Jan Lundgren, Emile Parisien & Lars Danielsson

Biography Jan Lundgren, Emile Parisien & Lars Danielsson

Jan Lundgren
was born in the South of Sweden in 1966. His first serious tuition was already under way at the age of five...in the form of both piano lessons and tennis lessons. He proved particularly talented at both, and some were convinced by the time he was a teenager was that he would become the new Adolf Wiklund, whereas others were already hailing him as a new Björn Borg. It is to the good fortune of jazz fans of that Lundgren decided in the end to go with music. As might be expected, his first musical explorations were in the classical realm, but once he found out about jazz – rather accidentally and much later – he found that this newly discovered world was very much to his liking and the one that he really wanted to immerse himself in.

He went on to study at the renowned Malmö Academy of Music when he was 20. According to a story which often does the rounds, he was accepted on the condition that he would also take up the position of pianist in the well-known Monday Night Big Band. He was soon playing with all the best-known jazz musicians in Sweden, from his mentor Arne Domnerus to Putte Wickman and Bernt Rosengren. But he also travelled regularly to the USA from an early stage (and still does so to this day) to work with legends such as Benny Golson or Johnny Griffin. Thanks to his outstanding technique and his classical grounding, Lundgren quickly acquired an encyclopaedic knowledge of the tradition of American jazz piano, and was soon cognizant across all styles from early to modern jazz. And was all put to good use as raw material from which to create his own music, as quickly became apparent.

Lundgren's highly acclaimed debut album "Conclusion" was released in Sweden in 1994, and a year later he founded his own trio with fellow students Matthias Svensson on bass and Rasmus Kihlberg on drums (from 2000 on the drummer was the Dane Morten Lund, and since 2007 it has been the Hungarian Zoltan Csörsz). The trio didn't have to wait long for a breakthrough: the album "Swedish Standards", released in 1997, became a best-seller and its success was to prove durable. The album made it into the Swedish pop charts and – with a re-release in 2009 – became something of a standard in its own right. Six further, award-winning and commercially successful albums with this line-up followed in the years until 2003. The trio's intensive touring activities culminated in a concert at Carnegie Hall in New York in June 2000. This was in the context of "Swedish Jazz Salutes the USA"; it made Lundgren the first Scandinavian jazz pianist to perform in this hall, so steeped in history.

As befits the immensely hard-worker that he is, Lundgren always has other projects on the go, and throws himself into them whole-heartedly. To date, Lundgren has recorded more than 50 albums under his name or as co-leader for high-profile labels (from 2005 to 2009, and again since 2014 he has recorded exclusively for ACT), plus dozens more as accompanist. He has worked with almost all of the important Swedish musicians and with numerous international jazz stars such as Mark Murphy, Harry Allen, Lee Konitz and Stacey Kent. He has also produced several CDs himself. In 2010 Lundgren founded the "Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival" in the southern Swedish town, where he has lived since 2005 and which is known worldwide as the setting for Henning Mankell's Wallander TV crime series. The "Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival" quickly became established as one of the most important jazz festivals in Europe. Lundgren maintains a strong attachment to it as its artistic director.

As a pianist and composer, Lundgren has been one of the pioneers in the process of emancipating European jazz from American jazz and has set the direction for the generations that have followed him. His playing combines several things: the virtuosity, the way of shaping sound and an awareness of form which are typical of European classical music; a conscious memory of his own folk music traditions; the canon of American jazz; and the unfettered joy of improvisation. This makes him an ideal person for all kinds of music-making across genres, and the list of activities is impressive. It includes work with the classical trumpeter Hǻkan Hardenberger on creating an exciting blend of modern classical and free music. There has been an interdisciplinary experiment with the Swedish writer Jacques Werup. Lundgren has focused on Renaissance sacred music with bassist Lars Danielsson and the Gustaf Sjökvist Chamber Choir in "Mare Mysterium". There has been a tribute to the pianist Jon Johansson who died far too young. Johansson was a pioneer who combined jazz and Swedish folklore in a specific "Nordic sound" and is thus is an overtly acknowledged and direct role model for Lundgren. This was recorded and released as "The Ystad Concert - A Tribute to Jan Johansson" in 2016. Lundgren has also been involved in centenary tributes in major European concert halls to the great musical polymath Leonard Bernstein.

