Bio and presstexts
Swedish jazz pianist and composer Jacob Karlzon has been compared to luminaries such as Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Sweden’s own legendary Jan Johansson.
Karlzon’s playing style oozes technical brilliance, rhythmic and harmonic complexity with a perfect feeling for form. Karlzon describes what drives him:
“We are a modern people with a long history, and it is precisely this which I want to reflect in my music. I am fascinated with the possibilities of new technologies but I also need warmth and a connection with the earth in order to feel happy.”
For a piano virtuoso, he likes to add edge; metal and electro all have their place in his music as well as folk songs from his Swedish homeland. With such an open attitude, Karlzon balances depth and musical ideas to achieve vibrant pulsating soundscapes ranging from light to energetic, fragile to powerful, organic to electronic, sometimes all at once. He calls this approach 'technorganic', a kind of improvisation which bursts out of conventional musical borders.
Karlzon's music sits at the intersection of cool Scandinavian sensibilities (space, melancholy and sensitivity) and their emotional opposites (heat and passion).
Karlzon’s powerful techniques and deep sensibility have made him a popular 'sideman' working together with stars like
Cæcilie Norby, Gino Vannelli, Nils Landgren, Till Brönner and Lisa Bassenge as well as being a sought after musical director for artists such as Viktoria Tolstoy .
Whilst he has a growing reputation as an ensemble performer, his personal projects have also received great recognition. In 2010 he was awarded the Swedish Django d'Or and voted Jazz Musician of the Year. In 2012 he was added to the Steinway Artist roster, an international recognition of excellence and in 2015 was acclaimed Jazz-group of the Year in the Swedish Radio’s audience poll.
Jacob Karlzon is always searching for new places, not just in his music. Following on from concerts in Europe, his trio has toured China and the USA but despite his rising fame and traveling to ever more distant countries, he always likes to return to his roots and earlier musical ideas.
“I got into jazz because I loved improvisation. This kind of spontaneous play achieves ever new levels in the direct communication with the audience, in the exchange of energy and emotion. Performing live for an audience is for me the ‘original place of music’, an ecstatic experience on both sides.”
Stylistically and musically, Jacob Karlzon is also well-travelled: He is a classically trained pianist but has shared a stage with big names such as Dominic Miller, Kenny Wheeler,
Norma Winstone and Billy Cobham. He has forayed into the world of heavy metal with his albums “More” and “Now,” allowing electronic elements to set the pulse. No wonder he prefers to describe himself as an ‘alternative musician’.
To date Karlzon has produced eleven albums under his own name and the most recent one, ‘Open Waters’, with Warner Music. Besides solo recordings and older quintet and quartet productions, he works primarily with his trio as a creative unit. As his artistic and musical profile has changed over the years, so have the members of the group.
Morten Ramsbøl on bass and
Rasmus Kihlberg on drums.
Both have collaborated with him for years on a variety of projects playing with the Viktoria Tolstoy Group and Human Factor.
There is a deep, mutual understanding between the three of them across all aspects of music which has created a strong interplay and a huge dynamic range involving everything from a deep, true groove to wide open soundscapes.
Karlzon has put out one solo piano album ‘One’ and toured Europe which has also established him as a well-respected solo act.
Karlzon creates music for his ‘inner films’ and loves it when others connect with these worlds.
“I really do want to take you emotionally out to sea, into a situation where you have to decide in which direction you want to swim.”
"Open Waters" (Warner Music) 2019
"Now" (Warner Music) 2016
"One" (Contemplate) 2015
"Shine" (ACT) 2014
"More" (ACT) 2012
"The Big Picture" (Stunt Records) 2011
"Heat" (Caprice Records) 2009
"Improvisational" (Caprice Records) 2008
"Big5" (Prophone Records) 2003
"Today" (Prophone Records) 2002
"Going Places" (Prophone Records) 1998
"Take Your Time“ (Dragon Records) 1996