Dan Karlsberg – Cincinnati Jazz Pianist & Composer

[Dan’s] albums have long showed a mix of reverence for Jazz (and Classical music) tradition and form and a creative curiosity that helps him reveal new perspectives within them, all tied together with his finely-tuned improvisational instincts.

-Mike Breen, CityBeat Magazine

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dan Karlsberg has been obsessed with music his entire life. He began formal piano lessons at the age of 5 with an emphasis on classical and jazz, and began composing when he was in the 3rd grade.  Karlsberg is active as a performer, composer, and teacher.  He performs regularly with his owns groups which include The Dan Karlsberg Group and The ‘Nati 6.

In July of 2007, the Dan Karlsberg Group released their first album, The Adventures of the Dan Karlsberg Group, for which Marc Medwin in Cadence Magazine comments:

“This is a group functioning on the highest level of communication and commitment… they tackle freedom and restraint with equal vigor, convincing on whatever musical front they choose.” 

Karlsberg has since released three more albums as leader, Mission to Mars and Other Short Stories (2010), The ‘Nati 6 (2015), and Tales from the Winter Solstice (2018). The ‘Nati 6 features a group created by Karlsberg not only to perform his original music and arrangements, but also to showcase the talent and traditions of the Cincinnati jazz scene.   The ensemble is made up of seasoned veterans on the jazz scene today, all of which are leaders of their own ensembles.  In 2015 CityBeat magazine nominated The ‘Nati 6 for “album of the year”.

Tales from the Winter Solstice, Karlsberg’s latest release, features JD Allen on tenor sax in a piano – drums – sax trio.  All music on the album is written by Karlsberg, and is a delicate mix of fully written out music and improvisation coexisting together in an unorthodox way. Tales features beautiful melodies juxtaposed with powerful, sometimes dissonant improvisations. 

In addition to his albums as a leader, Karlsberg is also featured as a sideman on several other albums, including saxophonist Brent Gallaher’s Lightwave (2010) and Moving Forward (2016), and saxophonist Craig Bailey’s Music a la Fleek (2018).

Karlsberg is also in demand as a sideman, and has worked with numerous musicians including Donald Harrison, Tim Warfield, JD Allen, Ignacio Berroa, Carl Allen, Terell Stafford, Greg Tardy, Ted Nash, Aurell Ray, John Von Ohlen, Brad Goode, the Blue Wisp Big Band, Cohesion Jazz Ensemble, Mike Wade, Jamey Aebersold, among many others. 

As a teacher, Karlsberg has been working as a private piano, composition, theory instructor since 2001. He also taught annually at the Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp in Michigan from 2005 – 2017.  Karlsberg is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, teaching in the Commercial Music Production department, the Jazz department, and the Preparatory department.