“Funky, jazzy, inventive” | Interview with Jon Thorstensen

Classic funky lines, first-rate chord progressions and sensational improvisations.  Click play and feed some Jazz to your soul. Read our discussion with the artist below!

Describe your sound in three words

Funky, jazzy, inventive

Tell us a few things about your creative process

My creative process can come from many places. It can involve playing the piano, the guitar, singing a groove or melody. I like the creative process specially after the writing, where other musicians interact and we form the music together.

The groove in your songs is splendid. Tell us the best funky drop, you wish you had composed yourself?

I love the sound of the 70’s like EW&F, The Meters, Quincy Jones, Steely Dan, Stevie Wonder, The Commodores, and more modern music like Vulfpeck, John Scofield’s funkier side. I recently saw the Quincy Jones documentary. I would really like to be in the Q-gang playing/composing «Rock with you» (Michael Jackson).

You mostly focus on instrumental music. Is the absence of vocals an extra challenge when it comes to promotion?

I have always composed instrumentals, I am not a great singer.. In the jazz world there is a lot of instrumental music, so I dont think it’s a challenge.

Jazz music as a genre has been accused as music for snobs. Is jazz music elitist?

That’s a good question, and I think it sometimes can be kind of snobby. I am a fan of the fantastic guitarist Bill Frisell, he combines jazz and country. Snobby meets the folky and earthy. Its a sound a lot of people can relate to. I will release my new jazz single on Friday this week (22.10). It is a mix between country and jazz. Like a conversation between Johnny Cash and John Scofield. My composing is also full of hybrids, where I mix everything I like. I use inspiration and elements from funk, blues, country, pop, rock, soul, classical (Beethoven) in my tunes. But if you look at the history when Miles Davis released Kind of Blue, it spread jazz to all kinds of listeners. The music is «easy», full of emotions and I think universal. I try to make my music emotional, enjoyable and «understandable». There are some snobs out there, but real music lovers will listen to great players and composers like Miles, Trane, Bird and Duke. After Trump and all that shit, I think the world must invest more in schools and education for all people. Jazz… and country music… and Beethoven should be part of the curriculum. It should not only be the aesthetics of the elite.

Artists and people who have influenced and inspired you?

On top of my list it is Ludvig van Beethoven, no doubt about that. The first free artist in all of arts. He is the giant. You can listen to his works and always find new stuff, details and crazy modulations between keys and chords. I am a great fan of The Beatles, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Igor Stravinsky, Johannes Brahms, Willie Nelson, James Taylor

I love the sound of the 70’s like EW&F, The Meters, Quincy Jones, The Commodores, and more modern music like Vulfpeck, Jakob Collier,

What do you enjoy most? Writing music or performing your music live? What would be your dream performance venue?

I must say I love both. Post-covid its great playing gigs again. I play different kind of music (not only elitistic jazz, haha). I am playing guitars and Fender Rhodes (el-piano) with a great band «José Leguina and Gamlebyen». We are playing all kinds of strange music, you can call it Dark Americana, or maybe Dark Norwegicana, since we live in Norway.

Dream performance venue, Royal Albert Hall and the crazy bars and music clubs in Berlin (Germany).

If you could wake up and have a new skill, what would that be?

The movie Groundhog Day once more and I wake up being a professional skater and concert pianist.

Thank you!

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