Prolific, adventurous and a true virtuoso and visionary, the Danish Music Award winning saxophonist Claus Waidtløw has been one of the most highly respected jazz musicians in Denmark for more than two decades.
Originally an alto saxophonist, Waidtløw is primarily known today for his tenor work and audacious compositional sense.
Born in 1967 and a presence on the Danish music scene since 1989. He is educated from the Rhythmic Conservatorium in Copenhagen, where he also studied modern composition with Bob Brookmeyer.
Waidtløw has released 8 albums as a leader. His debut, Claustrophobia (Stunt Records, 1997), featurer the late great Danish trumpet player Jens Winther.
The latest, New Beginning from 2018, has received glowing reviews, including one that called Waidtløw “one of the most proficient in the art of playing the saxophone in Denmark today”. The acclaimed jazzwriter Adam Baruch wrote about New Beginning: ”This album should be of interest to all Jazz connoisseurs the world over. The special European flavor, elegance and grace simple place it ahead of most other mainstream recordings originating from across the pond. A delightful gem!” The album present Waidtløw not only as a world-class saxophonist but also as a superb composer with advanced, contemporary sensibilities and a mastery of accessible melodic ideas. Acknowledgement of his compositional gifts has resulted in several grants through the years, including a two-year grant from the Danish Arts Foundation in 2001.
In 2015 Waidtløw released the Danish Music Award winning album Playhouse. It presents Waidtløw as a bigband composer and conductor. The album was double Danish Music Award nominated for ”Best Jazzalbum Of The Year” and “Best Jazz Composer Of The Year”. It won the prize ”Best Jazz Composer Of The Year”.
In 2016 he released his second bigband album, Apples for Adam, with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, feat. the American drummer Adam Nussbaum.
Waidtløw has shown promise and ambition since he first appeared on the music scene. In 1995 he won the international jazz competition in Gexto, Spain, with the group Science Fiction Quartet and in 1996 he was nominated for the Ben Webster Prize, the most significant jazz honor in Denmark.
In 1998 Waidtløw toured with Carla Bley and Steve Swallow, as a part of The Danish Jazz Foundation ”Jazzvisits” program.
Also in 1998 Waidtløw began his 5 years association with Jens Winther. In 2002 the band released the album Walk the Walk, Talk the Talk (Stunt Records).
In 2001 he recorded Back and Forth (Music Mecca) in New York, with the great American bassist Christian McBride.
In 2005 he released his 4´th album, From the Story Book (Calibrated rec.).
In 2011, as a member of Aarhus Jazz Orchestra, Waidtløw toured for two weeks in the United States with the world-famous singer Kurt Elling. The tour included a weeklong stay at New York’s Birdland, one of the world’s most legendary jazz clubs.
Also in 2011 Waidtløw did his first bigband project with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra.
2012: Released the highly praised album Florence (Gateway Music), with his Quartet.
He plays at the legendary jazzclub Montmartre with Eddie Gomez and Dave Kikoski.
2015: Released the double Danish Music Award nominated and winning album, Playhouse, with The Orchestra and Jeff Ballard. Plays at jazzclub Montmartre w. pianist Danny Grisset Quartet.
2016: Released his second bigband album, Apples for Adam, with Aarhus Jazz Orchestra.
2017: Project with the NDR Bigband in Hamburg.
Among 20+ concerts at the Copenhagen Jazzfestival, Waidtløw played 3 days at Montmartre with the great American pianist Dave Kikoskis Quartet.
2018: Releases his 8´th album as a leader, New Beginning. It is higly praised by jazzcritics in Denmark and abroad.
2019: New album with Gathering in Jazz is out. After 2. months the 5 titles together have more than 600.000 streams just on Spotify.
2020: April – Releases the album “The Game” with the trio Nice Chair.
Waidtløw tours with and records his new suite “The seasons” with The Aarhus Jazz Orchestra feat. Jorge Rossy. Album will be out late 2020.
From 2007 to 2015 member of Aarhus Jazz Orchestra.
Waidtløw has also contributed as a prolific sideman to more than 60 recordings, and has worked with such great artists as Toots Thielemanns, Eliane Elias, Kurt Elling, John Scofield, Eddie Gomez, Steve Swallow, Carla Bley, Christian McBride, Mulgrew Miller, Bill Stewart, Billy Hart, Jeff Ballard, Dave Kikoski, Sam Yahell, Danny Grissets, Bob Brookmeyer, Maria Schneider, Jens Winther, NDR Bigband and The Danish Radio Bigband.
In addition to playing and writing music, Waidtløw hold the position as associate professor at the Danish National Academy of Music, teaching saxophone, improvisation and ensemble.
As a well-known educator, he is a permanent faculty member of the Engelsholms Jazz camps. He has shared his teaching skills with such high-profile artists as Brad Mehldau, Mark Turner, Lionel Loueke, Jeff Ballard, Gretchen Parlato, Mark Guiliana and Larry Granadier.