Born: October 5, 1949 Primary Instrument: Piano
NB: Go to the bottom to Thomas Visits to find a number of direct links to various music videos with Thomas.
PIANIST - BAND LEADER - COMPOSER - ARRANGER
AT A HIGH LEVEL
(Politiken about Thomas Clausen Trio: BACK TO BASICS, the newest CD release. Read this review under Press Quotes below)
A BEAUTIFUL COMBINATION OF ELEGANCE AND DEVIL-MAY-CARE SOUND
(Politiken about the Thomas Clausen Brazil Trio)
CHOSEN BY THE ROYAL DANISH CONSULATE TO REPRESENT DENMARK IN NEW YORK
THOMAS CLAUSEN has performed and/or recorded with among others: Miles Davis, Gary Burton, Dexter Gordon, Thad Jones, Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Elvin Jones, James Newton, Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, George Russell, Ben Webster, Dizzy Gillespie, Joe Henderson, Harry Edison, Tim Hagans, Toots Thielemans, Roy Haynes, Johnny Griffin, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Lee Konitz, Stanley Turrentine, Ed Thigpen, Chuck Israels, Bob Brookmeyer.
The Ben Webster Price (1989), The Jasa Price(1990), The Fanfare Price(1992), DJFBA`s (The Danish Society for Jazz, Rock and Folk Composers) Composers Price.
With the status of Special Ensemble, special support from The Danish Arts Foundation 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002 ,2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007
According to Den Store Danske Encyklopaedi - The National Danish Encyclopedia:
“ Danish jazz piano player and composer, inspired by both jazz and recent European composition, since the beginning of the 1980’s having become one of the important musicians in European jazz. He is equally appreciated as a solo piano player, trio leader, and accompanist for leading American musicians. Further he has worked as a composer for large ensembles in a way that reveals Alban Berg as a main influence.”
So far for the encyclopedia ... there is so much more to tell about Thomas Clausen:
Thomas grew up in a musical home. Both of his parents were teaching mathematics, however, his late father played a strong and able jazz piano in swing style, whereas his mother is out of a family of singers. “Like father - like son” - or as they say in Denmark: The apple does not fall far from the tree, so both Thomas and his brother Bent Clausen became musicians - Thomas as a piano player and composer, Bent as a vibraphonist and drummer, recently also music director of the Tom Waits/ Robert Wilson theater productions of “Woyzeck” and “The Black Rider”.
Thomas Clausen was very young when he began playing with great artists of jazz. His energetic, but lyrical piano playing was discovered by Dexter Gordon in 1969; at the same time Thomas began participating in Palle Mikkelborg’s projects and groups (the “Riel/Mikkelborg V8”, the “Entrance”, and the CD “Palle Mikkelborg’s Journey To…”), and soon Thomas began playing regularly with the bass players Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen, Bo Stief, and Mads Vinding, and with the drummers Alex Riel, Bjarne Rostvold, and Kasper Winding.
Thomas accompanied a number of international jazz stars in the world renowned now gone “Jazzhus Montmartre” in Store Regnegade in Copenhagen: Ben Webster, Elvin Jones, Jan Garbarek, Joe Henderson, Phil Woods, Lee Konitz, Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Eddie ”Lockjaw” Davis (as heard on the LP “Swingin’ Till The Girls Come Home”), Jackie Mclean and Gary Bartz (as heard on the LP “Ode To Super”), and Johnny Griffin (as heard on the CD “And The Great Danes”) - just to mention a few….
In the mid 80’s Thomas was a regular member of the Peter Herboltzheimer International Big Band in Germany (the LP “More Bebop”).
Thomas' wish to form his own band was fulfilled in 1978, when he started Mirror, a group that recorded the first LP with Thomas’ own compositions (“Mirror”/CBS/1979). Musicians: Jan zum Vohrde (sax/fl), Ole Skipper Moesgaard (b), and Aage Tanggaard (dr). Here the music had already taken a strongly melodic turn after Thomas' studies of modern compositional technique with composer Ib Noerholm at the Royal Danish Music Conservatorium.
In 1979 Thomas created his first jazz trio, with Niels-Henning Orsted Pedersen on bass and Aage Tanggaard on drums. The trio recorded two albums that were indeed positively received by both the press and the audience: “Rain” (1980) with mainly own compositions, and “The Shadow Of Bill Evans” (1983), which Baystate, Japanese record label, wanted to be a tribute to the recently deceased Bill Evans, so accordingly the LP contains a number of arrangements of tunes that are connected to Bill Evans - however, in more than one sense a kind of re-composition of the material.
