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.
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Commemorative stamp by Ceslav Slania.
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