Elsa Nilsson

Fresh Takes by Nick Dunston

Swedish flutist and composer Elsa Nilsson has been composing and improvising since early in her life, and she has a diverse background of musical traditions. So, it’s no wonder she has become one of the most dynamic bandleaders in the New York jazz scene.

Elsa started playing the flute in an interesting way. On her early beginnings, she recalls, “When I was 14, I had been spending a lot of time backpacking, but I was also addicted to practicing piano and knew that I couldn’t do both at the same time. So I took up flute because I could bring it with me and I immediately fell in love with it.”

The music she's playing on her gig this month also reflects her appreciation for travel and nature. “We’ll be playing my originals, as well as traditional Swedish folk melodies mixed with music from cultures that you wouldn’t necessarily expect. It’s a parallel to how, in life, you can always find something in common to connect with people from cultures other than your own.”

Elsa Nilsson plays at The 55 Bar on June 26.

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