Jon Larsen

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Not to be confused with the Danish drummer Jon Larsen (Danish musician).
Jon Larsen
Jon Larsen.jpg
Jon Larsen, 2008
Background information
Born (1959-01-07) 7 January 1959 (age 58)
Bærum, Norway
Origin Norway
Genres jazz, gypsy jazz
Occupation(s) musician, composer, painter, scientific researcher
Instruments guitar
Labels Hot Club Records
Associated acts Hot Club de Norvège

Jon Larsen (born 7 January 1959 in Bærum, Norway) is an autodidact guitarist, composer, surrealistic painter, author, scientific reseracher, and record producer with heavy influence on the revival of Gypsy jazz worldwide. Founder of the Hot Club de Norvège (1979-), the Django Festival (1980-), Hot Club Records (1982-), Symphonic Django (2005-), Zonic Entertainment (2007-), and Den Gyldne Banan ("The Golden Banana", art book publishing company) (2009-), and the Project Stardust (micrometeorites), in 2010. In 2007 he received the Buddy Award for his lifelong contribution to jazz.[1][2]


Larsen started out as a painter and guitar player, inspired by Salvador Dalí, Django Reinhardt and Frank Zappa. Later he changed to composition, and created numerous crossover projects with jazz/classical ensembles - gypsy jazz groups together with classical string quartets, chamber orchestras and full symphony orchestras. He had his first concerts at the Moldejazz and meet with the Norwegian pioner jazz guitarist Robert Normann, with whom he started work on reissuing his collected recordings, completed 1988.[1][2][3]

He has produced more than 450 jazz records for Hot Club Records, including CDs with Chet Baker, Stephane Grappelli, Warne Marsh, Nappy Brown, Philip Catherine, and most of the prominent Gypsy jazz musicians, like Biréli Lagrène, Jimmy Rosenberg, Andreas Öberg, Angelo Debarre, Florin Nicolescu, Babik Reinhardt, Stochelo Rosenberg and Adrien Moignard.[1]

In recent years he has been leading the Strange News From Mars project, featuring various Frank Zappa alumni: Tommy Mars, Bruce Fowler, Arthur Barrow, Don Preston, Bunk Gardner, Jimmy Carl Black,[4] etc. He is also working as a producer for the label Zonic Entertainment, exclusively dedicated to music inspired by Zappa.[2]

Documentation on Jon Larsen is to be found on many CDs, DVDs, in books, and films. Symphonic Django was presented (also on DVD) 2008 by Storm Film, who also produced a film documentary about Jon Larsen and the guitar virtuoso Jimmy Rosenberg, Jon & Jimmy (2010, winner of the Dutch Edison Award).[1][2]


Jon Larsen started out as a painter, inspired by surrealism, especially Salvador Dalí. He made his debut solo exhibition of pictures as early as April 1976, the same month he had his first gig with the string trio Clo-Z. This was followed by annual exhibitions until 1995, when he started composing music full-time. 1976-78 he received training in drawing by his mentor, the Polish artist Ryszard Warsinski. In 1978 he moved to Barcelona, in order to study Salvador Dalí, and became a part of the Catalán surrealist movement at the time. In 1979 he returned to Norway, and established the jazz quartet, Hot Club de Norvège, but continued to paint full-time. Larsen's paintings are often atmospheric landscapes, filled with stones, mountains and unexpected objects, and are often humorous or whimsical. A book about Jon Larsen's surrealistic pictures, "Maler i solnedgang" (170 pictures, text in Norwegian), was released in May 2009. In 2011 a retrospective exhibition with Jon 42 of Larsen's main works was held in Trondheim and Ålesund.


Solo works[edit]

Within Hot Club de Norvège[edit]

  • String Swing - 1981
  • Old, New, Borrowed & Blue - 1982
  • Gloomy - 1984
  • Swing de Paris - 1986
  • La Roue Fleurie (with Angelo Debarre) - 1992
  • Swinging With Jimmy (with Jimmy Rosenberg) - 1994
  • Portrait Of Django (with various French gypsy musicians) - 1995
  • Vertavo (with Vertavo String Quartet) - 1995
  • Hot Shots (with Babik Reinhardt, etc.) - 1997
  • Moreno (with Moreno and Angelo Debarre) - 1998
  • Presenting Ola & Jimmy (with Ola Kvernberg and Jimmy Rosenberg) - 2000
  • Angelo Is Back In Town (with Angelo Debarre) - 2001
  • White Night Stories (with Tromso Symphony Orchestra) - 2002
  • White Night Stories Live - 2002
  • Django's Tiger (with Jimmy Rosenberg and Andreas Öberg) - 2003
  • A Stranger In Town (with Bjørn Vidar Solli) - 2004
  • Hot Cats (with Camelia String Quartet) - 2005
  • Django Music - 2008
  • The Best Of Hot Club de Norvège - 2009
  • Caution HOT! - 2013

Main compositions[edit]

  • Jimmy's Suite - 1993
  • Vertavo - 1995
  • White Night Stories - 2002
  • Short Stories From Catalonia (Musique Noir) - 2005
  • Luna Suite - 2006
  • Strange News From Mars - 2007



  • Symphonic Django - Storm Studio - 2007
  • Jon & Jimmy - Storm Studio - 2010. Winner of the Dutch Edison Award 2010.


  • NOPA's "Composition Of The Year", for Jimmy's Suite - 1993
  • Buddyprisen (for lifelong contribution to jazz) - 2007
  • The Council of Oslo's Artist's Award - 2008
  • The Kardemomme Award (Thorbjorn Egner's legacy) - 2009
  • Audun Tyldens Minnepris (the record producers' award) - 2013


  1. ^ a b c d Lauvland Pettersen, Tomas (13 December 2005). "Jon Larsen Biography". Norsk Biografisk Leksikon. Kunnskapsforlaget. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Jon Larsen Biography". All About Jazz. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  3. ^ "United Mutations". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Jon Larsen on 28-October-2007 recalls working with Jimmy Carl Black just before his death". Retrieved 23 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "Jon Larsen Review". Retrieved 2 December 2012. 
  6. ^ Westengen, Rune (25 January 2010). "Jon Larsen: A Portrait of Jon Larsen (Hot Club Records) Review" (in Norwegian). Romerikes Blad. Retrieved 2 December 2012. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Paal Nilssen-Love
Recipient of the Buddyprisen
Succeeded by
Frode Gjerstad