Panel Chair: Haftor Medbøe
Jacob Karlzon’s music resides in the intersections where Scandinavian expressions such as space, melancholy and sensitivity blend with heat and passion. Jacob has been compared to such luminaries as Keith Jarrett, Bill Evans and Sweden’s own legendary pianist Jan Johansson. His playing style boasts technical brilliance, great rhythmic and harmonic complexity and a perfect feeling for form.
Jacob Karlzon applies a concrete image when he speaks about his music: “We are modern people with a history, and it is precisely this which is reflected in my music. I am fascinated with the possibilities of new technologies. However, I also need a sense of warmth and a connection with the earth in order to feel happy”. – A wide horizon thus, which also includes unusual facets, especially for a piano virtuose: Metal and electro have their place in his music as well as folk songs from his Swedish homeland. With such an open attitude, Karlzon balances the depths of his musical ideas and achieves vibrant pulsating soundscapes in a spectrum from light to energetic, fragile to powerful, organic to electronic – sometimes all at once. He calls his creations – his ability to bring into harmony his musical skills and preferences – ‘technorganic’, in a free play of transcending musical borders. It is precisely in this way that he has expanded European jazz in recent years.
His stupendous technique and his tremendous sensibility made him a popular ‘sideman’ already in his early career. He accompanied stars like Silje Nergaard, Nils Landgren, and Viktoria Tolstoy. He shared the stage with Billy Cobham, Kenny Wheeler, Norma Winstone and other greats of his genre. And with the growing reputation of his musical play, his own projects also received growing recognition. In 2010 he was awarded the Swedish Django d’Or and was voted Jazz Musician of the Year in Sweden. Being elected into the renowned group of Steinway-Artists in 2012 was an international recognition of excellence.
So far, Karlzon has produced eleven albums under his own name, the most recent one, NOW, on WARNER MUSIC. Besides solo recordings and Quintett productions, he works primarily with his Jacob Karlzon Trio formation.
Jacob Karlzon is always on the search for new places, – not only in his music. After concerts in Europe, Jacob Karlzon toured China and the USA. And despite his rising fame and his journeys to ever more distant countries, he always likes to return to the beginnings of his career and his early musical ideas: ‘I got into jazz because I loved improvisation. And 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 is for me the original place of music – not an educational event, but an ecstatic experience on both sides.