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Lundgren recording in Udine, Italy, summer 2013
|Born||22 March 1966
|Labels||Bee Jazz, Fresh Sound, ACT, Marshmallow, Volenza, Sittel, Four Leaf Clover|
Jan Lundgren (born 1966) is a Swedish jazz pianist and composer.
Early life and education
Lundgren was raised in Ronneby in the south of Sweden. He began learning the piano at the age of five, and moved to Malmö in 1986 to study at the Academy of Music. He graduated in 1991 and later became a lecturer at the Academy. Lundgren has been based in Ystad, on Sweden’s southern coast, since 2005.
Lundgren's trio, the Jan Lundgren Trio with Mattias Svensson (bass) and now Zoltan Csörsz (drums), broke through in 1997 with the album Swedish Standards, which won Orkesterjournalen’s Golden Record prize in 1998. In 2007, Lundgren became the first Scandinavian jazz pianist to be named an International Steinway Artist.
Since the early ‘90s, Lundgren has worked with a variety of Sweden’s leading artists both in the studio and/or at concerts. These include, inter alia, Dan Berglund, Povel Ramel, Putte Wickman, Bengan Janson, Jason Diakité, Peter Asplund, Monica Zetterlund, Lill Lindfors, Arne Domnerus, Jacques Werup, Goran Söllscher, Pernilla August, Georg Riedel, Göran Fristorp, Anders Bergcrantz, Sylvia Vrethammar, Jojje Wadenius, Bengt Hallberg, Lars Danielsson, Hayati Kafe, Lars Erstrand, Håkan Hardenberger, Miriam Aida, Ulf Wakenius, Michael Saxell, Rune Gustafsson, Nils Landgren, Pernilla Andersson, Hans Backenroth, LaGaylia Frazier and the Bonfiglioli Weber String Quartet.
Among the international artists Lundgren has worked with are Johnny Griffin, Mark Murphy, Eric Alexander, Richard Galliano, Paolo Fresu, Herb Geller, Joe LaBarbera, Andy Martin, Scott Hamilton, Arild Andersen, Pete Jolly, Bill Perkins, Peter Washington, Billy Drummond, Deborah Brown, Harry Allen, Grégoire Maret, Caecilie Norby, Chuck Berghofer, Tom Warrington, Paul Kreibich, Dave Carpenter, Mark Murphy, Conte Candoli, Jacob Fischer, Lee Konitz, Joe Ascione, Stacey Kent, Charlie Mariano, Jukka Perko, Morten Lund and Wolfgang Haffner.
Lundgren has recorded some 50 discs as leader or co-leader since 1994. These are on labels including ACT, Fresh Sound, Marshmallow, Sittel, Four Leaf Clover, Volenza, Alfa, Gemini and Bee Jazz. Some of Lundgren’s particularly well-received and strongest selling albums include the Fresu-Galliano-Lundgren recording Mare Nostrum (ACT), 2007, which had sold around 50,000 copies by 2014, and Together Again ...At The Jazz Bakery (Fresh Sound), released in 2011, which was chosen by critics at the UK magazine Jazz Journal as the year’s top jazz record. As a sideman, Lundgren has been involved in dozens of other recordings across a broad range of labels.
In addition, Lundgren has produced albums for the Volenza label, including recordings by the John Venkiah Trio, Fanny Gunnarsson Quartet and Hannah Svensson. He has also produced several of his own records.
Lundgren's most recent Trio album, recorded with Svensson and Csörsz, is Flowers Of Sendai (Bee Jazz), released in April 2014. In August 2014, Lundgren released his second solo studio album, All By Myself (Fresh Sound), which is a collection of standards from the great American songbook. The album was voted best new release of 2014 by Jazz Journal's critics. Lundgren's newest release as leader, in January 2016, is a live recording with Mattias Svensson on bass and the Bonfiglioli Weber String Quartet, The Ystad Concert: A Tribute to Jan Johnasson (ACT).
Mark Gilbert of the UK-based Jazz Journal has made the following observation of Lundgren: “He [began] as a classically trained pianist and the practice is unmistakable in the pinpoint precision, lurid articulation, unerring melodic sense and apparently effortless range that characterise his piano playing; he quickly creates a sense of musical security and trust.”
Commenting on Lundgren's 2011 album Together Again ...At The Jazz Bakery, US jazz critic Doug Ramsey wrote: "Mr. Lundgren's clarity of execution matches the clarity of his ideas. He is at the top of his game in all of the elements of jazz pianism: touch, dynamics, harmonic imagination, swing, power and delicacy.”
In his review of Lundgren's 2013 solo album Man In The Fog, Michael Tucker of Jazz Journal cites two tracks as "…delicious examples of this wide-ranging pianist’s clarity of ideas and phrasing and simultaneous delicacy and purposiveness of touch."
In a September 2014 interview with Lundgren published by Marc Myers on his influential JazzWax blog, Myers said of the Trio's Flowers Of Sendai album: "There’s enormous beauty here in chord voicings and how they resolve. It’s impossible not to be moved by the delicacy and beauty."
Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival
In 2010, together with Thomas Lantz, Lundgren founded the annual Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival (YSJF), for which he is Artistic Director. YSJF, which takes place around the first weekend of August each year, has quickly become one of Europe’s leading jazz festivals, involving some 40 concerts by international and Swedish artists. As well as Lundgren, these have included Quincy Jones, Hugh Masekela, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Hiromi, Pat Martino, Youn Sun Nah, Benny Golson, Enrico Pieranunzi, Tomasz Stanko, Kenny Barron, Elina Duni, Fabrizio Bosso, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Bobo Stenson, Nils Landgren, Benny Green, and Eliane Elias. The 2014 festival featured performances by, among others, Charles Lloyd, John Scofied, Abdullah Ibrahim, Dianne Schuur, Joshua Redman, Enrico Rava and Roy Hargrove. YSJF 2015, which ran from 29 July to 2 August, saw concerts by artists including Nils Landgren, Dianne Reeves, Karin Krog, Lars Danielsson Group, Viktoria Tolstoy, Robert Glasper Trio, Kenny Barron and Dave Holland.
The festival is attended by approximately 7,000 people, of which 20% are from outside Sweden. Around 80-100 journalists from a variety of countries are accredited by the festival each year. Well-known jazz writers who have been at and reported on YSJF include Ira Gitler, Michael Tucker and Doug Ramsey.
Lundgren has won several awards in recognition of his work, including the Skåne Region Culture Award (Sweden), awarded in January 2012. On 15 August 2014, Lundgren was named as the winner of the annual Årets Medelpunkt prize, awarded by Skånska Akademien, for his work as co-founder and artistic director of the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival.
1994 – Conclusion (Four Leaf Clover)
1994 – Stockholm-Get-Together (Fresh Sound)
1995 – New York Calling (Alfa)
1996 – Bird of Passage (Four Leaf Clover)
1996 – California Connection (Fresh Sound-Four Leaf Clover)
1996 – Cooking! At the Jazz Bakery (Fresh Sound)
1997 – Swedish Standards (Sittel, re-released by ACT 2009)
1998 – A Touch of You (Alfa)
1999 – Something to Live For (Sittel)
2000 – For Listeners Only (Sittel)
2001 – Jan Lundgren Trio Plays the Music of Victor Young (Sittel)
2001 – Lonely One (Marshmallow)
2001 – Collaboration with Pete Jolly (Fresh Sound)
2001 – Presents Miriam Aida & Fredrik Kronkvist (Sittel)
2002 – Charade (Marshmallow)
2002 – Jan Lundgren Trio Plays the Music of Jule Styne (Sittel)
2003 – Perfidia (Marshmallow)
2003 – Svenska landskap [aka Landscapes] (Sittel)
2003 – Blue Lights (Marshmallow)
2003 – Celebrating the Music of Matt Dennis (Fresh Sound)
2004 – Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (Marshmallow)
2004 – En sommarkonsert (with Putte Wickman and Göran Fristorp)
2004 – We Will Always Be Together with Putte Wickman (Gazell)
2005 – In New York (Marshmallow)
2005 – An Intimate Salute to Frankie with Putte Wickman (Gazell)
2006 – Lockrop with Georg Riedel (Gemini)
2006 – Plays Cole Porter Love Songs (Marshmallow)
2006 – History of Piano Jazz [solo piano] (Fagerdala Event)
2006 – How About You with Andy Martin (Fresh Sound)
2007 – A Swinging Rendezvous (Marshmallow)
2007 – Mare Nostrum with Paolo Fresu & Richard Galliano (ACT)
2007 – Magnum Mysterium (ACT)
2008 – Soft Summer Breeze (Marshmallow)
2009 – European Standards with Mattias Svensson & Zoltan Csörsz Jr (ACT)
2009 – Jul på Svenska with Georg Wadenius & Arild Andersen (EMI)
2010 – Too Darn Hot (Volenza)
2011 – Back 2 Back with Bengt Hallberg (Volenza)
2011 – Together Again ...At The Jazz Bakery with Chuck Berghofer & Joe La Barbera (Fresh Sound)
2012 – Until It’s Time with LaGaylia Frazier (Prophone)
2013 – Man in the Fog [solo piano] (Bee Jazz)
2013 – Jul på Norska with Georg Wadenius & Arild Andersen (EMI)
2013 – I Love Jan Lundgren Trio with Mattias Svensson & Zoltan Csörsz Jr (Figaro)
2014 – Flowers Of Sendai with Mattias Svensson & Zoltan Csörsz Jr (Bee Jazz)
2014 – All By Myself [solo piano] (Fresh Sound)
2014 – Quietly There with Harry Allen (Stunt)
2015 – A Retrospective [compilation] (Fresh Sound)
2016 – The Ystad Concert: A Tribute to Jan Johansson with Mattias Svensson & Bonfiglioli Weber String Quartet (ACT)
2016 – Mare Nostrum II with Paolo Fresu & Richard Galliano (ACT)
2017 – Potsdamer Platz (ACT)
- Jazz Journal, February 2014, p11
- Jazz Journal, December 2013, p32