Take Five With Jens Persson

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Meet Jens Persson: Started playing the alto saxophone when I was about 14. The music was mostly swing and bebop in the beginning but has developed over the years.

I play in all kinds of bands: swing, reggae, free improv, big bands and more.

I have my own group, Perssons Sexa (Perssons Six), which plays my original music.

I really enjoy playing all kinds of music.



Teachers and/or influences?

I've had teachers such as Fredrik Kronkvist, Andreas Andersson, Peter Nilsson, Mattias Hjort and Cennet Jønsson over the years.

Musical influences comes from everywhere; can be jazz musicians like John Coltrane
John Coltrane
John Coltrane
1926 - 1967
, Brian Blade
Brian Blade
Brian Blade
, Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
Wayne Shorter
, Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
Ornette Coleman
1930 - 2015
sax, alto
, Steve Lehman
Steve Lehman
Steve Lehman

sax, alto
, Peter Brötzmann
Peter Brötzmann
Peter Brötzmann
, Fredrik Ljungkvist, and many more.

I also enjoy listening a lot to artists like Aphex Twin, Burial, Björk, The Roots, J Dilla, Telefon Tel Aviv, Biosphere, Brian Eno, Arvo Pårt, Steve Reich
Steve Reich
Steve Reich
and many, many more.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when...

For ever really. It's always been there

Your sound and approach to music:

I try not to limit myself to a genre, to a sound or anything else. What comes out and feels good to play, I play. I like to be broad in my musical taste and expression and I believe that there is a lot of creative music out there, not limited to jazz music only.

Your dream band:

Playing alongside Wayne Shorter would be interesting, his musical approach is inspiring.

The first Jazz album I bought was:

Probably Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
Julian "Cannonball" Adderley
1928 - 1975
's Something Else. Love it today as well.

What do you think is the most important thing you are contributing musically?

Being true to oneself and creating music from that. I enjoy using music as an enhancer for reality: when I'm sad I listen to this and when I'm happy I listen to that. That is an important aspect of music that people use in their everyday life, and I hope my music can contribute to that.

CDs you are listening to now:

Wayne Shorter Quartet, Without a Net (Blue Note);

Steve Lehman, Demian as Posthuman (Pi Recordings);

Per Henrik Wallin, Where is Spring (Dragon);

Cid Rim, Cid Rim (Micro Album)—Lucky me.

Desert Island picks:

Aphex Twin, Selected ambient works Volume II (Warp);

J Dilla, The Shining (BBE Records);

Wayne Shorter Quartet, Without a Net (Blue Note);

Brian Blade Fellowship—any of them (Blue Note and Verve);

Keith Jarrett , The Köln Concert (ECM).

How would you describe the state of jazz today?

Pretty conservative. There are other genres that seem to be more creative. But there is always stuff happening, and if you dig a little deeper there are a lot of amazing musicians and bands doing awesome music.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing?

An open mind. Not being scared of change; society is changing and we have to just follow the flow and be creative. I think it's a little boring how so many seem to glorify the "golden days" of jazz and limit themselves to playing in that one style, otherwise it's not real jazz. I love that music too, but I try to use that in my way with new music.

What is in the near future?

Got a record coming up with my own band, Perssons Sexa. It will be released in May, 2013. Otherwise we have a few gigs with Makross.

What song would you like played at your funeral?

"Ride of the Valkyries," by Richard Wagner, of course.

Photo Credit

Courtesy of Jens Persson
Jens Persson
Jens Persson

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