Arne Domnérus: Swede and Cool

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Arne Domnerus
Back in late 1950 and '51, the cool jazz of the Mile Davis Nonet deeply influenced not only Americans but also Swedes. There are two likely reasons for this: The high skill level of Swedish musicians at the time and American jazz musicians who toured there. Arguably Sweden's greatest saxophonist at the time was Arne Domnérus, who played alto and clarinet and was the go-to session musician in Stockholm when American jazz artists arrived in town to play and record. Domnérus appears on recordings with James Moody, Art Farmer and Clifford Brown. He also played with Charlie Parker when he toured Sweden in 1950.

During this period Domnérus recorded a series of singles later issued by RCA that take your breath away. The band was led by Domnérus and featured Rolf Ericson on trumpet, Rolf Blomqvist on tenor sax, Lars Gullin on baritone sax, Gunnar Svensson on piano, Yngve Akerberg on bass and Jack Noren on drums. The music was eventually released as part of RCA's 10-inch global jazz LP series—Around the World in Jazz, Sweden: Arne Domnérus and His Orchestra Vols. 1 and 2.

Domnérus began as an ardent fan of Benny Carter but came under the influence of Parker as soon as the bebop pioneer's 78s made their way to Sweden just after World War II. But while Parker's sound washed over Domnérus, the cool approach of Lester Young and Lee Konitz is evident, too.

According to Tom Lord's Jazz Discography, Domnérus recorded on a sizable 571 recording sessions. He died in 2008.

JazzWax tracks: Some of the Domnérus RCA tracks are available on download compillations. Simply search Amazon for Arne Domnérus along with the song titles above (click images to enlarge).

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This story appears courtesy of JazzWax by Marc Myers.
Copyright © 2015. All rights reserved.

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