Rifftides reader Red Sullivan (pictured), who is Irish, plays the flute and lives in Rio de Janeiro, wrote a comment and question about the Swedish folk song cum jazz standard mentioned in the review of the recent Quincy Jones celebration at the Ystad festival. Others may be interested in the music that prompted his curiosity. The comment and reply are posted with the Jones item four exhibits down. For those who might otherwise miss them, here they are:
And Miles very wonderfully and prominently took up “Ack Värmeland du sköna,” too, for his perfect, important, Columbia Records album ‘Round About Midnight – overlooked album sometimes, but as great a statement as that classic quintet ever made. EVER! So, is the “Ack Värmeland” there inspired by Getz directly, do you happen to know? i.e. Chicken or Egg…? (Nor should it be any surprise to anyone that Miles may well have taken his cue from Getz. He really adored Getz…. After all, he had good taste in music!).
So: What was Miles connection to the Swedish theme: Getz, or personal?
The Getz recording with pianist Bengt Hallberg, bassist Gunnar Johnson and drummer Jack Noren was on the Swedish Metronome label. Shortly after they made it in 1951, the Prestige label released it in the US under the title, “Dear Old Stockholm.” It quickly became familiar to American musicians, including, no doubt, Davis, who recorded it in 1956. The Getz recording observes the song’s original folk-like AABA structure, with its unusual four-bar B section. Davis altered the song by adding interludes that may have been suggested by Gil Evans. The booklet for the Columbia Legacy reissue of Davis’s ‘Round About Midnight album identifies the piece as “traditional, arranged by Stan Getz,” but the Getz recording does not have the interludes. Purists prefer the unadulterated original, but the altered Davis version is pervasive. It is the one that musicians’ fake books have adopted.
For the record (heh-heh), here is the 1951 Getz version. For anyone unfamiliar with Hallberg, this is a perfect way to hear why his keyboard touch and harmonic concept captivated so many listeners.