Jacob Karlzon

Jacob Karlzon

Instrument: Piano | Location: Malmo

He has now arrived in the Olympus of European Jazz-pianists.
—Jazzpodium

Updated: December 17, 2020

Born: October 19, 1970

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

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“He has now arrived in the Olympus of European Jazz-pianists” — Jazzpodium

“Swedish jazz has in Jacob Karlzon a musical personality of rare magnitude” —Politiken (Denmark)

“Pianist Jacob Karlzon is quite simply superb. His solos tell a story while incorporating surprising harmonic devices; his left hand accompaniment moves between the forcefulness of a McCoy Tyner to the subtlety of a Bill Evans. Karlzon may well be one of the finest emerging jazz pianists anywhere in the world.” —Garry Lee, Australian daily paper.

“Karlzon stakes a credible claim to be counted up there alongside such hallowed Swedish pianists as Bengt Hallberg, —Jan Johansson and Bobo Stensson”

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