The Swede with the Warm Nordic Touch
The internationally acclaimed and award-winning Swedish pianist Mattias Nilsson (b.1980), melts together the tradition of jazz piano with the Nordic tonal language, which gives him a musical landscapes with totally new shades of color. With a very warm, personal touch in mind, Nilsson adds to his palette of musical colors the rich and varied traditions of Swedish folk music, hymns, native composers, and not least, his original compositions. "...some might want to place him among the Swedish pianists that followed after Jan Johansson, but Nilsson is so much more than that" (Salt Peanuts, Nordic-Baltic), "Nilsson now must be counted among the best in Sweden on his instrument.” (OrkesterJournalen, SE).
Born in Karlskrona in the south of Sweden on October 20, 1980, Mattias started to play the piano at the age of 4. At only the age of 8, Mattias made his debut by accompanying the famous Swedish operetta singer Sonja Stjernquist.
As a child he was always surrounded by the music his father loved, especially jazz and classical music. At an early age Mattias was given classical piano lessons from his father, who soon found out that Mattias wanted to improvise instead of playing what was written. And that´s how it all began.
After diverse studies in African-American music and tradition, Nilsson began his freelancing career, playing with different groups as well as different musical styles, ranging from jazz, blues, gospel and latin, to rock and pop. Offered a place at the Musical Academy in Malmo 2004, he turned it down choosing to go his own way, and learn from experience.
The Jazz club “The Way WE Play” was opened by Nilsson in the autumn of 2007. Without any financial support, he managed to create a new live jazz venue in Malmo. With concerts and jam sessions every week, it offered local musicians a new outlet for creativity and with the jam sessions; it eventually became the meeting place for musicians and creative people, as well as for the growing and enthusiastic audience.
In January 2011, Mattias returned to Chile to share Swedish music with musicians living in the country. This was hugely appreciated by both the musicians that he played with and by the audiences who were delighted with their fresh versions of Swedish folk songs, ballads, and hymns. In May the same year, Mattias was invited by the Swedish Embassy in Santiago to play for the Swedish Prime Minister’s first official visit to Chile.
In 2013 Mattias received the prestigious Swedish Harry Arnold Scholarship and later that year he performed solo at the 23rd Akbank International Jazz Festival in Istanbul which marked the beginning of his solo career at the international scene. Since 2014 he is also working with international jazz singer Sharón Clark from US.
Dreams of Belonging (2016) his first release as leader, is a solo work that features eight Swedish folk songs, hymns, more modern pieces and three original Nilsson compositions, plus a ‘classic’ John Hartford cover. The album represents the culmination of a long journey for Nilsson, and the discovery of an individual voice, combined with a deep-seated love for the music of his homeland. The album received five stars (5/5) in Ystads Allehanda (SE) and Kristianstadsbladet (SE) and is also written about in Jazzflashes (UK), DIG Jazz (SE) and SaltPeanuts (Nordic/Baltic). It was followed by an international release tour in France, Sweden and the UK.
Mattias has toured and performed in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, UK, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Poland, Spain, Holland, Croatia, Turkey, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Zambia, United States and Latin America with regular visits to Chile where he also was invited by the Swedish Embassy in 2011 to play for the Swedish Prime Minister´s on his first visit to the country.
Dreams of Belonging (2016)
Mattias Nilsson (pi)
AS A CO-LEADER
Silent Nights (2015)
Mattias Nilsson (pi), Ray Aichinger (sax)
AS A SIDEMAN
Give Me Time - Anna Pauline Andersson (2015)
Anna Pauline Andersson (voc), Mattias Nilsson (pi), Karl-Martin Almqvist (ts), Mårten Lundgren (tp), Elias Källvik (git), David Andersson (bs), Andreas Baw (dr)
A Tribute to Milt Jackson, vol. 2 - Roger Svedberg & Friends (2012)
Roger Svedberg (vib), Klas Toresson (ts), Mattias Nilsson (pi) / Daniel Tilling (pi), Hans Backenroth (bs), Bengt Stark (dr)