seen on LKJ records' home-page:
Fizzé was born in Basel, Switzerland on 4 September 1952. Seeing Errol Garner in
concert and hearing jazz records at a young age made him curious about music and
he was enrolled in the conservatory in Basel for classical flute. In his early
teens Fizzé rented a Farfisa organ and set up a band with his friends. On his
father's Ultravox he recorded screeching doors and other noises to use as
background sound while the band played. Fizzé then discovered Eddie Boyd, blues
singer and pianist from Mississippi. He became acquainted with Boyd when he
played in Basel. Later Boyd returned to stay with Fizzé's family, visiting them
for the next four years and fuelling Fizzé's passion for the blues as he
accompanied Boyd on tour.
A festival in Zürich in 1968 brought Fizzé new musical experiences: John
Mayall’s Bluesbrakers, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Burdon, Traffic and The Move. In 1971
Fizzé went to Neuchâtel to finish school. He joined the conservatory with André
Pépin and graduated in 1973, as well as gaining a diploma in commerce. His first
job was in the record department of a shop. Fizzé started playing the guitar and
sax and, after being made redundant, began to organise concerts with groups such
as Gentle Giant and The Stars of Faith. At that gig he became aquainted with
organist Jerome Van Jones and yet more jazz. In 1976 Fizzé and the late jazz
drummer Denis Progin opened the club/ record store Jazzland where Fizzé
engineered and recorded all the concerts.
In 1978 Fizzé became an office clerk and then an advertising sales rep. He was
sent to Hong Kong, New Delhi, Saudi Arabia, Columbia, Ecuador, Spain, Tunisa and
other places and brought back many instruments, records and sounds. In 1981
Fizzé was asked to do the music for a local film. Working with drummer Gilles 'Dizzi'
Rieder from the avant garde band Débile Menthol, they recorded tunes by
designing instruments themselves or making tracks with kitchen utensils,
canalisation tubes and drills. The age of sampling was not yet born, so they
spliced and looped tapes.
Fizzé joined the band Code on keyboards in 1982. They took to the road and
played 80 gigs in three months. In 1984 Fizzé joined Débile Menthol in Hungary
as part of a cultural exchange. He continued to work as a sales rep and to
experiment with tracks, ‘building’ instruments, playing sessions, programming
synths and producing friends' work. In 1986 Fizzé set up his first 16 track
studio. He also
released his first LP Kulu Hatha Mamnua and founded the Mensch Records label. He released his
second LP Manoeuvres d’Automne a year later.
In 1987 Fizzé invited the reggae Heart Beat Band to record a maxi single with
him, but they hesitated because they knew he had no reggae experience.
Determined to learn Fizzé flew to Jamaica and met the late producer
W. 'Jack Ruby' Lindo who took him to Kingston’s Dynamics Studio to hear a Sly
and Robbie session, to meet musicians, buy records and to learn more. One evening in
Oracabessa, Fizzé was mesmerised by the extraordinary phenomenon of thousands of
fireflies. It was an inspiring moment that would be the start of a 12 year
exploration of a myriad of cultures. Eventually Fizzé also met Rico Rodriguez
who was to influence him greatly. Fizzé returned to Switzerland and recorded 3
tracks for Heart Beat Band, plus some of his impressions of Jamaica and its
firefly, the Peeni Waali . Fizzé returned to Jamaica in 1988
and recorded more music and overdubbed the rhythms he had prepared, working with
percussionist Leon 'Scully' Simms, Robbie Shakespeare, saxophonist Dean 'Big D'
Frazer, Leroy 'Horsemouth' Wallace and Felix 'Deadly Headly' Bennet . Fizzé was
hooked on reggae, loving its parallels with the blues but also its freshness.
Fizzé returned to Switzerland and worked in advertising for another two years
but Rodriguez often recorded for him. Jerome Van Jones visited and recorded Duke
Ellington’s Satin Doll and Blue Moon to
Fizzé's reggae lines. In 1989 Fizzé contacted Linton Kwesi Johnson and Dennis
Bovell and Beacon of Hope was born. Fizzé also met Lee Scratch
Perry who voiced one of Fizzé's tunes, rapping about Liecht (light) & Stein
(Liechtenstein was just over the border). Peeni Waali the album
was starting to take shape and it was released on his label in 1990, along with
the Linton Kwesi Johnson album Tings An Times .
