Jacob Karlzon is jazz pianist, composer and Steinway artist who played in Morten Ramsbøl trio at seventh "Freeing" 7.7.2019. at Music academy in Belgrade (Renhold Schmolzer on drums). Concert was supported by Danish Embassy in Belgrade. Jacob is for sure one of the biggest jazz stars that ever played at "Freeing".
The project "Give me 5" is our way of staying in touch with the jazz audience. It is the festival's jazz program for 2020/2021. As part of the project, artists that performend on the ''Freeing'' festival in previous years share the five albums that influenced their playing the most. Give me 5 Jacob Karlzon:
This album was actually the one that made me decide to go for exploring music in a professional way. When hearing it I was completely blown away by the atmosphere created when Keith Jarrett’s playing and compositions were put in this Scandinavian context.
I’d never heard that kind of sound of a piano on a jazz-recording before and the spacious, yet intense, interplay by the members of that group created a foundation where I immediately felt at home. Jarrett’s playing spoke to me, answering questions I didn’t know I had. The influences from different genres melt together on this album, making it a timeless masterpiece that I always return to.
Five albums by Miles Davis from the years of 1967 – 1968 had a huge influence on me at my Conservatory-years. They were “Miles Smiles”, “Sorcerer”, “Miles In the Sky”, “Filles De Kilimanjaro” and “Nefertiti”. I was so fascinated by the interplay and form of the songs on these albums. The reason I choose “Miles Smiles” is because of the wonderful song “Orbit” and Miles’ incredible playing on this. All these albums influenced me incredibly when it comes to how to play in a rhythm-section and to be creative without being restlessly disturbing. The interplay is a textbook example of how to travel on a musical journey bar after bar. As a piano-player, I got incredibly influenced my Herbie Hancock’s playing. His qualities when comping, as well as soloing of course, are forever inspiring. The way he listens, interprets and responding without imitating is a source for ideas for anyone playing a chord-instrument in an improvised context.
I listened to a lot of metal-music in my teens (that is a list of itself, including Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin a o) and when hearing the John Coltrane Quartet, I was amazed by the energy this acoustic quartet produced. There is a gravity in Coltrane’s music that makes it so incredibly deep and spiritual. When hearing McCoy Tyner for the first time, I was shocked by his power on the piano. It felt like he could move mountains just with his left hand. This album opened up my interest for him which led me to his solo-album “The Real McCoy”. The way the Coltrane-quartet worked as a machine is truly amazing.
This music goes beyond being music, it becomes a tribal thing no matter what tribe you belong to.
This album just punched me in the face. I was still living in my hometown Jönköping when this was released. It was pretty difficult back then to get your hands on music that wasn’t mainstream and since this was back in 1988, you were depending on word of mouth since there was no internet and even the magazine Downbeat was difficult to find.
There are so many things to say about this album. It says quite a lot about the fact that we’re standing on the shoulders of giants when it comes to Michael Brecker’s playing. Coltrane has been mentioned before in this list and I’m just thankful for having being alive at the time where there were new Brecker-albums coming, being able to see him live and later meeting him, playing at the same festival. The importance of having a contemporary hero to relate to, being inspired by is huge and it makes you follow the path back in time to see where these ideas come from. Sometimes you have to start with something from your own time to discover the past.
For me, this album opened up a new world with the incredible playing of all the musicians and the great writing for the album. The compositions from Don Grolnick’s pen, like “Itsbynne Reel” (co-written with Brecker) and “Chime This” still strike me hard. Listen to Michel’s playing on “Chime This” and be amazed by the incredible form of his solo on that song. It’s just mindblowing. On this album, you again can hear the fantastic will to communicate from Herbie Hancock while playing together with Brecker on Vince Mendoza’s beautiful piece “Scriabin”.
Following Michael Brecker in his work through articles and interviews also revealed to me that he was a very humble, mild musician and human being which is truly something to forever be inspired by.
As a representant for music that might not be improvised in its performance but ever so creative, I have to mention this. It’s pretty difficult to pick one album to represent other genres than jazz but, in competition with albums like “OK Computer”, “Kid A” by Radiohead,
“The Goldberg Variations” recorded by Glenn Gould and “Untouchables” by KoRn, I have to pick this one. For me, it represents the will to experiment, to orchestrate your ideas in a way that maybe just you hear. Björk as an artist will always for me be similar to the urge to move forward, absorbing sounds and atmospheres around you. A huge part of art, creativity and life is based on the will to be open to whatever comes in your way. The way she blends music and impressions from all over the world putting it together with beats from London, Chicago and Detroit all of a sudden made a completely new type of music possible. This encouraged me in my musical journey. It also points out the importance of finding people around you who understand you musically and put you in new contexts to shake you up a bit. It also inspired me a lot in the production of my own albums when it comes to blending colors.