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Jonas Knutsson

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Fusing together be-bop, big band, folk and world influences, Swedish saxophone player Jonas Knutsson's smooth, free-flowing, improvised style has made him a well-respected fixture on Europe's jazz scene since he first emerged in the early 1980s.

Born in the northern city of Umea, he grew up playing in school bands and the annual music festival hosted by his parents. He studied under the guidance of American saxophonist Sahid Shihab, before starting out his career with experimental rock band Cabazz. He also played with pianist Elise Einardotter's Ensemble, the avant-garde group Ennteli and the Stockholm Folk Big Band, and explored ideas from both jazz and traditional Nordic music on his debut solo album 'Vyer' in 1992.

Though often melodic and expressive, his sound flickered with a sparse, melancholy feel on follow-up albums 'View' and 'Lust', and his baritone saxophone playing drew comparisons with Ornette Coleman and Pharoah Sanders. His work in the 2000s as part of the trio Berger Knutsson Spering was equally experimental and obtuse, but his 2010 album 'Blaslatar' was nominated for a Swedish Grammy Award and he went on to form a quartet for 2014 album 'Foods'. In between teaching and conducting at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, he has also found time to collaborate with trombonist Nils Landren, poet Thomas Tidholm and singer/composer Lena Willemark.
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