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Reto Suhner

The saxophonist Reto Suhner performs in different Swiss and international formations, from Duo to Jazz orchestra. The unplannable moment of musical dialogue, which is based on improvisation, is important to Suhner. That’s where suspense is created, where new sounds evolve and stories are told.

Reto Suhner, born in Herisau, graduated from the Jazz School, where he studied with Carlo Schoeb and Lester Menezes. Additionally, he took workshops with Jerry Bergonzi, Art Lande, Ed Neumeister, Bela Lakatos and Julio Barreto – in 1999 he stayed in New York and took private classes with Dick Oatts, Billy Drewes, Rich Perry and Bob Mover. In 1998 and 2007 Suhner received the culture award of Appenzell Ausserrhoden. He gave concerts with Mats-Up, Zurich Jazz Orchestra, Swiss Jazz Orchestra, Lauer Large, Martin Streule Jazz Orchestra, Wolfgang Muthspiel's Large Ensemble feat. Ambrose Akinmusire, Guillermo Klein, Michael League/Bill Laurence, Scott Robinson, Noldi Alder, Colin Vallon, Lester Menezes, Johannes Lauer, Steffen Schorn, Rainer Tempel, Bert Joris, Spittin' Horns, Composers Collective, Adrian Frey Septet, Herbie Kopf’s U.F.O. and SWILIT, Pius Baschnagel’s Influences, Max Frankl Quartet, Controvento, Peter Eigenmann and Béatrice Graf.

He plays Alto, Straight Alto, Soprano, Tenor, C-Melody Tenor, Bariton and Bass-Saxophone, Piccolo, Flute, Alto Flute, Bansuri, Xiao, Dizi, Hulusi, Ney, Kaval, Eb Clarinet, Bb Clarinet, Alto Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Contra Altoclarinet, Duduk, Reed Trumpet, Theremin and Lumatone.

Horizontal is an album of two improvised solo sets from the Outdoor-Jazz Festival Moersburg Winterthur, It is also a comparison between the vertical concept of the meridians and the melodic horizontal line

The Reto Suhner Quartet has been giving concerts for 20 years nationally and internationally and has meanwhile recorded 8 CDs. That’s what the press says. The newest "20": in July 2019 we recorded 20 new tunes, produced by SFR2Kultur/Peter Buerli. In May 2020 the album came out on AnukLabel

The Reto Suhner Nonet was founded during an “Artist-in-Residence”-series at the Moods (Zurich). The formation has recorded their debut album in August 2012. The CD, the download and the double vinyl is here.

The Fabian M. Müller/Reto Suhner Duo exists since 2010. The recording "Schattenspiel" came out 2014. In August 2019 the second album "Am Grund" came out. Vinyl, CD and Download

"Multimulti" is a trio with Scott Robinson and Steffen Schorn. A lot of sound and soul.

While teaching I came up with the idea for the impro game. Play music!

Reto Suhner Quartet

Silence and Storm – “There are places, where the weather changes very quickly and surprisingly. In such places, you should always be on the watch, instead of believing the forecast of weathermen. Otherwise it can happen that you will be swept of your feet by a storm. The sound of the Reto Suhner quartet resembles an unsettled weather condition. When silence prevails, do not lean back: Maybe you are in the eye of the hurricane right now.” Tom Gsteiger

In its new line-up, the Reto Suhner Quartet is a relaxed mixture of adventure and control. Structures are created freely; space opens within existing songs. The band performs nationally and internationally.


The musicians

Reto Suhner- Saxophone

Philip Henzi- Piano

Silvan Jeger- Bass

Dominic Egli- Drums


Here's a picture, a poster and the press.

Open The Ancient Gates!

Reto Suhner is not a leader, who tries to control everything. On the contrary: He prefers to set creativity and interactive processes in motion. In other words: Reto Suhner values the grassroots democratic potential that is inherent to jazz. He says that for him it is not about reaching technical perfection, but to be surprised and inspired by the music.

For twenty years now, Reto Suhner sticks to the formation of saxophone, piano, double bass and drums. That's quite a common setting for jazz, but it also offers a certain degree of spontaneity and authenticity beyond what is considered the norm on jazz. Suhner does not pursue a concept as such. But it is obvious that it is important to him to combine timeless jazz virtues with a subtle form of subversion.

His inspiration derives from listening experiences and musical interactions. He is an admirer of the quartet of the saxophone player and jazz visionary Wayne Shorter, who in his breath-taking performances with his quartet combines tradition with mystery. In recent times, the cooperation with the odd and phenomenal multi-instrumentalist Scott Robinson had an impact on Suhner. This is apparent in the latest recordings of his quartet, when Suhner uses multi-levelled instrumental tracks quite effortlessly. With this, Suhner opens up a new perspective and a new terrain for this quartet; a bunch of new adventures certainly awaits this group of daredevils.

