Born in 1956, Nils Landgren began playing drums at the age of six, before at last discovering the trombone at 13. Between 1972 and 1978 Nils studied classical trombone at the music college in Karlstad with David Maytan and at the university in Arvika with Ingemar Roos. Meeting the legendary Swedish Folk-Jazz pioneer Bengt-Arne Wallin as well as the fantastic trombonist Eje Thelin persuaded Nils to move from strict classical studies to improvisation and to begin the development of his own approach.
After his graduation Nils moved to Stockholm to work as a professional trombone player. He was soon touring with the most successful Swedish pop star of that time, Björn Skifs’ “Blue Swede” who got to number 1 in the US pop charts with “Hooked on a feeling”. In 1981 Thad Jones invited the Swede into his new big band project “Ball of Fire”, to take the lead-trombone chair. Ever since that time Nils Landren has been involved in most styles equally: jazz and rock, soul and hip hop, big band sessions, and by his own reckoning, at least 500 albums including such internationals stars as ABBA, The Crusaders, Eddie Harris, Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, Wyclef Jean and Herbie Hancock.
In 1983 Nils’ debut album “Planet Rock” was released, followed by “Streetfighter” in 1984, “You are my Nr 1″ in 1985, “Miles from Duke” with Bengt-Arne Wallin in 1987, “Chapter Two 1″, in 1987, “Chapter Two 2″ and “Follow your heart” in 1989. Between 1985 and 1987 Nils also performed as actor, singer, trombonist, and dancer in over 360 performances of the Swedish “play of the year”, SKÅL, as well as appearing in several TV-films as an actor.
1992 saw the first performances and recording of the Nils Landgren “Unit”. The final breakthrough beyond Scandinavia came first in 1994: it was at the Jazz Baltica Festival at Salzau in Germany that the “Unit” became the “Funk Unit”. The album “Live in Stockholm” (ACT 9223-2) was released that year and was the foundation for the collaboration with Siegfried Loch and his then young ACT label.
The next Funk Unit release, “Paint It Blue” (ACT 9243-2), was one of 1997′s most successful albums and received Germany’s Jazz Award. The following tour of over 100 dates gave Nils Landgren and the Funk Unit their breakthrough in Germany. Inspired by his mentor Bengt-Arne Wallin, Nils Landgren ventured into non-funky realms with a re-working of traditional Swedish folk songs: “Swedish Folk Modern” (ACT 9257-2), his first duo with the pianist Esbjörn Svensson, followed up by “Layers of Light” (ACT 9281-2), an even gentler evocation.