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Heiri Känzig has always played on the international stage. He accompanied the great bebop trumpeter Art Farmer at the age of 21 and recorded his first album with him. Countless renowned colleagues in Europe and the USA followed later. Känzig studied in Graz, Vienna and Zurich and has been one of the best bassists in Europe for years. He is a virtuoso technician whose sound and agility come into their own in a wide variety of contexts, from jazz and improvisation to world music. Heiri Känzig gained international recognition as the longstanding and resident bassist of the Vienna Art Orchestra, where he played for 16 years. As a sought-after freelance musician, he has recorded over 180 CDs and can be heard on renowned labels such as Blue Note, Verve, CBS, Virgin, Emi, ACT and ENJA.

He regularly plays and tours with musicians all over the world such as Bobby McFerrin, John Scofield, Pierre Favre, Lauren Newton, Billy Cobham, Charlie Mariano, Kenny Wheeler, Ralph Towner, Betty Carter, Daniel Humair, Bob Mintzer, Adam Nussbaum, NENA, Andreas Vollenweider, Gary Thomas, George Gruntz, Jerry Bergonzi, Mark Feldman, Didier Lockwood, Dieter Meier (Yello), Franco Ambrosetti, Richard Galliano, Geri Allen and Billy Hart.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Heiri Känzig founded his own quartet with Art Lande and Kenny Wheeler. Heiri Känzig was the first non-Frenchman to be appointed to the Orchestra Nationale de Jazz (France) in 1990.

This was followed by his own projects with Charlie Mariano, Paul McCandless, Christy Doran and Dominque Pifarely. He then became bassist in the Thierry Lang Trio, with whom he recorded seven CDs for the renowned American label Blue Note. The bassist received a great deal of attention not least with his "Tien Shan Switzerland Express", consisting of 22 musicians, which brought together different cultures from Central Asia, Mongolia and Switzerland. He was honoured with the Composition Prize of the Canton of Zurich for this project in 2005. 

Since 2006 he has been under contract with the renowned label ACT with the trio DEPART (Jojo Mayer and Harry Sokal). 

In 2016 he was honoured with the Jazz Prize of the SUISA Fondation.

His latest project Travelin' has been released by Universal Music and was included in the Blue Note & Verve Today 2021 compilation.

Heiri Känzig has played on all five continents and performed at renowned jazz festivals such as the North Sea Festival, Sidney, Mabuto, Vienna, Paris, Montreux, Molde, Munich and New York.

Kunzler's jazz lexicon describes Heiri Känzig as a "musician's insider tip who specialises in idiosyncratic but highly melodic lines".


Press reviews:

the most conspicuous of many good Swiss double bassists (Weltwoche Peter Rüedi)

despite his acrobatic capers, Känzig also impressed as a soloist with a tremendously secure intonation and full sound and resonance (Thurgauer Zeitung )

Argentinian mother, Swiss father, born in New York, stations in Vienna, Paris and Zurich: Heiri Känzig is a citizen of the world - and a world-class bassist (Hans Peter Vetsch).


...but the funky double bass player Känzig really is a discovery.(Jazzthetik Angela Ballhorn)

who can add the most complex grooves with such nonchalant, effortless virtuosity..... TZ Munich)

His bass work is brilliant, rhythmically irresistible and of an enchanting tonal finesse in the upper registers.( Mittelbayerische Zeitung )

and Heiri Känzig plays an extremely relaxed walking bass. (Kulturwoche Austria)

Kaenzig relishes the Mingus role, putting a deep groowl under every piece(Jazzwise UK)

the most virtuoso Swiss bassist.....(Blick )


.... Känzig is never content with the role of accompanist, but always actively shapes the music - he benefits from the fact that he can play very quickly without sacrificing sonority.

This was particularly evident in his long intro to "The Grace Of Gravity" - this grace of gravity refers to a peculiarity of the double bass - where he not only shone with full-bodied sonority and technical masterpieces, but also with formal sophistication: Instead of getting bogged down, he played around a few motifs so expressively that it was almost impossible to stop listening. l TOM GSTEIGER Landbote 11.12.09



2016 Jazz Prize of the Fondation Suisa


2014 Renewed SDC commission to put together an orchestra of Mongolian and Swiss musicians as musical director for the celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Mongolia and Switzerland. 

2006 Disque d'EMOI 2006 (CD of the year 2006 ; DEPART reloaded)Jazzmagazine, France

Composition Prize of the Canton of Zurich 2005 This year's composition commission from the cantonal government with a fee of 25,000 Swiss francs goes to the internationally active Swiss bassist and composer Heiri Känzig.

Composition commission from the SDC (FDFA) for the UN Year of Mountains 2002 Commissioned by the SDC as musical director to put together a 20-piece orchestra of musicians from Central Asia and Switzerland. Tours through Europe and Asia 2002-2004 with a total budget of 600'000.-sfr

World Music Award 2003

Worldmusic Award 2003 of DW/EBU

The report on the Tien Shan Switzerland Express "Obertöne auf der Hochalm" was honoured with the Worldmusic Award 2003 of DW/EBU. 

 2001 Bass Player of the year" magazine Jazz and More.

1999  Bass Player of the year"  magazine Jazz and More.



Professor uprightbass & electric bass  University of applied sience Lucerne

Masterclasses at:

Linz Bruckner University 2018, Graz Art University 2011, Linz Bruckner University 2011,Saulcrasti (Lithuania) 2008 Helsinki University of applied sience 2007, Linz(A) Bruckner University 2006, Krakow :Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) 2005, Almaty(Kazakhstan): Conservatory 2003, Tashkent(Uzbekistan): Conservatory 2003,Dushanbe(Chadjikistan): Conservatory2003, Kuhjend(Chadjikistan): Conservatoire 2003,La Chaux de fonds :Conservatoire 2001, Bergamo CDPM 2001, Vienna(A) Conservatoire  


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