Day & Taxi

The Swiss jazz trio Day & Taxi has been saxophonist Christoph Gallio’s main on/off project throughout the 1990s. Personnel changes have made it difficult for the unit to record (only three albums during the decade), but it enjoyed a certain popularity among avant-garde jazz fans in Europe, America, and Japan, as many international tours testify. The group’s compositions (mostly Gallio’s) make use of sparseness in arrangements to let the melodies flow freely (not unlike Steve Lacy), thus making the music accessible yet creative. Gallio formed Day & Taxi in 1988 as a quartet with saxophonist Urs Blöchlinger. He had just performed in bassist Lindsay L. Cooper’s ensemble Idiomix, for which Dieter Ulrich was the drummer. This lineup has not been documented on record and Blöchlinger soon quit, leaving Gallio at the helm. They gave a few concerts in and around Zürich, but at the time, the saxophonist was busy touring with his project, Certainty Sympathy (with Alan Zimmerlin and Matthew Ostrowski), so Day & Taxi remained on the ice for a couple of years. The unit was reactivated in 1991 for a tour of Switzerland and a recording session that resulted in the trio’s first album, All, released on its leader’s own label, Percaso. On the strength of its good reception (including words of praise from drummer Milo Fine in Cadence), Day & Taxi toured Russia and the Baltic States (1993) and was invited to about every Canadian jazz festival held during the summer of 1994. Gallio performed only a handful of concerts the following year under the trio’s name with Bruno Schneebeli (bass) and Christian Wolfarth (drums), but the unstable lineup brought its career to a halt. In 1997, the saxophonist re-formed the trio with Ulrich and a young Swiss bassist, Dominique Girod. After a few warm-up gigs to test the new compositions, the three of them recorded a two-day studio session that yielded two CDs, About (1998, Percaso) and Less and More (1999, Unit). The trio went on tour regularly for a few years, visiting the U.S. in 1998, Italy in 1999, and Russia and Germany in 2000, sometimes with Wolfarth filling in. By mid-2001, Gallio had completely revamped the lineup with bassist Daniel Studer (a regular sideman of Giancarlo Schiaffini) and drummer Marco Käppelli.

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