Track Selection: Bugs (Gullin)
Carl-Henrik Norin (ts), Lars Gullin (bs), Rolf Berg (g), George Riedel (b), Alan Dawson or Bo Stoor (d) recorded in Stockholm, Sweden on November 6, 1953 and January 26, 1955 for Metronome.
Sweden’s most famous baritone saxophonist, possibly its only baritone saxophonist, Lars Gullin and his 3rd album on EmArcy, from original Swedish Metronome recordings.
Gullin was voted new sax star of the year (1954) by Down Beat, and many US musicians touring Europe played with Lars, including Chet Baker, James Moody and Stan Getz.
Like Gerry Mulligan, he doubled on baritone sax and piano. His baritone is heart-warming as well as swinging. Chet Baker recalled Lars in his later days “… Lars played with a lot more fire and a lot more authority in some ways than Gerry did …”. That’s Chet off Gerry’s Christmas Card list.
This is early Fifties Europe, and jazz has one foot firmly in swing, whilst the other is tapping, very Mulliganesque, and it wouldn’t surprise me if LARS GULLIN is an anagram of GERRY MULLIGAN (give or take a few letters)
Gullin recorded prolifically, and a selection of covers from Birka-Jazz show modern retro design and furnishing, as well as some dodgy Viking stereotyping.With so much output I was surprised to never have heard of him until now. May be like British jazz, Swedish jazz was mainly for domestic consumption. Anyway I have done my bit to raise the Swedish flag. Go Stockholm! Any Sveedish followers of this blog are welcome to add or correct anything said here. My Sveedish is rubbish, you guys are great how you manage such good English, bravo.
I keep looking with envy at that tiered seated theatre audience, the men all in suit collar and tie, accompanied by wives and girlfriends (possibly both in progressive Sweden). Amazing. Venue and audience like this simply do not exist any more, another time and place.
The last seated concert I went to in London’s South Bank, I don’t know why I bothered. Two hours of looking at the backs of people standing up in front of you, the aisles full of people from the (cheap) seats at the back who rush down the front to crowd the aisles and in front of the stage, blocking the view (of the expensive seats). Every idiot with a mobile phone was trying to record the concert to show off to their friends or upload to YouTube, while people with rubbish pocket cameras flash away to get blurry snapshots.Tallest guy in the auditorium gets to see the show, no one else. The music was great, the audience was rubbish.
One of the many reasons I treasure my front row seat between the Linn speakers, with long-dead “musicians in the room”, drinks cabinet to hand, and no rush to get the train home, because you are there already. With Van Gelder live recordings, you even get a great audience around you too.
Vinyl: MG 30162
Originally issued on a series of EPs in Sweden. Its a little bit crackly, but then it has had to survive the most grueling years for vinyl, the Fifties. Emarcy have to be the ugliest of labels. What on earth does the half-dissected frog signify?
It is a US release and I don’t recognise the matrix style, but then I have only one or two Emarcy pressings
Source: London Suburban record store, neglected in a shelf, on account of there probably being hardly a soul in the 300,000 population of the borough who would know who Lars Gullin was, and be interested in vinyl. Inexpensive in the light of its VG condition. Heaven only knows how it made its way there.