|Excerpts from an interview article in the Swedish periodical Lira:|
It is only logical for visual art to be at the core of Lars Jansson's life. His music brings images to mind. The trio plays his gorgeous, tender pieces. He has also composed forceful, loving, harmonious works for Bohuslñn Big Band, and performed these pieces with them. Listening to Jansson's music, depending on the piece and the context, can mean imagining a flickering, solitary candle or a powerful, glorious autumnal landscape.
"I certainly don't take a painting off the wall and put it in front of me at the piano when I compose, but I do like my world to be full of interesting, fascinating images, and I am sure they leave their mark. Though I'm not sure exactly how." These are the words of 54-year-old Jansson who, with his unique, Nordic tonalities, has been a member of the Swedish jazz elite for more than 20 years. He has managed both to have an international career with his trio and to develop into an experienced, applauded, composer and arranger of music for big band. He developed a particular penchant for the art of Mimmo Paladino, an Italian artist who has designed the covers of most of Lars Jansson's discs. "I usually phone Mimmo and tell him about our latest recording. After that he works fast and I always like his ideas.
Lars Jansson also very much appreciates the art of Antonio Tapies. What appeals to him is the spontaneity and playfulness in the art of this Spaniard, in combination with the spiritual dimension. "His work makes me meditative, shifts me into a sort of flow in which I forget myself, my ego, my mind trips, making way for the collective subconscious, for creativity." This enthusiastic description of Tapies' work also seems to be something of a declaration of Lars Jansson's own platform. Over the years, concepts such as the subconscious, flow, the ego, self meditation and spirituality have preoccupied him. He loves to talk, with no claim to pretension, about the fathers of psychoanalysis, Freud and Jung, about archetypes, Zen Buddhism, and the search for the meaning of life.
And it is all part of his music, as well, the language he so skilfully masters.
He says: "One of the most incredible things about music is that it is a universal language with which you can communicate with people who live on the other side of the world. Having toured Japan with his trio 11 times, Lars can personally attest to the truth of that statement. His music, composed by a creative, sensitive extrovert from far, far away, is very popular with the Japanese. Tangible proof was evident in 2002 when the trio's CD "Witnessing" won first place as the Best Scandinavian jazz recording, and took home an honourable fifteenth place in the overall category of jazz.
Jansson has also had international success closer to home. The trio's CD "Hope" was widely praised in Denmark in 1999, and won a Grammy in 2000 for the best foreign jazz recording. The impressive statuette, "Icarus", stands in his kitchen window, brightening his home with hope.
He says: "I was thrilled, not least because I had been disappointed that my last few recordings had received no award nominations in Sweden."
The year before the Grammy saw another extraordinary event in Denmark, where Jansson was on tour. He was breakfasting at his hotel with Danish jazz bass player Peter Vuust, who is also a lecturer at the _rhus music conservatory: "Suddenly he asked: eHow would you like to be a professor at my University?f I thought I was going to fall of my chair, and started to laugh. It was a fantastic offer, a once in a lifetime thing." Lars said yes, and embarked on three years at the _rhus Conservatory, followed by two years at the Esbjerg Conservatory.