Swedish bassist, cellist, composer and arranger Lars Danielsson is well-know and admired throughout the International jazz scene for his lyrical playing and strong groove. Born in 1958, he is a musician with particularly broad interests. At the conservatory in Gothenburg he had studied classical cello, before changing to bass and to jazz. As a bassist he has a uniquely rounded sound, which is as lyrical as powerful.
The "Lars Danielsson Quartet" with former Miles Davis saxophonist David Liebman, pianist Bobo Stenson and legendary ECM drummer Jon Christensen has received a lot of recognition and numerous awards during the 18 years of its existence. Danielsson has released ten solo-albums since 1980 with his quartet and guests such as Alex Acuña and John Abercrombie. The Quartet has been a testing ground for Danielsson’s work as a composer and arranger, which has extended over the last years to include both - symphony orchestra and big band music. He has worked with Denmark’s Radio Concert Orchestra as well as the JazzBaltica Ensemble as a composer, arranger and producer.
Lars Danielsson has worked with: Randy and Michael Brecker, John Scofield, Jack DeJohnette, Mike Stern, Billy Hart, Charles Lloyd, Terri Lyne Carrington and Dave Kikoski. He has also been a member of the "Trilok Gurtu Group".
As a producer, Lars Danielsson worked with Cæcilie Norby, Jonas Johansen, the Danish Radio Concert Orchestra and Viktoria Tolstoy.
In 2007, he received a commission for a piece with the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestrafeaturing himself as a soloist together with Leszek Moždžer. He has also received a commission from the NDR Big Band and Wolfgang Haffner to write a piece for the JazzBaltica Festival 2007. Furthermore, he has been working with the St. Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in collaboration with Vytas Sondeckis and Bugge Wesseltoft.
His 2008 album “Pasodoble” was a huge success. Jazzwise UK wrote about Danielsson’s collaboration with Polish pianist Leszek Moždžer: “A clarity of thought and execution rarely encountered in jazz.”
“Pasodoble” was followed by another collaboration with Leszek Moždžer on the 2009 album “Tarantella”. Once more the album caused enthusiastic reactions by Jazzwise: “Easily Danielsson’s finest album to date, it also numbers among the finest albums in the ACT catalogue.”
On his most recent album “Liberetto”, Lars Daniellson teams up with Armenian piano shooting Star “Tigran”, e.s.t. drummer Magnus Öström guitarist John Paricelli and Trumpeter Arve Henriksen to discovers new musical spaces and the freedom of music between chamber jazz, classic and European folk music.
YSN is well regarded for her remarkable vocal prowess. The Korean jazz vocalist’s ability to present each song in her own unique style filled with emotion and passion has consistently captured her audience in attentive silence, ending with roaring appreciation. The songstress traverse the vocal spectrum effortlessly to the extent where she’s not just another vocalist, she’s a musical instrument.
In 2005, French magazine “Le Monde” described her as “a UFO touching the universe of jazz with a magnificent voice and passionate originality”.
Growing up in a musical family where her father was a conductor and her mother a musical actress, music has always been in her life. YSN eventually began her own musical journey and made her first debut at the tender age of 23 at a joint concert collaborating with the Korean Symphony Orchestra. The performance was her stepping-stone into the Korean music scene.
Though YSN was making waves in the Korean music scene, she decided to move to Paris in 1995 to study jazz and chanson. Striving for only the best, she enrolled herself into the CIM Jazz School, one of the oldest jazz schools in Europe. She also studied at the National Music Institute of Beauvais as well as the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Conservatory.
At the turn of the millennium, she founded her first Parisian quintet, while it has won a special jury prize at the national jazz competition of the Festival de la Défense. The first of a long list (Jazz Vocal Award from the Académie du Jazz in France, Korean Music Award, Echo Award in Germany …) to one that will be even decorated in 2009 with the insignia of “Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres” by the French Ministry of Culture. In 2013, the Korean government has awarded her with a special prize for her contribution to popular culture and the arts.
