swiss saxophonist Nicolas Masson is a discreet and thoughtful musician who leads his boat and his music with virtuosity, sensitivity and an incredible feeling in various formations. Between introspection and improvisation, he explores barely written music, built on climates and atmospheres. » - Le Courrier