Friday, April 21, 2017

Folke Eriksberg - Swedish Jazz Guitar Pioneer

Folke Eriksberg
Folke Eriksberg (1910 - 1976) was a pioneer in Sweden playing jazz on guitar, a skilled accompanist and chord style soloist. Until 1937, the year he turned 26 of age, he was called Eriksson in surname and then officially Eriksberger, his artist name was therefore an abbreviation. Born in Södermalm, Stockholm, he received guitar lessons from his mother, but in the 1920s he would rather play banjo. In 1926 he gained his first professional engagement, and 1928-33 he joined Frank Vernon's orchestra, from 1929 as a guitarist. In June 1934, he moved to Barcelona in Spain, where he worked in several orchestras, and at some point he had met and played with Django Reinhardt. When the Spanish Civil War broke out, he returned to Stockholm in September 1936 and joined the Seymour Österwall Orchestra the next two years.
Sonora Swing Swingers
Folke Eriksberg was the obvious guitarist when studio groups in the thirties were put together to make discs under the name (Sonora) Swing Swingers. Here's an example of one of this studio ensemble's many recordings, I Never Knew recorded 1937

Dreaming Guitar, guitar solo by Folke Eriksberg
Eriksberg also recorded some discs in his own name, including some solos, and he was featured on discs with Thore Jederby, Alice Babs, Hasse Kahn and many others.
Svenska Hotkvintetten
Folke Eriksberg was a regular member of the Swedish Hot Quintet (Svenska Hotkvintetten) 1939-42, where he contributed solid accompaniment besides excellent chord solo spots while Sven Stiberg was the main single-string soloist. You have the opportunity to listen to a selection of recordings by this ensemble at YouTube, here - - The quintet was mainly a studio ensemble and the members had regular engagements in other orchestras, Eriksberg was with Sam Samson's orchestra at the same time. You can hear him in a short solo statement towards the end of Samson's recording of Ellington's Lost In Meditation 1939

In 1941-43 Eriksberg played with Thore Ehrling, and in 1943-44 he participated in Gösta Törner's dixieland-influenced ensemble. After that he ended up being a jazz and dance musician.
Eriksberg with Epihone acoustic guitar
Folke Eriksberg clung to the acoustic guitar, when power-boosted instruments began to become modern in the 1940s. For eleven years he had an engagement at the Blancheteater in Stockholm together with pianist Herbert Steen. In 1954, he finished his professional musician career, but late in life he made a come back, and in 1975 he recorded an LP.
LP front (1976)
Folke Eriksberg is said to have participated in about 3500 recordings during his career. Unfortunately, his solo work is not accessible at YouTube, but to end this small profile of a pioneer Swedish jazz guitarist I'll insert a recording by Thore Jederby's orchestra featuring vocalist Cecil Aagaard and a short hot chord style solo by Folke Eriksberg - Rhythm Is Our Business from 1941

The above info is excerpted from the Swedish periodical Orkesterjournalen, here 

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