Many venues and festivals across the globe also recognize YSN’s talents. She has been invited to perform at numerous events such as Blue Note Jazz Festival, Rochester International Jazz Festival, Jazz at Lincoln Center (USA), Jazz in Marciac, Théâtre du Châtelet, Jazz à Vienne, Printemps de Bourges (France), Montreux Jazz Festival, Verbier Festival, Cully Festival (Switzerland), Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival (Canada), Enjoy Jazz Festival, Women of the World Festival, Klangvokal Musikfestival (Germany), Heineken Jazzaldia San Sebastian (Spain), Rome Jazz festival (Italy), Pori Jazz (Finland), Mai Jazz Festival (Norway), Festival de Wiltz (Luxembourg), Java Jazz Festival (Indonesia), Penang Island Jazz Festival (Malaysia) and Jarasum International Jazz Festival (South Korea), among many others.
Youn Sun Nah’s current projects are her collaboration with Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius as a duo and also as a quartet when they are joined by the French accordionist Vincent Peirani and the double bass player Simon Tailleu.
Born: April 16t, 1958 in Halmstad, Sweden. Ulf Wakenius. A jazz guitarist extraordinaire acclaimed and celebrated all over the world. Between 1997 and 2007 Ulf held what may have been the most prestigious spot in jazz for a guitarist: a chair in the Oscar Peterson Quartet.This was the coronation of a career which included many record-breaking moments.Wakenius guitar duo Guitars Unlimited rocked Scandinavia in the early 80s, culminating in the 1985 Melody Grand Prix, which was seen by 600 million viewers, probably the largest audience a jazz guitar duo ever had. Shortly after that Wakenius started a extremely successful and long-lasting collaboration with the legendary bass player Niels-Henning Örsted Pedersen.( NHOP), and both of his duo albums with bass icon Ray Brown, topped the US Jazz Charts.The last few years he's been touriing the world with the amazing Korean singer Youn Sun Nah.
Oscar Peterson has publicly described Ulf as one of the greatest guitarists alive in the world today and many of today’s most acclaimed jazz guitarists are among Ulf’s fans, including Pat Metheny, John McLaughlin, John Scofield and Mike Stern. Great Rhythmic feel combines with a extraordinary lyrical touch- his emphasis is always on melodies and groove. He has been filmed by Clint Eastwood. His next release on ACT will be Ulf Wakenius-Solo "Momento Magico"
"As an improviser, you often find that it‘s not the compositions themselves you‘re playing, but your own memories of them. And as these memories come back to you in the moment, they assert their continuing existence in the here and now," says pianist/composer Michael Wollny. In other words, songs are like ghosts. Wollny‘s new album "Ghosts" is a gathering of some of the ghosts that regularly haunt him. Typically for Wollny, they range from classics like Franz Schubert's "Erlkönig" to jazz standards, film music, songs with a certain fragility by Nick Cave, say, or the band Timber Timbre, and also include his own darkly evocative original compositions.
In addition to Michael Wollny‘s leanings towards scary fantasy, the idea of "hauntology" is an important one for him. This term, which has been a looming presence in debates about pop music for some time, awakens memories of a distant past: forgotten, ghostly and spectral sounds. Wollny: "This perspective, these sounds and not least the term itself have preoccupied me in the past few months – and those reflections have led to the idea of producing a piano trio album dealing with the subject." A ghost album, then, that ventures into the depths of conscious and unconscious memory, sifts through stories originating in the past and which cast shadows on the present. This is a story of the friendly ghosts which surround us...but also of some evil spirits which we thought would never return.
The line-up to be heard on "Ghosts" is a direct follow-up from "Weltentraum", an album which now clearly stands as a cornerstone in Wollny's discography, since it established his reputation as an artist "who can turn every conceivable piece of music into an experience to take your breath away" (Die Zeit). American bassist Tim Lefebvre‘s very particular sound and vibe are to be heard on albums by David Bowie, Wayne Krantz and Elvis Costello. Wollny‘s most recent adventure alongside him was the internationally acclaimed project "XXXX". Wollny says: "When you work with Tim, you're not just working with one of the world's top bass players - Tim always has a foot in the world of sound processing, and is constantly expanding his electronic tool-kit. In addition to that, he creates phenomenal clarity in music and in overall sound, which has an unbelievable effect: it gives a shape and an organisation to the music without ever restricting you."
