I am an Improvising double bass player.
Improvisation is a way for me to express myself unconditionally. A way to communicate and to open myself emotionally and musically. A way to listen to myself, my instrument, my co-musicians and the spatial environment. I use contemporary techniques in my improvisations. For me, these techniques have a similar function in my music as the vocabulary in the languages that I speak. Without technical skills, you simply do not have any musical language and without a musical language you cannot express your art.
Since 20 years I have been working within the genres of modern jazz, improvised and contemporary music as a professional double-bass player and teacher. I have toured frequently in several different countries in Europe, as well as Brazil, Vietnam, Gambia, Mali and USA and have appeared on more than 40 recordings. My curiosity and urge to go deeper in the music as a double bass player and as an Improviser has brought me together with several musicians and dancers around the world. Agustí Fernández, Joe Morris, Ramon Lopez, Albert Cirera, Stefan Östersjö, Núria Andorrà, Kresten Osgood, Nguyễn Thanh Thủy, Martin Küchen, Håkon Berre, Sture Ericson, Fred Lonberg Holm, Lotte Anker, Ståle Liavik & Vasco Trilla are just some of them. I have got four Contemporary solo & duo pieces dedicated to me by Henrik Denerin, Stefan Pöntinen & Jonatan Sersam and I currently conduct artistic research (Advanced Post Graduate Diploma) at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen
photo: Christer Männikus
“His bass playing naturally finds the important common denominators, and composition-wise, every ingredient serves its purpose.”
Johannes Cornell; Dagens Nyheter (Sweden’s most influential newspaper)
“Nästesjö is extremely confident with his compositions, which is shown through his sensitive and excellent bass playing”
Stefan Nilsson; Nerikes Allehanda (newspaper)
“It’s not the instrumentation in itself that makes the music interesting – double bass, violin, glockenspiel and baritone saxophone should, by the way, meet more often – it’s rather Johannes Nästesjö’s inventive compositions and his brilliant arrangement skills.”
Peter Bornemar; Dig Jazz (jazz magazine)
There are discussions within the Improvised music-scene about whether solo concerts can be improvised or not. Why? Simply because you don’t have any fellow musicians with whom you can communicate. Sure, the concept of a solo concert is radically different from any form of ensemble concert (duo, trio and so on). But just because you play solo doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate as a solo artist. as Evan Parker said:
“When you play solo, you’ve got all the space, the acoustic space, the artistic space, It’s all yours. But also you have to do all the work, so the two things balance out in some ways. All the space – but all the responsibility as well. (Denzler & Guionnet,2020, page 148)”
So, I think that for sure you can communicate while you are improvising as a solo artist. However, you are communicating with the spatiality and with your audience and with yourself. As a solo-artist, I tend to and also have the possibilities to structure a musical form both before and during my performances. When I play with others, it’s more about intuitive communication between musicians. Ultimately the momentous moment-the most important detail in all kinds of settings, is to find flow. To end up in a state where everything revolves around the art and the here and now.
A poetic reflection about the video
To express the full spectrum of musical dynamics.
To evoke a unique experience found between a detuned E (C) string and the highest harmonics.
To reach the sultastos as well as the ponticellos.
To play with a crackled bow pressure and with flying flautandos.
To elicit the wind with my fingertips, and evoke a sonoros depth in the body of my bass and in myself behind the instrument, similar to the depth found in a musician and his djembe.
To simultaneously mix and create musical cocktails. Shake and stir, and see what concoction appears.
To not only seek a safe haven but to also dare to relish the fragility, and the intensity, of the music. To inhale and exhale, and allow a silence after the musical intensity.
To stretch the spectrum of the double bass and also myself.
To within the relationship between the instrument and myself, control the uncontrollable and to let go of control within the framework of control.
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