Ted Olsen is a double bassist from Minneapolis, MN with an extensive background as both a performer and composer.
His compositions create bright moments, with a penchant for melody and harmonic color, while still allowing for spontaneous interplay.
His bass playing teems with rhythmic vitality and an optimistic spirit.
Olsen’s music is steeped in jazz, but is not beholden to tradition—it is forward-looking, yet accessible.
From over 50 original works penned, Olsen has released two albums of all-original music. His 2017 début garnered critical praise from the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
“The sprawling yet cohesive songcraft on Ted Olsen's new album, "Joyfire," attests to why he won an American Composers Forum award five years ago and followed it up as a finalist for the ASCAP Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composers Awards in 2015.”
Additionally, he self-released an EP “It’s Easy to Pretend” in 2020. Music from these albums garnered Olsen a 2020 McKnight Artist Fellowship in composition.
In 2019 Olsen was named an alternate to the prestigious International Society of Bassists' Jazz Bass Competition.
He has been fortunate to share the stage with many stellar musicians, including: Michael Cain, Dayna Stephens, Javier Santiago, John Raymond, Leo P, Tim Sparks, Dean Magraw, Aby Wolf, and Steve Kenny.
Notable performances include the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Dakota Jazz Club, First Avenue (MN), Eau Claire Jazz Festival (WI), Dirty Dog Jazz Cafe (MI), Rockwood Music Hall (NY), Nocturne (CO), Fulton Street Collective (IL) and Cafe Coda (WI).
Review of Joyfire: “Using a breadth of modern jazz influences, [the quartet] focuses on melodic and harmonic inventions within the framework of spontaneous group interplay.” The result is sustained accessibility throughout, the music surely of the 21st century yet filled with the soulful thrust and energy of classic bebop. Each track has its own momentum, its own distinct story, but the overall mission is the joy of collaborative music-making."- jazzpolice.com