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Jazz: Modern Creative Jazz World: World Fusion Moods: Type: Soundtrack Moods: Type: Instrumental Jazz: Progressive Jazz

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Tomas Karlsson

I am a guitarist and composer/ songwriter. My main focus these days lies on teaching and composition/ songwriting. I write a lot of music, I have released a CD with original music and I am currently working on releasing more original music on streaming services.

As a performer I am nowadays mainly playing my own music. Currently that means performing the music from my CD "Zen Guitar Songs" and giving Zen Guitar workshops. I can also be seen and heard at occasional gigs playing jazz standards with a small group or in the local big band.

When recording or performing my own music I rely heavily on guitarist Tom Forsman, bassist Kenneth Nordman, bassist/ guitarist Stefan "Kilju" Lindblom and drummers Stefan Brokvist and Oskar Nilsson. They are top notch pro players and at the same time very good old friends of mine. I can always rely on them to deliver what I need and to meet ( and usually even exceed) my expectations...

I started out writing pop/ rock songs, then I soon got into writing mainly jazz. I have studied Jazz Composition and Arranging and Music Composition for Film, TV and Games at Berklee College of Music. My own tunes are very eclectic and polystylistic and nowadays I like to just let the composition/ song itself fall into whatever genre/ style it likes to - usually it happens quite naturally.

I like making instrumental music the most because the absence of lyrics leaves more to the listener's imagination – everyone can see his/ her own pictures. I also myself think that my music is rather minimalistic and naïve - I want the ideas to be distinct and I don't want a lot of things to be going on at the same time. I totally subscribe to the less is more philosophy and that is what I am also trying my best to teach my students.

What I want to do is to connect with people with my music. My belief is that making music is all about
- expressing yourself
- having fun and entertaining other people
- telling stories
and not about showing off in any way. I want to reach out and touch people with my music - to make them feel something, make them laugh, cry, dance, enjoy themselves, meditate, relax, inspire them to make works of art themselves...

Music is not sports. It's not really about competition at all. It's not about who is the fastest or the baddest. It's about finding your own voice and expressing yourself. It's the originals that are remembered, not the imitators. When the dust clears, those left standing will be those who stand for something.

My music expresses a lot of feelings and strong feelings. I think that you have to dare and not hold back when you create art – if you don’t bleed and spill your guts, you might just as well not make anything at all is my philosophy...

My music has been described as vivid, cinematic, "painting" music and it is easy to daydream, feel and see pictures to my music. Listen to my music and let it take you places - daydream, fall asleep, feel, dance, sing, meditate, make love, paint pictures, make a movie, think, write - whatever... There is always an idea and a story behind each tune, but I do not want to give that away, I want to let everyone see and think what he/ she wants. I think that the most important thing is what you make out of the songs and what they mean to you...

I don't try to sound like anyone else. I don't imitate when I write music. Why should I - the world does not need imitators, it needs originals. When I write music I am much more inspired by other things than other people's music - I am inspired by visual arts, books, feelings, films, humor, my cats, nature, people, thinking, traveling, philosophy and silence...

I do not even listen to much music nowadays. It inevitably makes me write original music. I do not say that my music is better than the music other people write, but at least it is my own music. And it gives me an enormous feeling of satisfaction when I finish a tune and when I am happy with the result.

I have written 150- 200 tunes that are still around and a lot of ones that I have thrown away. Check out the sheet music page on my website for a small sample of my tunes. Check out my lesson On Writing Music for more of my personal philosophy on writing music.

So, why on earth do I do this? Why do I work 10+ hours a day, often 7 days a week, usually for very little money? Because for me there is simply no way I can not do it, because:
- I love every single second of it
- I have a need to create and to express myself through music

Lately I have written some progressive and naïve music. As I already mentioned, I am currently working on releasing more original music on streaming services - probably I will soon release a few singles and in the near future a second CD.