Staffan William-Olsson

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Staffan William-Olsson
Staffan William-Olsson Oslo Jazzfestival Herr Nilsen (160710).jpg
William-Olsson at Oslo Jazzfestival 2016
Background information
Born (1959-12-13) 13 December 1959 (age 57)
Gothenburg, Sweden
Genres Jazz
Occupation(s) Musician, composer
Instruments Guitar
Labels Real Music Records
Associated acts The Real Thing
Sharp 9
Staffan William-Olsson Trio
Staffan William Olsson Quartet
Staffan William-Olsson Sekstett

Staffan William-Olsson (born 13 December 1959 in Gothenburg, Sweden) is a Swedish Jazz musician (guitar) and composer, known guitarist of The Real Thing, and the collaborations with the likes of Bob Berg, Lee Konitz and Palle Mikkelborg.[1][2]


He played piano, guitar and drums already at the age of 7, and studied classical piano with a jazz-oriented teacher. Eventually he was oriented towards the guitar, with the blues and rock music as main sources of influence (Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple and Led Zeppelin as main models).

When he discovered jazz-rock, Weather Report, John McLaughlin and Allan Holdsworth among others became the new sources of inspiration. George Benson's record Bad Benson was a turning point, it opened up his ears for the clean, undistorted guitar sound, and guitarists like Pat Martino was a great influence.

William-Olsson was after classical piano studies at Göteborg Musikhögskola (he is autodidact guitarist), the replacement for Ulf Wakenius in the Swedish fusion band Hawk on Flight, and also collaborated with such as Bob Berg, Lee Konitz and Palle Mikkelborg.[1]

He moved to Oslo in 1986 and worked as a freelance guitarist before becoming a part of the hard rock band Sons of Angels in 1989. The band signed a recording contract with Atlantic Records, and toured the east coast of US and Europe. The album sold 100,000 copies, and the band broke up.[3]

The Real Thing was established in 1992. The solo albums Three Shades of Blue (1995) and Smile! (1998), was bouth nominated for the Spellemannprisen. Thereafter he has released two more albums, Oak Road Boogaloo (2000) and Pop! (2002). William-Olsson started the mini big band "Sharp 9" in 2005, inspired by the likes of Art Pepper and Miles Davis. Within "Sharp 9" he released NO:Network (2004) and Sudoku (2007).[3]


Solo works[edit]

  • 1995: Three Shades of Blue (Real Music Records)
  • 1998: Smile! (Real Music Records)
  • 2000: Oak Road Boogaloo (Real Music Records)
  • 2002: Pop! (Real Music Records)

Collaborative works[edit]

Within The Real Thing
With "Sharp 9»
  • 2004: NO:Network (Real Music Records)
  • 2007: Sudoku (Real Music Records)
With Terje Gewelt
  • 2013: Steppingstone (Resonant Music), including with Adam Nussbaum


  1. ^ a b Staffan William-Olsson (in Norwegian). Store Norske Leksikon. Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  2. ^ "Oslo Jazzfestival presenterer: Staffan William-Olsson Sekstett" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  3. ^ a b Charlotte Braten (21 September 2007). "Staffan William-Olsson – Ukas P2-artist 18.- 22. august 2007 kjent med Staffan William-Olsson" (in Norwegian). Retrieved 2012-10-30. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bodil Niska
Recipient of the Sildajazzprisen
Succeeded by
Christina Bjordal