In 1987 Thomas put together his second jazz trio with Mads Vinding (b) and Alex Riel (dr). In 1988 this trio recorded the CD/LP “She Touched Me” for the German label of MA Music. Here again mainly standard tunes in new disguise. The trio participated in the first Jazzpar Prize concerts (Copenhagen, Odense, and Paris) in 1990, joined by with Gary Burton. The collaboration with Burton lasted a couple of years and led to the recording of the CD’s : “Café Noir” (1990) and “Flowers & Trees” (1991), and a great Giant Jazz concert in The Circus Building during the Copenhagen Jazz Festival 1994. The basic trio recorded another CD in 1994: “Psalm”.
In the mid 90’s Thomas stroke out a new path when starting collaborating with Brazilian guitarist/ composer Celso Mendes, who introduced him to a number of Brazilian musicians living in Denmark and Germany. The first result of that can be heard on “Festa” (Olufsen, 1995). This was the beginning of a new era, leading to the “Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet”. By his side were his old friend Jan zum Vohrde, and the Brazilian musicians Fernando Demarco (b) and Afonso Corrêa (dr).
So far the Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet has recorded 3 CD’s for STUNT Records:
”Follow The Moon” (1998), originals + some Corrêa & Ivan Lins.
“Prelude To A Kiss” (2000), originals + some Ellington and Tom Jobim.
“Balacobaco” (2003), only originals, a mix of choros and classical inspiration.
On Balacobaco the group is extended to an octet with Mikkel Nordsoe (guitar) and the Madame Claude Harp Trio (Pia Kaufmanas (flute), Ida Speyer Groen (viola), and Tine Rehling (harp). Ida Groen was later replaced by David Lasserson, London.
At the Copenhagen Jazz Festival 2004 the Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quintet had the pleasure of featuring the Brazilian flute and sax virtuoso Teco Cardoso. A new member Léa Freire (flutist, composer, arranger, and owner of Maritaca, one of Brazil’s most important labels) joined last year, and in spring and summer 2005 the Brazilian Quintet - now consisting of Thomas Clausen (p), Teco Cardoso (fl, sx), Léa Freire (fl), Fernando Demarco (b), Afonso Corrêa (dr, perc), toured extensively in Brazil and Europe. The tour was so successful that the group did another just as successful tour in Europe in May this year, when in England joined by guitarist and composer Jonny Phillips, and the Brazilian Quintet have upcoming tours in November 2007 and again in 2008.
This quintet just released a wonderful new CD on Maritaca: MARITACA QUINTET: WATERBIKES (Maritaca 1037), recorded in the Sun Studios, Copenhagen, June 2006. The music is compositions by Léa Freire, Thomas Clausen, and Antonio Carlos Jobim.
Boris Rabinowitsch in Politiken April 30, 2007:
AT A HIGH LEVEL
Thomas Clausen Trio: BACK TO BASICS
(Stunt Records, STUCD 07062)
Receives 5 hearts out of 6
As is the case with other leading European pianists, Thomas Clausen would not mind to acknowledge
the great importance of which especially Bill Evans has been to him. However, what is also remarkable
is the high extent to which Clausen has intensified the personal expression of his playing. This has not
been all cost free. There was a transitional period where his playing, at that time mainly based on
chords, could seem too uptight.
The way it comes out on his new CD, however, the music is again delicately balanced with lines of
single notes. And similarly Clausen has succeeded in redressing the balance between the impetus,
which represents one side of his musical expression, and the calm necessary for the music to be in
The title of the CD is “Back To Basics”, Clausen having returned to a number of standards that here
once again confirm their constancy. Tunes as Harold Arlen’s “That Old Black Magic”, Jerome Kern’s
“Dearly Beloved”, and Thelonius Monk’s “Round Midnight”. Plus a couple of Clausen’s own compositions
that brilliantly match this celebrated company.
This has become an outstanding release, on which especially Clausen’s exquisite artistry of
harmonizing gives such strong unique character to the music. And to this is added the economy, the
sense of also letting the rests speak that marks a great deal of the music. This is also very true of
bassist Thomas Fonnesbaek, who performs a high-class response as an accompanist, and as
a soloist shapes each note with thought. And similarly Karsten Bagge on drums understands
to add both the right energy and finely varied coloring of sound in that interplay.
