2018 is coming to an end soon & to wrap up this year’s #AzCreativeFridays interview is the one and only Jens Larsen, an incredibly prolific jazz guitar educator. I’ve been inspired by his work and am very happy to feature in today’s Creative Fridays. Let’s learn more about him.
Jens Larsen is a jazz guitarist, composer and arranger in the groups Træben, Yvonne Smeets Group, Jazz4kids and Wijnen, Winter & Larsen.
Besides performing, he teaches guitar at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. He also produces jazz guitar lessons on YouTube and writes articles for jazz publications.
And here we go!
1. What’s your latest project?
I have a few project running actually. Mostly I am working with my trio and with the Organ Trio: Wijnen, Winter & Larsen. We just did a few concerts and hopefully I can post some videos from them soon. I am also going on a small tour in Spain at the end of August with Marcos Pin to release his album.
2. What inspires your music?
Mostly the people around me, whether it is colleagues, students or my family. Being around other people is always full of experiences. Beyond that I am mostly inspired by music. Often the music I write will have an element from another style of music than jazz, and I like exploring different kinds of music.
3. What’s your 5 Desert Island Albums?
John Scofield : What we do, the first Scofield album I got into and one of the first jazz albums I liked. Everybody plays amazing on this album
Kurt Rosenwinkel: East Coast Love Affair. I have listened so much to this album and check out so manu things from it. Kurts playing on this is incredible
Keith Jarrett: Still Live. The intro to My Funny Valentine is magical!
The Stone Roses: The Stone Roses. This record I checked out so much when I just started playing electric guitar, the production and playing is great. Lyrics are also great, vocals are so so John Squire is really a bit overlooked.
Jimi Hendrix : Are you experienced together with Stevie Ray Vaughan Jimi was everything I wanted to play for a few years. This is probably the album I listened the most too. Again also amazing and creative production.
Really I could mention another 20 bands or artists that blow my mind from Jazz to North African music and from Metal to EDM, but that is for another time
4. Who’s one artist/musician that you love but most people probably don’t know of?
When I first got into jazz I was transcribing a Danish guitarist that is an amazing mainstream player. I learned so much from this Thomas Fryland album of standards, and Jacobs playing is both traditional, musical and still adventureous. A must for anybody who wants to play jazz.
5. As an extremely prolific jazz guitarist and educator, what has been your biggest challenge in your work? How did you overcome it?
As a guitarist probably my biggest problem in the beginning was that I was very insecure and had a few key people, like teachers and bandmates, tell me that it was pointless to try to become a jazz guitarist at 22. Luckily I had a lot of faith in my own ability to learn and I am as stubborn as a mule so I just worked harder to prove them wrong. Working hard is probably my biggest talent
6. What’s an advice you wish someone told you when you started in the arts?
Maybe this is only really relevant for Jazz, but in hindsight I think what I have learned the most from was playing with others. Learning from other musicians and especially other instruments was very helpful for me. Playing with other people is also motivating and the place where you can put all the things you practice to use.
7. How do we reach you?
Other Website(s): https://www.patreon.com/jenslarsen
Thank you for reading this week’s instalment of #AzCreativeFridays. Please do check out the past interviews (33 so far, including this one) and stay tuned for the next Creative Fridays in 2019! 🙂
Read the recent [Creative Fridays] interview:
[Creative Fridays] #14 : Taylor Roberts
7-String Solo Guitarist
[Creative Fridays] #15: Dylan Lee
[Creative Fridays] #16: Scott Murphy
Saxophonist and Composer
[Creative Fridays] #17: Nisa Addina
[Creative Fridays] #18: Jake Shimabukuro
[Creative Fridays] #19: Jared Sims
[Creative Fridays] #20: Gabriel Lynch
[Creative Fridays] #21: Rizal Tony
Jazz Guitarist and Educator
[Creative Fridays] #22: Raja Farouk
Multi-Instrumentalist and Sessionist
[Creative Fridays] #23: Kho Chia Wen Sharon
[Creative Fridays] #24: Josh Maxey
Jazz Guitarist & Educator
[Creative Fridays] #25: Toru Watanabe
[Creative Fridays] #26: Jordan Klemons
Jazz Guitarist & Music Educator
[Creative Fridays] #27: Armen Movsesyan
Jazz Guitarist & Music Educator
[Creative Fridays] #28: Gwen Guo
[Creative Fridays] #29: Sean McGowan
[Creative Fridays] #30: Rendra Zawawi
Film Music Composer
[Creative Fridays] #31 : Norihiro Kikuta
Guitarist and Composer
[Creative Fridays] #32: Henk Kraaijeveld
Jazz Vocalist and Songwriter
[About Creative Fridays]
The original Creative Fridays was an interview series I did back in 2012. Published on my website, www.azsamad.com, it explored the musical influences of various musicians from all over the world. Relaunching this now in 2018, there are some cool add-ons. For a super obvious one, we’ve now added Spotify and YouTube links whenever possible for the Desert Island Albums list.
This to me is amazing because you can actually immediately listen to the recommended albums. Coming from a generation that used to make trips to the record store to check out new music, it still boggles my mind that we can immediately listen to the records that is recommended here. Imagine if you listened to the 5 suggested albums – how much could you learn from it?
Also, in addition to the original questions from the series, I’ve added a new question into the mix asking about the biggest challenge each individual has faced in their work. I’ve found that we all can benefit by learning from one another. Let’s share and grow together!
If you know a musician who you think could be a good fit to be featured in Creative Fridays, please contact me with your ideas. The focus is in diversity for music, cultural background, geography, age and experience. It doesn’t matter where you are around the world, if you’re a creative making interesting music on an interesting journey and have something to share, please reach out to me. Please do note, due to this being a weekly series, the interview may be featured later in the year depending scheduling.
Thank you! 🙂
[The Original Series]
Season 1: Every week for 13 weeks, published from Feb 2012 to April 2012.
[Creative Fridays] #1 : Kevin Broken Scar
(Melbourne Singer-Songwriter/Sound Engineer)
[Creative Fridays] #2 : Deborah Crooks
(SF Bay Area Singer-Songwriter)
[Creative Fridays] #3 : Dylan Kay
(UK/Auckland Jazz Guitarist)
[Creative Fridays] #4 : Azmyl Yunor
(Malaysian Singer-Songwriter/College Lecturer)
[Creative Fridays] #5 : Gustavo Assis-Brasil
(Boston Jazz Guitarist/Educator)
[Creative Fridays] #6 : TragiComedy
[Creative Fridays] #7 : Candelaria
(Oakland Cumbia-Dub Band)
[Creative Fridays] #8 : Pete Teo
[Creative Fridays] #9 : Lori McKinney
(West Virginia Bandleader/Festival Organizer)
[Creative Fridays] #10: Helen Sherrah-Davies
(UK/Boston Violinist-Composer & Berklee faculty)
[Creative Fridays] #11: Adam Everett
(SF Bay Area Drummer-Composer)
[Creative Fridays] #12: Julian Chan
(Malaysian Jazz Saxophonist)
[Creative Fridays] #13: Sharon Chong
(Malaysian Keyboardist and Vocalist]
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