Our internationally known jazz musician Lars Gullin

Lars Gunnar Viktor Gullin was born on the 4th of May 1928 in the railway station in Sanda. He was the son of the stationmaster Viktor and his wife Ninnie Engström.

Through the Bäckstäde trio from Sanda Lars Gullin made an early contact with various types of folk music. When three years old he got his first real instrument, a small accordion. He already owned a pan flute on which he used to play beautiful tones. Five years old he composed or improvised short reels. There are stories of how he accompanied his father on the train and entertained the passengers.

Lars Gullin began, quite young, studying how to play the piano. He wanted to be a concert pianist. Later he also tried the violin. When thirteen he was accepted as an apprentice to the regiment I18 musical corps in Visby. His instrument was the signal horn. He also continued his piano studies.

1947 he left for Stockholm to get a higher musical education. He studied piano, clarinet and composition at the Musical Academy. To earn his living he played jazz. His career as a jazz musician started 1947 when he played the piano in Charles Redland’s orchestra. 1949 he was offered a job as a baritone saxophonist in Seymour Österwall’s Orchestra. That’s when he found the instrument that would earn him his reputation and appreciation.


"The Baritone saxophone is mavellously beautiful and I realized at once that it was my instrument. It has a richness and deep warmth, light and darkness and provides rich opportunities for improvisation."

Lars Gullin

Lars Gullin also was one of the most significant composers and arrangers of Swedish jazz. He played with several of the most well known musicians in Sweden. Just to mention a few: Bengt Hallberg (piano), Arne Domnérus (alto saxophone), Rolf Ericson (trumpet), Åke Persson (trombone), Bernt Rosengren (tenor saxophone) and Lars Sjösten (piano).

Internationally Lars Gullin played with great musicians like Chet Baker (trumpet), Lee Konitz (alto saxophone) and Stan Getz (tenor saxophone).

Lars Gullin has won several Swedish and international rewards.

When Lars Gullin died 1976, only 48 years old, he lived in Vissefjärda, Småland.


Lars Gullin is so far considered our most international jazz musician, remembered for his warm baritone sound and the music he created.


Source: Jazz Amour Affair – A book about Lars Gullin by Keith Knox.

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