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Bengt Hallberg

Bengt Hallberg is, without doubt, one of the most influential pianists in the history of Swedish jazz. In his Encyclopedia of Jazz, Leonard Feather called him “his country’s foremost jazz pianist,” praising his “unique, light-fingered style, exceptionally effective in single note lines on medium tempi.”

Throughout the 1950s he played not only with all the most important domestic stars of the idiom, most notably baritone saxophonist Lars Gullin and altoist Arne Domnérus, but with American visitors such as Stan Getz, with whom he cut a recording of an old Swedish folk tune, “Ack Värmeland du sköna." This became a hit when released in the U.S. as “Dear Old Stockholm”. In January 1954, the Swedish jazz magazine Estrad named him “musician of the year.”

NEWS: OBITUARY

Bengt Hallberg RIP

Bengt Hallberg RIP

Bengt Hallberg, honored as one of the finest pianists in modern jazz, died today in Uppsala, Sweden, of congestive heart failure. He was 80 years old. Hallberg’s keyboard touch and harmonic inventiveness came to the attention of musicians and listeners outside his native Sweden on Stan Getz’s 1951 recording of the traditional song “Ack Värmeland du ...

Trio Con Tromba's Treasure Trove of Previously Unreleased Recordings

Read "Trio Con Tromba's Treasure Trove of Previously Unreleased Recordings" reviewed by Florence Wetzel

The term lagom is essential to the Swedish soul. There's no direct translation into English or any other language, but positive connotations of the word include “in balance" and “just the right amount," with the Swedish proverb Lagom är bäst translated as “Enough is as good as a feast." An aural equivalent of lagom can be ...

ARTICLE: BIG BAND REPORT

"Lone Wolf" Finds Plenty to Chew On

Read ""Lone Wolf" Finds Plenty to Chew On" reviewed by Jack Bowers

With Betty sidelined by a bad cough, it was up to me to seek out local jazz events in February, and I managed to find a couple of pretty good ones, starting February 7 at the University of New Mexico's Keller Hall where SuperSax New Mexico performed for the third time in Albuquerque. As you may ...

ARTICLE: LIVE REVIEW

Oslo International Jazz Festival 2011

Read "Oslo International Jazz Festival 2011" reviewed by John Kelman

Oslo International Jazz FestivalOslo, NorwayAugust 15-20, 2011 There's always an eager sense of anticipation when returning to Norway, whether it's the barren but beautiful north of Svalbard, the stunning, mountain-surrounded Molde, the picturesque Kongsberg, the fjord-gateway of Bergen or the rugged beauty surrounding Kristiansand. But going back to Norway for the ...

Confessions of a Mad Journalist

Read "Confessions of a Mad Journalist" reviewed by Jack Bowers

The headline above this column has almost nothing to do with its contents; it was designed simply to grab your attention. That's what we writers do: offer a modest prize with one hand while concealing a more desirable treasure in the other. It's what we have in common with magicians. Actually, as last month marked the ...

Jacob Karlzon: Heat / Improvisational Three

Read "Jacob Karlzon: Heat / Improvisational Three" reviewed by Chris Mosey

Jacob Karlzon is one of the most interesting pianists on today's Swedish jazz scene--percussive, intense, yet capable of great lyricism. Unwilling to be pigeonholed, he plays in a great many different constellations, most visibly with vocalist Viktoria Tolstoy, great granddaughter of Leo, for whom he composes and arranges. At the age of 39, Karlzon has already ...

All-Star Sessions 1953 / 54

Label: Dragon Records
Released: 2008
Track listing: Whiskey Sour; Side Car (Take 2); Limehouse Blues; Pink Lady (Take 3); Pink Lady (Take 1); Side Car (Take 1); Pink Lady (Take 2); Red Wails in the Sunset (Take 1); Red Wails in the Sunset (Take 2); Doe Eyes (Take 1); Doe Eyes (Take 2); Redhead; Depressionism; Meatballs; Blues in Fourths (Take 3); Blues in Fourths (Take 1); Blues in Fourths (Take 2).

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Bengt Hallberg: All-Star Sessions 1953 / 54

Read "All-Star Sessions 1953 / 54" reviewed by Jack Bowers

By 1953-54, when these sessions were recorded in Stockholm, pianist Bengt Hallberg had been a resplendent star on the Swedish jazz scene for more than half a dozen years. Unremarkable, one might surmise, until he learns that Hallberg turned twenty-two on September 13, 1954, by which time he had already won a nationwide competition for young ...


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