To some extent, the project which defines the quintessence of Lundgren's activity is the "Mare Nostrum" trio. One critic has called it "Europe's first supergroup" and there is quite some truth in that. Lundgren’s way of making music is to be stylistically versatile and adaptable, to create space for things to happen, and always to be melodic. In this approach, he ideally complements the Mediterranean sound worlds of the Sardinian trumpeter Paolo Fresu and the French accordionist Richard Galliano. The debut album of this collective of equals, released in 2007, has sold more than 50,000 copies, making it a huge success in the context of jazz. Since that first release there have been two more releases by the trio, each one recorded in a different home country of one of the three musicians. The most recent, “Mare Nostrum 3” appeared in January 2019. The three albums constitute a brilliant trilogy from these great poets of music. Together they have redefined where European jazz is. It is a project through which Jan Lundgren has reinforced his profile and his significance: he is in effect one of the co-founders of a "Great European Songbook".

Emile Parisien
The saxophonist Emile Parisien, born in 1982, enrolls in Marciac college in 1993, where he enjoys a musical formation with experienced musicians such as Pierre Boussaguet, Guy Laffitte, and Tonton Salut.

Over these years, he has the opportunity to work with several leading figures of jazz: Wynton Marsalis, Chris Mc Bride, Johnny Griffin, or Bobby Hutcherson, who give him the opportunity to play with them on the Marciac Jazz festival.

From 1996 on, he pursues further his formation at the Conservatoire de Toulouse where he studies classical and contemporary music with Philippe Lecoq. In 2000, Emile Parisien moves to Paris. Since then, he has played both in France and abroad with musicians such as Daniel Humair, Michel Portal, Jean-Paul Celea, Jacky Terrasson, Claude Tchamitchian, Yaron Herman, Gueorgui Kornazov, Rémi Vignolo, Manu Codjia, Hervé Sellin, Charlier/Sourisse, and Christophe Wallemme.

In 2004, he takes part in the creation of the show HIP 11, which mixes jazz and hip-hop dances. The same year, he asserts his artistic identity by founding the group Emile Parisien Quartet with Julien Touery (piano), Sylvain Darrifourcq (drums) and Ivan Gélugne (double bass). Inspired by composers of the 20th century, such as John Coltrane, Wayne Shorter, or Ornette Coleman, this quartet adds a kind of expressionist character to its music, where improvisation is the guiding principle. By pushing the limits of the concrete, the group acquires, thanks to the complicity of its musicians, a very personal and resolutely modern expression.

In 2007, Emile Parisien was elected Talent of Jazz of the Fond d’action Sacem for 3 years in a row. It is with this support that the quartet records its two discs at the label LABORIE Jazz. “Au revoir porc-épic” in 2007, and “Original Pimpant” in 2009, which received good reviews both from professionals and amateurs.

In September 2009, the Emile Parisian Quartet is offered the Franck Ténot prize, discovery of the year of the Victoires de la musique and they are award-winners of the program Jazz Migration which is put into place by Afijma.

The quartet has today the opportunity to play on European territory (Germany, Swiss, Austria, UK, and Scandinavia) on a regular basis. He is involved in the new quartet of Daniel Humair with Vincent Peirani and Jérome

And plays in their cd “Sweet and Sour” released on 2013.on laborite jazz records. A new cd “live” will be issue on the end of 2014..

In 2012 Emile Parisien was elected “best french musician of the year” by the Académie du Jazz.

in 2014 new recording “Belle Epoque” on Act records in duo with Vincent Peirani, and he is one the musician of the “Generation Spedidam” In 2014 he won “the Victoires de la Musique” for his record in duo “belle époque” with Vincent Peirani.

Lars Danielsson
The late great Danish bass legend Nils-Henning Ǿrsted Pedersen didn’t only leave the world a direct legacy of great jazz through his own playing; a part of what he has bequeathed is indirect. When the young Swedish musician Lars Danielsson once heard him in concert, he was so deeply affected, he turned towards jazz, and to the bass. Until that point, Danielsson, born in Gothenburg in 1958, had been studying classical cello at the conservatory in his home town of Gothenburg. Fortunately, that study of the cello is not something he has chosen to shrug off, he has integrated it into what he does now. Not just in the sense that he always includes the cello in his repertoire, but also that his bass-playing unmistakably has a slightly more melodious, floating and lyrical ring to it than that of many of his fellow bass players.

