The Swede with the Warm Nordic Touch
The internationally acclaimed and award-winning Swedish pianist Mattias Nilsson regarded as one of the most respected pianists of Sweden, possesses ”an enormous degree of energy and musical flexibility, as well as a very personal and appealing melodic sense…” (Skånska Dagbladet). He melts together the tradition of jazz piano with the Nordic tonal language, which gives him a musical landscapes with 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.
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.
In 2007, the Mattias Nilsson trio went on tour to Chile. In just 17 days the trio performed 15 concerts and were warmly received everywhere they performed. The following year, in 2008, he was named Jazz musician of the year in Skåne for the second time, having also won the previous year, by jazz critic, Jan Olsson, of Skånska Dagbladet. He was also awarded the Lomma Culture Prize in the same year.
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 23nd Akbank Jazz Festival in Istanbul, which marked the beginning of his international solo career.
2016, after 11 years as a professional pianist, Mattias Nilsson releases his first album as a leading pianist, Dreams of Belonging. A solo piano album featuring 8 songs from Sweden (native composers, folk songs, hymns, as well as his own originals) and a John Hartford cover Gentle on My Mind.
Mattias is also one of the most sought-after pianists as a sideman and has worked/recorded with Butch Miles, Jesper Thilo, Svante Thuresson, Mads Vinding, Bo Stief, Sharón Clark, Kristin Korb, José Gil Pinera, Tino Gonzales among others. He has toured and performed in Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, France, Austria, Holland, Croatia, Turkey, United States and Latin America.
Dreams of Belonging (2016)
Mattias Nilsson (pi)
AS A CO-LEADER
Silent Nights (2015) - with Ray Aichinger
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)