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Jorn Swart

“Jorn is a musician of great sensibility, with a very inventive mind. He will surprise us, I’m sure, and so will his music.”  - Jean-Michel Pilc


Jorn Swart (The Netherlands, 1987) is a spirited up-and-coming pianist, composer, and arranger, currently living and performing in New York City. His refined playing and touching compositions already gained him much international and national recognition. In November 2013 he toured Europe to present his debut CD “A Day in the Life of Boriz”, featuring some of New York’s most thrilling and fearless musicians. His new project, MALNOIA, is a unconventional trio with viola, piano, and bass clarinet that combines classical influences with free improvisation, and has an album release due in May 2017. Apart from leading his own jazz project, Jorn is highly in demand as a keyboardist, sound designer, and musical director for many other jazz, soul, pop, and electronic artists, which has him performing all across the world.

After a falling-out with Dutch folk music, Jorn put down his accordion and picked up the piano with the passion that only an angst-ridden 15-year-old could have. Three years later he plunged into jazz studies at the Conservatory of Amsterdam, graduating in 2010. Fortified with a Fulbright grant, Huygens scholarship, and a fund from the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds, Jorn soared on to continue his education in New York City. There, he studied performance with David Berkman, Johannes Weidenmueller, Sophia Rossof, and Jean-Michel Pilc, and classical orchestration, counterpoint, and composition with Bruce Saylor and Donna Doyle. Throughout his Master’s he continued to stand out artistically, in 2011 being one of the 20 musicians from around the world to be selected for the Betty Carter Jazz Ahead residency in Washington, D.C.  That same year he was the winner of the Sir Roland Hanna Award, a yearly award presented to an excelling jazz pianist.

In New York he played with greats such as Jimmy Heath, Sheila Jordan, Jay Clayton, and Antonio Hart. In Europe, he has performed with musicians such as Tineke Postma, Ben van Gelder, Clemens van der Feen, Benjamin Herman, Jasper Blom, and Joris Roelofs. During his time in Amsterdam he founded and organized Gollem’s Jazz, Hannekes Jazz, and Jazz at Cafe Cox–weekly music events that continue to enliven the jazz scene.

Malnoia is timeless and sophisticated, and reshapes the concept of the traditional jazz piano trio. In replacing double bass and drums with bass clarinet and viola, the project elegantly and creatively expands the limits of what is possible within a “piano trio”. On Malnoia, Swart drew inspiration from classical composers such as Maurice Ravel, Bela Bartok and Paul Hindemith, and combined them with elements of jazz, creating an atypical sound that can be both lyrical and nostalgic, and abstract and unpredictable. His melancholic themes suddenly turn into unruly improvisations or sparkling romanticism. The Malnoia trio, featuring Swart with Benni von Gutzeit (of the Turtle Island Quartet) on viola, and Lucas Pino (whose "No Net Nonet" has had a residency at Smalls Jazz Club for over three years) on bass clarinet, possesses the ability to sweep the listener up in a moving musical experience that has been described as "hallucinogenic chamber music”.