These were the special qualities which soon placed him in very high demand internationally as a sideman. As early as the 1980s, he had worked not only with local and European greats such as Lars Jansson, Hans Ulrik, Carsten Dahl, Nils Landgren, Christopher Dell, Johannes Enders and Trilok Gurtu (in whose group he remained a member for some time), but also with luminaries of the American scene such as saxophonists Rick Margitza and Charles Lloyd, the Brecker Brothers, drummers Terri Lyne Carrington , Jack DeJohnette and Billy Hart or guitarists John Scofield, Mike Stern and John Abercrombie. But Danielsson has never been content with just an accompanying role. He has always been a creative composer as well and is one of a relatively small group of bassists who has also emerged as a significant bandleader.

The ensemble which gave Danielsson the best outlet in his quest for musical self-expression for almost 20 years was his own all-star quartet with American saxophonist David Liebman (who used to play with Miles Davis), Swedish pianist Bobo Stenson and Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen. Stenson and Christensen are both pioneers of the ”Nordic Sound”, the combination of jazz with the Scandinavian ethos, and both are also long-standing artists on the ECM label. Four albums by the quartet under Danielsson‘s name and six more albums with guests consolidated Danielsson’s reputation as one of Europe’s leading jazz musicians, receiving not just enthusiastic reviews but also many awards. Furthermore, this band laid the foundation for his work as a composer, arranger and producer, which has developed in a major way since then. Danielsson has worked in these capacities with the Danish Radio Concert Orchestra, the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, the NDR Big Band, the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra and the JazzBaltica Ensemble, the drummer Jonas Johanssen and the singers Viktoria Tolstoy and Cæcilie Norby – the latter being his wife, whom he regularly accompanies.

In the past few years, Lars Danielsson has also expanded his musical frame of reference and stylistic range of his own projects. His ACT debut, ”Libera Me” from 2004, proved him to be a master of orchestral jazz. ”Mélange Bleu”, two years later, sprung a surprise with a modern, carefully applied electronic framework for his expansive and sonically adventurous and rich compositions. With ”Pasodoble” in 2007, he created a breathtaking manifesto of beautiful sound in a duet with the Polish pianist Leszek Możdżer, which occupied the terrain between classical music and jazz, and received superb reviews. ”Tarantella” continued the productive collaboration with Możdżer in 2009, but transferred the basic musical idea into the context of a chamber jazz ensemble. All these albums (as well as those that followed) went either gold or platinum, and the orchestral project ”Blauklang”, co-initiated by him and conducted by Vince Mendoza, was nominated for a Grammy.

To some extent, Danielsson really found the quintessence of his diverse forms of expression in 2012 – and also the right name for it: ”Liberetto”. His newly-created word ”describes a certain mood in which I want to develop my music,“ he says. ”It follows on from my earlier albums – purely linguistically as in the reference to classical music.” The album, itself entitled ”Liberetto” with the Armenian star pianist Tigran, e.s.t. drummer Magnus Öström, British guitarist John Parricelli and trumpeter Arve Henriksen found a new balance between jazz, classical music, pop and European folk music and thus opened up a new dimension of how compositional processes and dramaturgy could be used in jazz. It was so successful that the project continues to this day: After ”Liberetto II” in a very intimate duo with Tigran and ”Liberetto III” in the tried and tested quartet, with the addition of a new and different hue in the form of French-Caribbean pianist, Grégory Privat, Danielsson performed a symphonic version of this concept and the compositions for it at the Leopolis Jazz Fest. There will also be a recording of this project in the near future.

Naturally, Danielsson also leaves plenty of room for other interesting projects: he participates in the unique concert series ”Jazz at Berlin Philharmonic”, and he works in a duo with the Sardinian trumpeter Paolo Fresu, one of the most lyrical players anywhere. Their joint album ”Summerwind” is the latest proof of what makes Danielsson quite so special: technical brilliance, a vivid and consistently fertile musical imagination, and an almost telepathic understanding with other musicians.

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