Wollny has been playing with drummer Eric Schaefer for almost 20 years. Like Lefebvre, he is also a complete original, a musician with an almost orchestral approach to sound, an unmistakable sense of groove and impressive individuality."The three of us are aligned in a special , inexplicable way. It‘s hard to describe but the effect is massive," says Wollny. "Last but not least, we are connected by the long time we have spent together. As a trio we have a specific sound, and we are now developing that in a wholly new direction." On "Ghosts", the trio has created a sound in the specific tradition of "Southern Gothic": deep, earthy, full of vibrating, rattling low-tuned strings and drumheads, evoking memories of clapped-out guitar amps, distorted cones of speakers cones. The atmosphere here is oppressively hot, the air heavy with dust.
Before "Ghosts" was actually recorded, another trio - Michael Wollny and the two co-producers Andreas Brandis and Guy Sternberg- convened. Brandis, who had already been heavily involved in the concept of "XXXX", brought to the table the concept of an album of songs, with the right people involved. Sternberg - he, as sound engineer, and Wollny had created the sound world of "Wunderkammer", which was to serve as the point of departure for this new album. Wollny says: "Even before the setlist for the album was fixed, I had a very clear sound in mind, which we discussed extensively with Guy and Andreas beforehand." The trio inhabits an acoustic space where nothing is superfluous or goes to waste: the long-dying resonance from a cymbal, drum or plucked string, or a sound from a reverberant surface, all are somehow there in the air. And sometimes all that remains is an acoustic or an electronic echo, a sound that hovers and acquires its own mysterious and spectral existence.
All the tracks on the album have one thing in common: each is a snapshot in the life of an individual song. Wollny: "Especially in jazz, there is never one definitive version of a piece. The standards repertoire always haunts you in the best sense of the word, these songs are never finished, they always resurface." And so, when it comes to classics such as "I Loves You Porgy" and "In a Sentimental Mood", Wollny, Lefebvre and Schaefer‘s primary point of reference is not the original compositions, but versions by Nina Simone and John Coltrane / Duke Ellington. And from a time before jazz standards, there are the spirits that inhabit folk songs and which reappear whenever these songs are sung. As, for example, in the traditional Irish folk song "She Moved Through the Fair", which is almost a prototype for the idea that ghost stories are to a large extent also love stories. As is also the case for "Willow's Song" - a seductive and dangerous love song from the legendary soundtrack for the cinema thriller "Wicker Man", a classic of the Nordic horror genre, as strange as it is frightening. Also related to "grand guignol" and nature: a startlingly vivid arrangement of Franz Schubert's "Erlkönig". In addition, in reference to the sultry "Southern Gothic": "Hand of God" by Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, audibly dedicated to Wollny's great mentor, whom he describes as the "Hand of God", Joachim Kühn. And furthermore, "Beat the drum slowly" by the band Timber Timbre, a perennial favourite of Wollny's, and "Ghosts" by David Sylvian - perhaps the clearest representation of the themes that characterise "Ghosts": here we find that melodies and sounds can haunt memories that stay either hidden or repressed, and in a way that is at the same time seductive, touching, mysterious and profound. Two original compositions by Wollny find their place naturally in this cleverly selected programme, which is as heterogeneous as it is coherent: first is Wollny's eponymous contribution to "Hauntology", for him "a ‘song without words‘ which comes from another, past or strange, parallel pop world" and then "Monsters never breathe" with its melody that stretches into infinity and could only ever be sung if it were possible to sing without needing to pause for breath.
"All the songs are living ghosts and long for a living voice" wrote the Irish poet Brendan Kennelly (1936 - 2021) in one of his most famous poems. For Michael Wollny, this line is a cryptic and yet profound insight. It adds an eerie beauty and serves as a motto for his fascination for the magic of songs which this recording represents. When we talk about ghosts, we look into what seems to be the past, and bring back memories from it into our lives. We as listeners can all believe in the "Ghosts" that the Michael Wollny Trio hear. Because we can all hear them and recognise them.