Jan Johansson (1931-1968) is a Swedish jazz pianist who sadly passed away at the young age of 37. He is best known (and revered) for his best-selling 1962 Jazz på Svenska recording. Translating as “Jazz in Swedish”, the recording provides interpretations of popular Swedish folk songs on the piano and accompanied on the double bass.

Jan Johansson - Jazz på Svenska (1962)
Jan Johansson – Jazz på Svenska (1962)

“Visa från Utanmyra” is a stunning melody and the instrumental jazz perspective allows for endless variations. Jan Johansson’s subtle and minimalist approach works wonders and enhances the timeless quality of the song. But despite Jan Johansson’s tragic death 45 years ago, it is easy to hear how strong an influence he still is on contemporary musicians like Norwegian pianist Tord Gustavsen for instance.