Saturday, July 07, 2007

Swedish Hot!

Svenska Hotkvintetten (The Swedish Hot Quintet) was formed 1939, initially modeled after The Quintet of Hot Club of France (QHCF) that had visited Sweden and performed in Stockholm during February that year. The concert by QHCF featuring Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli as the main attractions was attended by an enthusiastic audience, among the crowd also some young Swedish musicians, who were thrilled by the string wizardry of Django & co.. Shortly after this concert the guitarist Sven Stiberg (1914-1992) took the initative in founding the Swedish Hot Quintet, the members carefully handpicked from several orchestras.

Besides Stiberg on lead guitar the ensemble consisted of Emil Iwring on violin, Folke Eriksberg and Kalle Löhr on rhythm guitar, Roland Bengsson on double bass. As the members already were engaged in other jobs, the quintet mainly became a studio recording ensemble during its shortlived time from 1939-41 and frequently had changing members in the rhythm section. The quintet recorded about 40 sides for Columbia during this period, 27 of these are re-issued on the cd shown above (Dragon, DRCD 223) documenting the legacy of a great string swing ensemble mostly unkown outside Scandinavia.

Although the Svenska Hotkvintetten was modeled after the QHCF, the group had a distinctive voice of its own thanks to the arrangements and amazing solo fretwork by Sven Stiberg, who was completely self-taught and the pioneer single-string guitar soloist in Swedish jazz. Later he was the first to play electric guitar as a mainstay with Thore Ehrling's orchestra (1943-49). The cd is a great tribute to the formative period of a great guitarist, whom I do not hesitate to rank among the greatest swing guitarists ever.

Another time, even today Django and the legacy of the QHCF keep inspiring young musicians to continue the string swing tradition, also in Sweden. A young rising star is the guitarist Andreas Öberg. I found a couple of video performances featuring this amazing talent, inserted below. Learn more about Andreas Öberg from his official web, to be reached clicking here

The first video fragment features Andreas Öberg with Hot Club Copenhagen playing "Avalon"

From Stockamöllan Jazz and Swing Festival (Sweden) in June 2007 The Hot Club de Suede featuring Andreas Öberg playing "Dark Eyes"




Blogger Anders Brandter said...

Hi Hans, Thanks for this interesting article about the Swedish Hot Quintet. I googled on them as I was particularly impressed by the violinist (listening to the group on Spotify). Despite being Swedish I did not know that it was Emil Iwring. If someone had told me it was Stephane Grappeli who played I would have believed him. BR, Anders Brandter

10:58 PM  

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