Drummer Jonas Johansen (b. 1962 in Copenhagen, Denmark) ranks among the finest talents in European jazz drumming.
Jonas, who grew up in the creative milieu of a private school in Elsinore (DK), studied with Bent Lylloff 1976-1978, Ed Thigpen 1978-1985, and at The Dick Grove School of Music in Los Angeles 1985-1986, with Peter Donald, David Garibaldi and Luis Conte. From 1987 until 1989 he studied at The Rhythmic Music Conservatory in Copenhagen with Alex Riel.
From about 1987 he became one of the most sought-after young jazz drummers in Denmark
In 1990 Jonas became the drummer of The Danish Radio Big Band, now called DR Big Band, where he stayed until 1999. In those years the band did projects with international jazz stars such as McCoy Tyner, Joe Henderson, John Scofield, Tom Harrell, Bob Brookmeyer, Toots Thielemanns, Art Farmer, Hermeto Pascoal, Enrico Pieranunzi, Kenny Werner, Joe Lovano, Jerry Bergonzi, Jim McNeely, Mike Gibbs, Maria Schneider, David Sanborn and Carla Bley. In 1999 he left the DRBB in order to concentrate on his freelance career.
Jonas formed his own band "Move" in 1992 with, among others, saxophonist Fredrik Lundin. The band still exists, and has until now released 3 albums.
From 1993 Jonas started working with world-renowned Danish bassist Niels Henning Oersted Pedersen, and was a permanent member of the NHOP trio together with Swedish guitarist Ulf Wakenius from 1996 until NHOP’s death, April 2005.
Jonas co-leads a trio along with world famous electric bass player Steve Swallow and Danish saxophone master Hans Ulrik. This trio has released 3 albums till this date - the latest “Believe In Spring” from 2007 is featuring Swedish jazz stars Bobo Stenson and Ulf Wakenius.
These days, Jonas is working with top ensembles such as Katrine Madsen Group with Joakim Milder, Groove Factor w/ Ulf Wakenius, Jacob Christofferen Trio, Steen Rasmussen Group with Josefine Cronholm, as well as his own bands.
He has also played with artists and groups such as: Chano Dominguez, Eliane Elias, Egberto Gismonti, Johnny Griffin, Toninho Horta, Milt Jackson, Marc Johnson, Airto Moreira, Doug Raney, Renee Rosnes, John Taylor, Phil Woods, Monica Zetterlund, Pierre Doerge & New Jungle Orchestra, HR Big Band (Frankfurt, Germany), the WDR Big Band (Cologne, Germany), Ernie Wilkins and the Almost Big Band, Norrbotten Big Band featuring Tim Hagans, Enrico Pieranunzi trio and Donny McCaslin.
Jonas received the Danish Ben Webster Music Award in 1991.