Niels Præstholm (1958) is a Danish double bass player and composer.
Niels Præstholm graduated from The Rhythmic Music Conservatorium in Copenhagen in 1990 as a student of the late Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen.
Before Niels Præstholm had reached the age of 25 he had been playing and touring with many of the greatest artists in jazz such as Clark Terry, Teddy Wilson, Horace Parlan, Lee Konitz, Kenny Drew, Ed Thigpen, Sahib Shihab, Trinidadian steel pan virtuoso Rudy “Twolef” Smith, Michael Gregory Jackson and many others.
After many years and many tours all over the world he formed his first regular band Embla together with saxist Thomas Agergaard and pianist Carsten Dahl to explore the Scandinavian sound. Embla released the highly acclaimed album “Embla”
When Embla broke up Niels concentrated on composition. In 1995 he formed his own international version of Embla, Embla Nordic Project, and toured with this band all over Scandinavia for the next ten years. He released two albums of his own music with Embla. “Imagic” 1998 and “Aircondition” 2007.
At the same time he toured in Norway and Europe with Norwegian band “Blixband” and recorded three albums with this band. Also with this band Niels contributed as composer on all three albums.
From 2000 to 2012 worked with the Søren Nørbo Trio with whom he released three highly acclaimed albums. Among these “DeBates” with British jazz icon Django Bates.
In 2009 Niels formed the string trio “Niels Præstholm and Gyroscope String Trio”. The trio mainly performed as a quintet with Danish saxofonist Simon Spang-Hanssen and Norwegian drummer Håkon Berre. The quintet released one album “Precessions”. Tours all over Europe.
In 2009 reestablished contact with guitar legend Michael Gregory Jackson with whom he had recorded and toured when he was only 19 years old.
Since 2009 Michael Gregory Jackson and Niels Præstholm has been touring Europe and the USA and released three CD’s “After Before” and “WHENUFINDITUWILLKNOW” as Michael Gregory Jackson Clarity Quartet and “Liberty” as Michael Gregory Jackson and Art Ensemble Syd.
Since 2009 Niels Præstholm has led the large ensemble Art Ensemble Syd.
Art Ensemble Syd appears in volumes seven to ten musicians including horn- and string-players. Art Ensemble Syd was the official ensemble for the Municipal of Sønderborg from 2010 to 2019.
Art Ensemble Syd has released two CD’s “Liberty” with guitarist and composer Michael Gregory Jackson and “Present” with the music of Niels Præstholm, trombonist and composer Chris Stover and saxofonist Simon Spang-Hanssen.
Art Ensemble Syd has performed with many soloist from a wide area of genres including Sebastian, Django Bates, Søs Fenger, Tue West, Martin Brygmann, Povl Dissing, Kristian Leth, Thomas Buttenschøn, Chris Stover (US) Louis “Chuim” Siguera (Brazil) poet T.S. Høeg and the Symphony Orchestra of Souther Jutland.
Art Ensemble Syd has performed the music of Niels Præstholm on many tours and occasions e.g. Berlin Jazz Days, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Aarhus International Jazz Festival.
In 2018 he formed the new Niels Præstholm Quartet with trumpet player Erik Kimestad, drummer Bjørn Heebøll and his associate through many years saxofonist Simon Spang-Hanssen. Due to the corona pandemic this band has not worked much but in 2018 and 2019 they gave some concerts and established an exiting corporation with Guadeloupean painter Adam Gabriel.
In 2018 Niels Præstholm formed the trio Jakapi, Præstholm and Soo with Estonian musicians vocal artist Roomet Jakapi and guitarist Mart Soo. In 2019 they released the album “Beek!”
2020 – today
In 2020, with most concert activity cancelled, Niels Præstholm has spend a lot of time revisiting his musicianship as a bass player. He has established the Niels Præstholm Standard Trio to investigate the standard jazz repertoire for the first time in more than 30 years. Concerts played when possible.
In 2021 the world is still on hold. Hoping for better times Niels is rehearsing regularly with his Standard Trio and increasing his composition activities for his quartet and Art Ensemble Syd getting ready for concerts when possible.
Besides his own project Niels Præstholm is active as bassist in many different settings including the “Bo Jacobsen Spirit” “Steffan Grarup Trio” and as a member of improv collective “Creative Music Sønderjylland” with saxofonist Louise Dam Eckhardt Jensen and bassist Tom Blancarte.
In addition Niels is resident of the town of Sonderborg and is a highly acclaimed teacher at Sonderborg Academy of Music where he is the leader of the jazz department.