Born 1969 Turku, Finland.
Winter has a fresh, modern sound. This is original and very exciting music and Niklas Winter Quartet has surely been a great experience at many festivals. Tor Hammerø /Jazznyt (Norway)
Winter is a true sophisticated original on the guitar in Finland. Timo Vähäsilta/Rytmi (Finland)
Niklas Winter’s poetic playing shows great knowledge of improvisational skills. Jörgen Östberg /Orkester Journalen (Sweden)
” In Winter’s playing listener can hear plainness and intelligence. Winter’s improvisations and harmonies look back to the history of jazz but also expresses the atmosphere of today.” Hiroki Sugita/Jazz Life (Japan)
Trust in fact, was key, as was a fundamental sense of good time. Without a drummer or a bassist, and with the two guitarists sometimes dissolving into spare sections where time was, at best, suggested, it became even more essential that the two could internalize that time and know where it was, without it being explicitly there. It’s in the context of the duo that an artist is at his/her most exposed; not only are their abilities, instincts and improvisational élan laid bare, but their communication skills— or lack thereof—are impossible to disguise. Viinikainen and Winter needn’t have worried, as it was clear, from their Tampere Jazz Happening performance, that this was a duo communicating at a very deep level, playing relatively quiet music that was, nevertheless, thoroughly captivating.
JOHN KELMAN / ALL ABOUT JAZZ (USA)
Niklas Winter is a Finnish jazz guitarist and composer. He has released 9 albums as a leader being a sideman on several others both in Finland and abroad.
Niklas started his studies at the Turku Conservatory in the mid 80’s and later studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston between 1991-1995. Early influences have been John Scofield and Pat Metheny. Later influences have been musicians like Sonny Rollins, Keith Jarrett, John Coltrane and Kenny Wheeler to name a few.
Winter started his professional career in jazz with the Danish-Finnish Scandinavian Jazz Quartet in 1992. This band has made 3 studio albums; New Deal (1994), A Night In Bilbao (1997) and Silent Knowledge in 2000.
Winter’s main interest has always been writing and performing original music. His bands, as a leader, have been the Finnish-Danish-Swedish Winter’s Jazz Workshop (’Hypnosis’ 1999 and ’Saknad 2001) and the Finnish – Swedish Niklas Winter Quartet. ( Live in Stockholm , 2006) Since 2004 Winter has also led his Finnish – Japanese quartets and quintets, his album ’Beautopia’was released in Japan by the Japanese King Records in late 2007 and in Europe in 2008. Japan is no stranger to Winter anymore, since 2004 he’s done 23 tours in Japan.
In recent years Winter has done duo collaborations with Jesse Van Ruller and Ulf Wakenius and Severi Pyysalo. The Latest duo collaboration is with the Italian guitarist Lorenzo Cominoli. Their new album ’The Lighthouse’ will be released on the 18th of September 2021 on the Abovoice label.
Winter has also arranged psalms for larger ensemble and the first CD ’Piae Cantiones’ was released in 2002. A follow up consisting of arrangements of the Graduale Aboense will come out in 2022.
During the years Winter has performed with many great musicians. Some international names that he would like to mention are Ulf Wakenius, Kenny Wheeler, Henry Lowther, Jesse van Ruller, Cameron Brown, Kiri Te Kanawa, Jukkis Uotila, Lars Jansson, Ted Curson , Fumio Yasuda, Emil Hess, Rich Huntley, Karl-Martin Almqvist, Severi Pyysalo, Teemu Viinikainen, Jesper Bodilsen and Morten Lund.
Winter has performed at most of the Finnish jazz festivals including Pori Jazz Festival and the Tampere Jazz Happening. International festivals he likes to mention are London Jazz Festival, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Yokohama Jazz Promenade, Beijing Contemporary Music Festival and the Orta Jazz Festival in Italy. He has performed in the US, Europe and in Asia several times during the last 30 years, including 23 tours in Japan.
Winter has received several awards in Finland for his musicianship. The Young Arts Award in 2000 ,the Aboa Price in 2001 and the Western Culture Award in 2006.
Between 2008-2012 Winter collaborated with Finnish guitarist Teemu Viinikainen. The CD ’ Eight Songs Seven Keys’ ( Abovoice-1016 ) was released in 2010. The CD received great reviews and close to 100 concerts where performed with this material during this period.
During the last years Winter has collaborated with Ulf Wakenius and Jesse van Ruller playing duo concerts with these two master guitarists. Winter&Ruller did a session for YLE, the Finnish Broadcasting Company in 2015.
He is also playing as a sideman in Max de Aloe’s Baltic Trio. This Italian-Finnish-Danish collaboration released the album ’Valo’ in May 2017.
A new collaboration with Italian guitarist Lorenzo Cominoli was formed in 2019 and their new album ’The Lighthouse’ will be released on the 19th of September on the Abovoice label. A collaboration with Russian master guitarist Andrei Ryabov was also started in 2019 and will continue.
In 2020 Winter did a reunion concert with Niklas Winter Quartet. This quartet consists of members from Finland and Sweden. The concert was held in Helsinki on the Jazz Espa festival. More concerts will be done with this quartet during 2021-2022.
During the years Niklas has written music several times for the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE and also been in many projects with the Turku Philharmonic Orchestra. In 2011 he played in the opera Erik the XIV written by Mikko Heiniö.
Winter teaches guitar in Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences. He has done workshops in Finland, Italy, Denmark, England, China and Japan.
Besides being a musician, Winter also runs his recordlabel Abovoice. This label has released 18 albums since 1999, getting the Finnish Jazz Grammy for the best jazz album in 2002. (www.abovoice.com)
2021 The Lighthouse (Abovoice-1021) Niklas Winter & Lorenzo Cominoli (Album release 18th September)
2019 You (Abovoice-1020) Hess Winter Huntley
2017 Another Way Home (Abovoice-1019) Cleo & Winter
2010 Eight Songs Seven Keys (Abovoice-1016) Niklas Winter & Teemu Viinikainen
2008 Beautopia (King Records, KICJ529 / Abovoice) Niklas Winter
2006 Live in Stockholm (Abovoice-1013) Niklas Winter Quartet
2002 Piae Cantiones (Abovoice-1011) Niklas Winter Quartet & Camerata Aboensis
2001 Saknad (Abovoice-1008) Winter’s Jazz Workshop
1999 Hypnosis (Silence-0001) Winter’s Jazz Workshop
2000 Silent Knowledge (Abovoice-1006) Scandinavian Jazz Quartet Feat. Nikolaj Hess
1997 A Night In Bilbao (Music Mecca) Scandinavian Jazz Quartet Feat. Lars Jansson
1994 New Deal (Intermusic) Scandinavian Jazz Quartet
2017 Valo (Abeat Records) Max de Aloe Baltic Trio
2014 Ostrobothnian Tales (Drumvoice Records) West Yard Jazz Quartet
2000 Answer (Silence-00002) Jan Simons Band Feat. Kenny Wheeler