Fizzé returned to Jamaica to get inspiration for a second Peeni Waali. In 1994
Steve Gregory and John Kpiaye from the Dennis
Bovell Dub Band put down some sessions, as did brass player Shirley A. Hofmann.
Rainer Rohloff, Stefan Kling and Tobias Morgenstern also added their talents.
Violinist Helmut Lipsky from Canada utilised his highly skilled classical
training on one track whilst Swiss hackbrett player Roland Schiltknecht added
his sounds to another. In 1995 Taj Mahal voiced on Fizzé's tribute to Eddie Boyd.
In 1996 Fizzé rereleased the CD Kulu Hatha Mamnua, a re-release
of his first two LPs. That year Georgie Fame played hammond organ on some of
Fizzé's tunes, along with Barbara Dennerlein. Qanun player Hossam Shaker from
Cairo band Sharkiat did some improvisation and Bolot and Nohon from Altai added
their throat vocals. 1996 was such a busy year for Fizzé that 6 CDs were
released from the work in his studio. By 1997 The Return of Peeni Waali
was ready for release. That year Fizzé also recorded the first solo album of
accordion player Tobias Morgenstern and Linton Kwesi Johnson's 20th anniversary
album More Time .
Most of sessions at Fizzé's studio included local friends: Cédric Vuille (ukulele,
clarinet, bass and guitar);Gilles 'Dizzi' Rieder (percussion); Momo Rossel;
Jean-Vincent Huguenin; Pascal Cuche's (milkpots, cans and other kitchen utensils);
Daniel Spahni (drums). All in all some 56 people accompanied Fizzé through Peeni
Waali. The final additions to new Peeni Waali tracks came in 1999 with sessions
from Eddie 'Tan Tan' Thornton, and violinist Johnny T., thus enabling Fizzé to
put out the third and final The Eve of Peeni Waali CD. Fizzé is
currently recording the first solo album of drummer Daniel Spahni and aiming to
release Roland Schiltknecht’s album. Over the last 13 years, running Mensch
Records independently has seen Fizzé spread his musical wings, giving him the
freedom to record a great variety of original music. He is passionate to learn
about all kinds of music and has recently started to work more and more with
native Swiss instruments like the alphorn, hackbrett, acordion, hornussen and
The idea to Peeni Waali was born out of a series of chain reactions and
coincidences. When Fizzé discovered reggae, its minimalist nature seemed at odds
with the opulence of his own musical background music. The earliest roots of the
project were in some of his compositions written during the 1980s after Fizzé
returned from Saudi Arabia, but he wasn't interested in the idea of 'world music',
preferring to emphasise the differences in cultural styles. Fizzé wanted to
bring people from different worlds - with apparently little in common - together
within one project, uniting many communities in order to understand different
visions, backgrounds, ethics; and together, leading the listener to the magic of
a music with energy, flexibility and humour. Peeni Waali is intuitive, with
collaborations that experiment and challenge. The sound of 'real' instruments is
complimented by technical mastery at the other end. Peeni Waali is original,
using reggae as a vehicle to travel on a voyage leading to unknown places, new
people and breaking the musical cultural isolation of Switzerland.
Fizzé's own recollection of his encounter with the firefly says it all: 'When I
saw the firefly first, I was puzzled by the phenomenom and kept asking people
what it meant to them. I also realised that it was one of the few animals people
would just leave in peace. I was told all kinds of pleasant stories how the
Peeni Waali was a good omen, like hope. I’m puzzled that so little is known
scientifically about that bug but fireflys exist all over the world. In Malaysia
they call it clip-clip. Fireflys also exist in the warmer parts of our country.
Yet, the species here doesn’t fly. We call it a glow-worm. However, it was
useful in building a concept for a musical project around a wonderful experience.'