Niels Præstholm

Niels Præstholm is a visionary composer, adventurous improviser, and strong organizational force on the Danish jazz scene. With his groups Embla and The Gyroscope String Trio, Art Ensemble South and as a sideman with numerous bands and soloists Niels Praestholm has toured extensively throughout Denmark, Scandinavia, Europe, the US and the Caribbean.

Niels has released three CDs of original music – Precessions (2010) Aircondition (2007), and Imagic (1998), all of them shows Niels as a imaginative composer and an original bassplayer.

“But lo and behold, if he doesn’t succeed! In between the music vocabulary Praestholm uses and the genuine, delightfully “off” sound he creates with his instrumentation, there is no trace of the reverence and solemnity often heard in the so called Nordic sound. In return there is a vivid energy in the uptempo tracks that makes the music burn and in the pieces where the tempo is slow or even not there it still has a down to earth timbre of life” Boris Rabinowitch, Politiken

“The process of forming a band, writing the music for these particular musicians and then get the guys together to make my compositions come to life is one at the same time one of the most challenging, thrilling, and joyful experiences I know of. The experience of getting a group together and doing something as gentle and fine as playing music together already struck me as fantastic when I was a kid in the late sixties. Experiencing the older kids in school get together and play e.g. Dylan songs was an experience that changed my life and I knew that I was going to do something like that. The musical art of jazz eventually caught me for the same reasons as the art of improvising seems to me to be the highest possible meeting between musicians”

Niels is one of the main forces in the non-profit musician run Composers Society ToneArt and has co-produced more than hundred concerts and musical events for larger ensembles in this idiom. www.toneart.nu

In 1988 At the age of thirty, he formed the group Embla together with saxophonist Thomas Agergaard, pianist Carsten Dahl and drummer Anders Hentze. The band released the highly acclaimed CD “Embla” in 1991.

Niels joined the RMC in Copenhagen in 1987 and studied bass with the late Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen. He is mainly self taught as a composer but has briefly studied composition with a.o. Jon Balke, Django Bates and Butch Lacy.
After he graduated in 1991 he moved to New York city for a period and studied bass and composition with bassists Dave Holland and Ron McClure.

In the late 70ties and the 80ties Copenhagen was the jazz capitol of Europe and Niels became a soughtafter bassplayer and has performed and recorded with jazz greats as Kenny Drew, Horace Parlan, Michael Gregory Jackson, Teddy Wilson, Richard Boone, Clark Terry, John Thicai, Ernie Wilkins and Lee Konitz,.

Today Niels is resident of the town of Sonderborg and is a highly acclaimed teacher at Sonderborg Academy of Music where he is the leader of the jazz department. He has founded the Art Ensemble South to support the knowledge of jazz and related music in the area.

Today he composes mainly for The Gyroscope String Trio, Embla and Art Ensemble South and as composer, remixer and producer. He is also involved as a composer and improviser with US guitarist Michael Gregoryand drummer Kresten Osgood in the trio Clarity <3 .