Born: May 4, 1928 | Died: May 17, 1976 Primary Instrument: Sax, baritone
Lars Gullin was born May 4, 1928, on the island of Gotland, off the Swedish east coast. Legend say he could read music before he learned to read Swedish. His first instrument was an accordion of the simplest kind. A few years later it was exchanged for a larger one with piano keys, and at the age of five he composed simple polkas. He actually won an accordion contest, still a juvenile.
At the age of nine or ten he led his own little band, playing in local vaudevilles. The book consisted of tunes like After You've Gone and Tiger Rag, no doubt learned from Sonora 78s with accordionist Nisse Lind....
Scott Yanow on Lars Gullin: One of the top baritone saxophonists of all times and a giant of European jazz, Lars Gullin would be better known if he had visited the US often and if excessive drug use had not cut short his career... All bop and cool jazz collectors should be aware of Lars Gullin and own several of his sets. All Music Guide to Jazz; Miller Freeman Books 1998
Brian Priestly on Lars Gullin: The first musician after Django Reinhardt to have an impact in the USA without relocating there, Gullin has never been duplicated or surpassed. His facility and relaxation, especially in the 1950s, were able to make the baritone feel like a delicately handled tenor. But his tone (thanks to the Tristano influence detectable in many Swedish and German musicians of this period) was so light and pure that it recalled not so much a tenor as altoist Lee Konitz ... Local commentators detect the inspiration not only of folk-music but the 19th-century Swedish composers in Gullin's distinctive writing. Jazz, the Essential Companion; Paladin, London 1987
Jack Kerouac on Lars Gullin: ... a whole case of longplayed bop albums ... and first Wig plays Stan Getz and the Swedish group with Bengt Hallberg on piano, the marvelous Lars Gullin on baritone, great rhythm section first music I'd heard in months ... from Selected Letters 19401956, Penguin Books.
Chet Baker on Lars Gullin: The only baritone player that I was aware of was Gerry Mulligan. When I heard Lars, I thought, Jesus, there is another way of playing the baritone! Lars played with a lot more fire and a lot more authority in some ways than Gerry did. Private interview by Pär Rittsel.Read the whole interview
Leonard Feather on Lars Gullin: If he ever decides to emigrate to this country, I might add, he is going to scare a lot of people, make a lot of records and gain a lot of admirers. Liner notes: Lars Gullin Baritone Sax; Atlantic 1246, now reissued on CD