Monday, November 08, 2010
Jango Song Of The Day-Jan Johansson
Album:Jazz Pa Svenska: Swedish Folk Songs
As jazz became more popular in Europe in the 50s, many musicians began to emerge that would eventually come across the Atlantic and make their mark in jazz. If he hadn't died prematurely in a 1968 car accident, pianist Jan Johansson would have been one of those musicians. He is still very popular in Sweden. He was born Sept. 16, 1931 in Soderhomn, Sweden and he studied classical piano as a child. He became interested in jazz as a teen and played in several local bands. He met Stan Getz while in college and Getz convinced him to become a full time musician and even invited Johansson to appear on a Jazz At The Philharmonic tour. After a stint in the military, he moved to Goteborg and worked as a sideman. But he also had his own band with bassist Gunnar Johnsson and they worked with Getz when he toured Sweden in 1958. He started recording as a solo artist in the early 60s. Emigrantvisa is from Jazz Pa Svenska, his best known album. It sold 200,000 copies and may be the best selling jazz album in Swedish history. Its sparse instrumentation with Johansson on piano and Georg Reidel on bass. Johansson also composed music for film and TV and wrote the theme for the Pippi Longstocking TV show. Sadly, Jan Johansson died in a car accident on Nov. 9, 1968 at age 37 and so he never got any exposure outside Sweden. Johansson's sons started the Heptagon label in 1994 so his music is still available. Here's Jan Johansson performing Emigrantvisa with Rene Gustafsson on guitar, Gunnar Johnsson on bass and Ingvar Callmer on drums probably mid-60s.