As I fly to Sweden this morning, I’ll be humming “Ack Värmeland du sköna,” the patriotic folk song Swedes love so much. It is, in effect, the country’s unofficial national anthem. Here it is, sung by the great Swedish tenor Jussi Björling in 1959.
When Stan Getz recorded the song in 1951 with pianist Bengt Hallberg and other Swedish musicians, it was retitled “Dear Old Stockholm.” Decades later another tenor saxophonist, Scott Hamilton, recorded it with pianist Jan Lundgren, bassist Jesper Lundgaard and drummer Kristian Leth.
Lundgren, the pianist you just heard, is the artistic director of the Ystad Sweden Jazz Festival. Pianist Bill Mays and I are headed to Europe to be a part of it. For details, go here.
Following our performance, Bill and his wife Judy will spend a few days in Copenhagen. I’ll remain in Ystad and do some reporting on the festival. Please check in to Rifftides now and then for updates.