Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Karl-Martin Almqvist, saxophonist and composer, is one of the most uniquely personal voices found on the Swedish jazz scene today. He comes from the town of Karlstad, which he left at the age of 18 to take up his studies in music at Skurups Folkhögskola, continuing at the Conservatory of Music in Malmö, then moving on to the Mannes College of Music in New York City in 1994, where he remained for about two years. There Karl-Martin studied with musicians such as George Garzone, Bob Mintzer, Richie Beirach and Reggie Workman. In autumn 1996 he returned to Sweden, and 1998 he made Stockholm his home.
As a soloist/member Karl-Martin is found both on record and in performance with a range some of the finest groups and constellations in Sweden, such as Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, Maggi Olin Band, Moksha, Mathias Landeus House of Approximation‚ Rigmor Gustafsson, Nils Landgren Funk Unit and Jacob Karlzon Big 5. He has played extensively throughout Europe and also toured Mexico, Latinamerica, Asia and the U.S.
Karl-Martin first formed his quartet in 1996. Full Circle‚ (Prophone PCD 068, 2004) is his second release as a leader, the debut record on the same label having been released 2001 (Prophone PCD 057). As the title suggests, Karl-Martin finds himself having come full circle in the partly new constellation, with Jonas �-stholm, piano, Filip Augustson, bass and Sebastian Voegler, drums. The group is showing a new side in it's overall sound and compositions. The concept and approach have further developed into something more personal, more sincere, and into a new found ease of expression, which is intensely melodic and rhythmical. The Karl-Martin Almqvist Quartet stands firmly in the grounds of tradition, at the same time as it continuosly searches for new streams.
The Karl-Martin Almqvist Quartet has played extensively throughout Scandinavia, appeared twice at the renown Stockholm Jazz Festival, and was last year invited to tour South America, performing at the Providencia Jazz Festival in Santiago de Chile and LaPataia Jazz Festival in Punto del Este, Uruguay, with other appearances in Argentina and Chile. The group was also invited to perform at the Rochester International Jazz Festival in New York state summer of 2005.
Almqvist has such a widely versatile artistic expression. There is depth, and he means it; maybe presence is a better word, or conviction. Authenticity‡ is maybe one of the greater qualities, since with Almqvist there is never the question of a technical demonstration of dexterity, instead, always a strong sense of communication within the group. --Ingrid Strömdahl, SvD
On this recording Almqvist's artistic side has reached it's full bloom. He has really given his horn a unique voice, a truly refined, own musical conception. --Johnny Olsson, NWT