International jazz/non-american jazz, suggestions please!

The music world is so diverse that it is utterly impossible to have more than a really superficial knowledge of what really exists out there. And here on pianogroove and in many other places it easily tends to focus on american jazz (spiced up with Jovinos marvellous insights on brazilian music of course!), and in a way that is quite natural.

But in the same time I know that just as an example here in Scandinavia where I am from we have a very distinct flavour of jazz which is often of extremely high quality, but at the same time doesn’t sound american at all.

So I am challenging you out there to share suggestions of local superheroes with us all, those from Bulgaria, Japan, Uruguay, Thailand, Morocco, Holland etc etc who play their own distinct style of high quality jazz but whom I have never heard of. I feel a little bit ashamed that even in Scandinavia I know a few swedish and norwegian artists but I don’t know any finnish or danish, and of course they are there!

Some suggestions from Sweden and Norway for whomever it may concern to start with (of course there are many more who you might prefer better than those), all geniuses in their own right: Tord Gustavsen, Esbjörn Svensson, Jon Balke, Monica Zetterlund, Jan Garbarek, Trygve Seim, Jan Johansson.


I agree completely with your interest in international artists, and there are so many fine ones who escape our attention.

Here are four South African jazz pianists that merit a close listen. Bheki Mseluku (1955-2008) is the most traditional stylist. He was a pianist, saxophonist, guitarist, composer and arranger who was entirely self-taught. Sibusiso Mash Mashiloane (b. 1984), Moses Taiwa Molelekwa (1973–2001), and Bokani Dyer (b. 1986)–who is the most contemporary–blend the more traditional with their native South African rhythms. I hope this is related to what you’re looking for. Enjoy! :musical_keyboard:

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Super, thanks so much, I will absolutely listen!

And @fredrik,

Here’s another artist you might find of interest–Marialy Pacheco (b.1983), a Cuban pianist. I especially like this beautiful tune, “Cuban Suite (Danzón).” Enjoy! :musical_keyboard:

Thanks again, will listen!

Hi Fredrik,

Great suggestion you made - I also really like the “European” jazz aesthetic.

Suggested pianists from the UK - Gwilym Simcock, Zoe Rahman, Nikki Iles and (the late) John Taylor - they’re all great players…!!

One personal favourite is the Marcin Wasilewski Trio from Poland. Their album from last year (called “Arctic Riff”), which has Joe Lovano guesting on tenor sax contains a tune called “Glimmer of Hope” which is the most beautiful piece I’ve heard for a long time…

Best wishes, Dave


You’ve listed some very fine artists here. I especially like Wasilewski’s tunes. Thanks for sharing!

Super musicians, thank you!