Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Listening to Prestige Records - Part 13: Swedes

A lot of American expats ended up in Sweden in the late 40s and early 50s, and a lot of Swedes were playing jazz too. Arne Domnerus (also sax and clarinet) recorded with a quintet in Stockholm in August, September and October of 1949, for the Sedish jazz label Metronome, and the sides were released in the US, in the Prestige 100 series of 10 inch LPs, PRLP 134, as New Sounds From Sweden, Volume 4. Bob Weinstock must have made quite a deal with Metronome Records, because there were also volumes 1 - 3: PRLP 119, 121 and 133, mostly led by Domnerus or Lars Gullin. Another Swedish jazzman, Reinhold Svensson, had PRLP 106 and 129. The Domnerus sessions were recorded earliest, though not released earliest. I listened to "Body and Soul" from the first session, and it's not bad at all. He seems to have been a versatile little devil. His catalog, which is extensive on Spotify, includes standards, Dixieland tunes, modern compositions, and a lot of songs with Swedish names, in which you can pick out word like "tango" and "Polska."

Lars Gullin could and did hold his own with some of the best American jazz musicians, and was the 1954 winner of DownBeat's Most Promising Newcomer award for 1954.

Other Swedes who had records released by Prestige: Bengt Hallberg, Ulf Linde, Rolf Blomquist, and Leonard Feather's Swingin' Swedes. I mention all this now because as daunting a task as this is, I may decide to stick to American musicians.

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