Boris Rabinowitsch in Politiken July 2003:
ENCHANTING - A MASTERPIECE
Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet + Friends: BALACOBACO
(Stunt Records, STUCD 03112)
Pianist Thomas Clausen’s relationship with Brazilian music has developed into a deep-felt reciprocated
love. Not so much the bossa nova, which is well known for having incorporated jazz-impulses, but the
so-called choros, sprung from traditional sources. What Clausen has done with them on his latest
release, “Balacobaco”, makes me think of what Astor Piazzolla has done with the Argentine tango. For
like Piazzolla, Clausen has refined the original music and raised it to a sphere where it amalgamates
with influences from the classical-European tradition. And what is more, he has done so without
damaging its roots.
I should not be at all surprised to learn that Clausen has actually borrowed motifs and subsequently
developed them. The reason why the music is so utterly spellbinding is that it creates a feeling of
intimacy that goes straight to the heart, while at the same time being so abundant in musical riches
that it never ceases to offer ingenious surprises.
The nucleus of the ensemble is Clausen’s Brazilian Quartet with Jan zum Vohrde on alto sax and flute, Fernando Demarco on bass, Afonso Corrêa on drums and Clausen himself at the piano; here with the addition of guitarist Mikkel Nordsoe and the Madame Claude Harp Trio, i.e.Pia Kaufmanas on flute, Ida Speyer Groen on viola, and Tine Rehling on harp. And Clausen has arranged his music for this ensemble with an elegance that is perfectly congenial to the performance itself. Solo voices emerge in the most beautiful way, but everything forms a perfect synthesis where spontaneity also works as an incentive in the written passages. Yes, we have before us a masterpiece.
In one of the tunes, “Turkey”, Balkan music also finds its way into Clausen’s universe without seeming out of place. And as I hear it, his “Song Of Love”, a piano solo, not only sends its greetings to Frederic Chopin, but also to Billy Strayhorn!
AT http://thomasclausen.com/uk/index.html LISTEN TO: ---------------------------------------------------
Thomas Clausen Trio - Back To Basics - Stunt STUCD 07062 - 2007
Maritaca Quintet - Waterbikes - M1037 - 2007
Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet + Friends - Balacobaco - Stunt STUCD 03112 - 2003
Musica al Caffé - Musica al Caffé - SIAE - 2003
DANISH RADIO BIG BAND Plays the Music of THOMAS CLAUSEN - August Music - Stunt STUCD 02172 - 2002
Mona Larsen - Never Let Me Go - Stunt STUCD 02052 - 2002
Thomas Clausen/Jesper Lundgaard - Play the Music of Borge Roger Henrichsen - Music Mecca CD 4013-2 - 2002
Thomas Clausen Trio - My Favorite Things - STUCD 01242 - 2001
Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet - Prelude To A Kiss - STUCD 00142 - 2000
Thomas Clausen Brazilian Quartet - Follow The Moon - STUCD 19808 - 1998
Thomas Clausen/Hans Ulrik - Danske Sange - STUCD 19809 - 1998
Solveig Lumholt - Solveig Lumholt - Classico CLASSCD 242 - 1998
Thomas Clausen/Celso Mendes - Festa - Olufsen DDCD 5381 - 1998
Thomas Clausen/Severi Pyysalo - Turn Out The Stars - STCD 4215 - 1997
Lille Muko - Nordisk Suite - Point PCD 5125 - 1996
Thomas Clausen Trio - Psalm - Storyville STCD 4185 - 1995
Danish Radio Concert Orchestra - 3 Symphonies - Dacapo DCCD 9422 - 1995
T C Trio plus Gary Burton - Flowers And Trees - M.A.Music A 805/2 - 1992
T C Trio plus Gary Burton - Café Noir - Intermusic INTCD 004 - 1991
Thomas Clausen Solo Piano - Piano Music - M.A.Music A 801/2 - 1989
Thomas Clausen Trio - she Touched Me - M.A.Music A 628 - 1988
Miles Davis - Aura - CBS 463351 - 1984
Entrance - P.M.'s Journey To... - Exlibris EXLCD 50020 - 1984
Thomas Clausen Trio - The Shadow Of Bill Evans - Naystate RJL 8065 - 1983
Thomas Clausen trio - Rain - Matrix MTX 29 202 - 1980
Mirror - Mirror - CBS 84 105 - 1979
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