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Thomas Clausen

Composer / Piano

Pianist, composer and arranger Thomas Clausen was born 1949 in Copenhagen, Denmark. He played piano from a very young age and by his early 20s had already entered into a professional career as a performing artist. His energetic but lyrical piano playing was discovered by Dexter Gordon in 1969 and around the same time, he began a life-long friendship with trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg.

Soon, he began playing regularly with all the top musicians in Denmark. As leader of his own trio he would later work with artists such as Gary Burton and Dexter Gordon, Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Ben Webster, Joe Henderson, Johnny Griffin, Lee Konitz and Dizzy Gillespie. He became a cherished accompanist for soloists from far and near.

His first recording was in 1973 with Jackie McLean and Gary Bartz., which included two original songs. Even more important at this time was his work with many of the trendsetting Danish bands of the 70s and 80s. In 1984 Clausen was selected by trumpeter and arranger Palle Mikkelborg to perform his groundbreaking, Grammy Award-winning composition AURA featuring Miles Davis.

By the mid 90s Clausen was moving into new directions when he began collaborations with Brazilian musicians. Over the years Thomas Clausen’s impressive solo career has blossomed in breadth and unmistakable originality. He has worked in small and large formats, making many fine recordings ranging from solo and trios to large groups as well as orchestral music written for the Danish Radio Big Band, music for the stage, choral music and works for classical ensembles. Most recently, Clausen has begun recording and touring with long-time collaborator, bass player Chuck Israels.