Norbert Pfammatter was born on 12 September 1959 amidst the Swiss mountains in Visp. He spent his boyhood in Brig and always preferred being outside in this wonderful, formative natural environment. Enthused by Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Yes, Genesis and Frank Zappa, he started playing the drums at the age of 13, and began to increasingly spend his free time in the basements of the small Valais town.
After six years of self-educated exploration of his instrument the young drummer decided to leave the beneficial calm but at the same time obstructive isolation of small town life in 1978. He enlisted himself as a student at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern and finally met, after 18 months of teaching by Bob Cunningham and Heinz Lieb, the spectacular percussionist Billy Brooks whose presence in Bern may well be seen as a stroke of luck.
Inspired by all the sudden multifaceted stimulation as well as the motivating encounter with the music of Charlie Parker and John Coltrane, Norbert Pfammatter changed over to the Swiss Jazz School’s vocational school after having completed grammar school in 1980.
Initial, significant musical connections started to develop, such as with the Hungarian bass player Tibor Elekes, the trumpeter Umberto Arlati, the trombonist Robert Morgenthaler, the saxophonist Andy Scherrer or the North German pianist Jochen Bohnes.
When Norbert Pfammatter completed his diploma studies at the SJS in 1985 he was hired as a teacher by the school in the same year. After initial recordings, among others with the formation around the saxophonist Beat Wenger, employment as a drum kit teacher at the conservatorium in Biel followed in 1989, intense and continuing collaboration with the saxophonist Donat Fisch, the influential musical encounters with the American cellist Muneer B. Fenell and his "Rhythm String Band" as well as with the Detroit drummer Doug Hammond and the continuing and adventurous interaction with the bass player Bänz Oester.
Based on Turkish, Bulgarian, Romanian and Jiddish folk music and mostly uneven metres, Norbert Pfammatter has been contributing his play to the ensemble “Schönhaus Express” of saxophonist and composer Sascha Schönhaus and to the three albums they have made since 1993.
In 1994 Norbert Pfammatter became a permanent lecturer for percussion at the Musikhochschule Luzern.
The crowning glory of his biography, however, is the birth of his daughter Nina Maria in January 1995.
A selective overview of the following years must make a mention of the trio G.A.S., founded in 1996 and completed by the pianist Hans Feigenwinter and the bass player Bänz Oester, which three years later was to publish the much acclaimed recording of “Great American Songs”. In addition there is the continuing cooperation with the composer and clarinettist Don Li, resulting in the CD “Trigon” in 2000. Furthermore his membership in the drum formation of percussionist Pierre Favre, founded in 2001, and in the quartet headed by singer Elina Duni, which released the CD “Baresha” in 2008, should be noted.
The percussion improvisation duo Traktor with his friend and unrivalled percussionist Fabian Kuratli came to a painful end following the poor health and shockingly early passing of the latter in 2008.
Norbert Pfammatter plays concerts in Europe, Australia, Asia, Africa and Latin America and counts himself lucky to have worked with many representatives of the domestic scene (Andy Scherrer, Don Li, Donat Fisch, Bertrand Denzler, Sascha Schönhaus, Heiner Althaus, Christoph Grab, John Voirol, Nat Su, Stefano Saccon, Cyrill Bugnon, Maurice Magnoni, Hans Koch, Hans Feigenwinter, Chris Wiesendanger, Léo Tardin, Christoph Stiefel, Joe Haider, Colin Vallon, Malcolm Braff, Jean-Paul Brodbeck, Hans-Peter Pfammatter, François Lindeman, Michel Wintsch, Philipp Schaufelberger, Marc Liebeskind, Harald Haerter, Marianne Racine, Elina Duni, Bänz Oester, Patrice Moret, Christian Weber, Heiri Känzig, Stephan Kurmann, Hämi Hämmerli, Thomas Dürst, Eric Peter, Peter Frei, Ivor Malherbe, Umberto Arlati, Peter Schärli, Matthieu Michel, John Aram, Robert Morgenthaler, Jean Jacques Pedretti, Pierre Favre, Fredy Studer, Lukas Niggli, Fabian Kuratli, Marcel Papaux, Barbara Berger and many others) as well as with many big and small stars of the international scene (Joe Lovano, Chris Potter, Sal Nistico, Arnett Cobb, Tony Lakatos, Bob Mover, Tim Garland, Art Lande, Dado Moroni, Benoit Delbecq, Kenny Barron, William Evans, John Schröder, Jay McShann, Milt Hinton, Reggie Johnson, James Woode, Marc Johnson, Hélène Labarriere, Erik Truffaz, Adrian Mears, Eric LeLann, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Adrienne West, Sandy Patton, Marc Soskin, Enrico Rava, Flavio Boltro, Glenn Ferris, Gianni Basso, Jochen Bohnes, Gregoire Maret, Antonello Messina, Yang Jing, Sujay Bobade, Raghuvendra Kulkarni, Kenny Wheeler, Greg Osby, Philippe Aerts, Ivan Paduart, Rick Margitza, Alex Maguire, Simon Picard and others).