The Danish jazz scene is well known for its high quality and unique Danish sound. Highly influenced by reminiscences of the many world-famous American jazz musicians who lived in Copenhagen in the 1970’s and 80’s, i.e. Stan Getz, Chet Baker, Dexter Gordon and Ben Webster, the Danish scene has developed its own Nordic sound, but still keeping the American influences alive. Today’s jazz scene is highly diverse ranging from free jazz to modern Danish jazz, swing and New Orleans jazz.

The most famous active Danish Jazz Musicians are Marylin Mazur who toured with Miles Davis, Palle Mikkelborg, Jakob Bro, Sinne Eeg and Kresten Osgood, but names such Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen (NHØP), John Tchicai, Svend Asmussen and Bent Jædig are worth a mention as all have contributed to forming of Danish jazz. Even though the historical heights of Danish jazz, jazz has become more of a niche genre in Denmark, but one that is still alive and strong. And with a long tradition for jazz at the four rhythmic conservatories the number of young musicians playing jazz is still ongoing. Many of them are also engaging in other music projects outside the realm of jazz, which only benefits Danish music in general.

Funding for culture is big in most Scandinavian countries and also in Denmark. So, a lot of venues (ranging from pop/rock, folk to jazz/world/electronic music) get State and city support and for artists it’s also possible to get support for recordings, tours (in- and outside of Denmark) and other projects. This has generated a lot of smaller clubs and festival to present jazz in even the most rural parts of Denmark. Still, most activities take place in Copenhagen and Aarhus, but cities such as Kolding, Aalborg and Odense have a strong scene for jazz, but you’ll be able to find jazz in most parts of Denmark which generates approximately 3000-4000 jazz and jazz related concerts each year.

There is a high volume of Danish Jazz albums per year, with 180 releases in 2022 and there are approximately 1.000 concerts with Danish jazz bands outside of Denmark per year. Despite the large output coming from the Danish jazz scene, the focus on jazz from the established media has been declining over the years. Only a few newspapers have focus on jazz in terms reviewing albums and concerts. Luckily the internet has made room for several blogs focusing on jazz and improvised music, plus the fact that the Danish National Radio (DR) has a channel dedicated to jazz music (P8 Jazz).

Guide compiled by JazzDanmark