But it would be wrong to be too much from the essence of their music by this new timbre. Their essence lies in the simultaneity of agile and spontaneous manoeuvres and their seventh sense for long tension arcs. In other words: the quartet relishes the sweetness of the moment, but also cherishes the drama of duration. (Tom Gsteiger)

The new album Reto Suhner Quartet- "20" (Celebration of the 20th birthday!) is out since May 20, digital on 20th. 20 songs. More than 20 instruments. 

Produced with SRF2Kultur/Peter Buerli, recorded by Andy Neresheimer, mixed and mastered by André Pousaz, Graphic by Travassos. LP with Download-Card, Double-CD and digital available. Bandcamp

Thank you for the support Popkredit/Stadt Zürich, Kanton Zürich and Kanton Appenzell Ausserrhoden.

Reto Suhner Nonet

In 2009, during the „Artist-in-Residence“-series at the Moods, the Reto Suhner Nonet was founded; the band explores the alternation between opulence and stringency.

The warm brass sound is fascinating.

A record was made in August 2012 and released in 2013 by AnukLabel.

Here’s s a picture. And the press.

The Musicians

Adrian Pflugshaupt, Matthias Tschopp, Lukas Thöni, Mark Gebhart, Andreas Tschopp, Antonio Neilley-Menendez de Llano, Dominique Girod and Dominik Burkhalter.

Colors in Motion: Reto Suhner Nonet COLORS

Even inveterate enthusiasts of black-and-white-movies would not give up on colors in their „real“ life. Colors have a signalling effect. Colors stimulate the senses. Colors are enchanting. Colors are fascinating.

Music usually is invisible – but still we speak of acoustic colors. There actually are people who associate certain sounds with certain colors – the term for this is synaesthesia.

You do not have to be a synaesthete to experience the reviving effect of acoustic colors. Reto Suhner is no synaesthete – but still he has felt the urge to broaden his palette of acoustic colors. Until now, the saxophonist was accompanied on most of his own recordings (which are anything but monochrome!) by piano, contra bass and drums.

For his Nonet, Suhner adds six further brass players, but abandons the piano – and thus consciously creates a significant contrast between artfully arranged ensemble-passages and transparent- interactive passages, in which the enormously imaginative improvisations are accompanied by bass and drums only. 

Thus, an interplay full of suspense and surprise is created; an interplay between solid and fluid forms, between opulence and asceticism, and between graphic and abstract forms of painting with acoustic colors.

The presence of tuba and French horn reveals Suhners affinity for the music, which Gil Evans wrote for Miles Davis (parts of this music Suhner has interpreted as a member of the Zurich Jazz Orchestra). This affinity does not end in epigonality. First of all, Suhner uses his own material ( with one exception, he has had recorded all pieces before in a less orchestral context.) Secondly, he lets his intuition guide his arrangements. Suhner is convinced, that a certain level of incidence leads to more liveliness. To use the incidence creatively, one needs the will to take risks and a quick power of deduction. Suhner has often proven in his improvisations that he possesses plenty of these abilities. COLORS is his first master piece as an arranger.

Tom Gsteiger, April 2013

CD 25.-Sfr., Vinyl 40.- Sfr. plus Porto here.

Here's the digital download (paywhatyouwant).


Fabian M. Müller/Reto Suhner

The two Musicians from Appenzell perform freely as a Duo.

Reto Suhner and Fabian M. Mueller, both well-known protagonists of the Swiss Jazz scene, have attracted attention in different contexts. But especially with their longtime Working Bands RETO SUHNER QUARTETT and FM TRIO, they have developed a unique formal and structural play, which joins together written and improvised music on the highest level. As a duo, they not only play without a rhythm section, but also without scripted material. Everything is being developed out of the moment. Still these two exceptional instrumentalists do not create something out of nothing – but out of an endless stream of melodic ideas, which vary rhythmically and continue in long dialogues. Thus, the two musicians do not only reveal an uncanny instinct for harmonic progress, but they let their lines sink into silence as to give room to the pure sound of the instruments in minimalistic and noise-like sequences. 

The cd "Schattenspiel" released with the german label "BetweentheLines" is available.

In august 2019 the second album "Am Grund" is released by AnukLabel. Vinyl, CD and Download.


Improvised concerts with two fantastic heroes! Scott Robinson und Steffen Schorn!

Multi-instrumentalists Scott Robinson (USA), Steffen Schorn (DE) and Reto Suhner (CH) love the momentum in music. There resonances find each other, there they celebrate in balance and contrast ways of life.

All three play a lot of instruments, are leader and sidemen, play with dedication in ensembles and love to play free music and written stuff.