BIOGRAPHY

Hi, my name is Pierre Swärd, and I live in Borlänge, Sweden. I wish to tell you about some special events in my life, from the day I was born until now.

 

1954

May 23, I´m born, and life, music and the future all lie in front of me.

 

 

 

1958

My grandfather Sten means a lot to me. He builds me a drum kit. I got rhythm, I got rhythm...

 

 

1960

I´m given a “rock´n roll guitar”, and I buy my first 45 RPM record, ”Be-Bop-A-Lula” by Gene Vincent.

 

1963

November 22, I join my first rock group, The Clifftones. My friend Clas Yngström is the lead guitarist and singer. I play rhythm guitar and sing, too. I´m nine years old, and I perform my first gig.

 

 

1966

I begin to play the piano, and I fall in love with blues, jazz, soul and gospel. WOW! Thanks, B.B King, Ray Charles, Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, Oscar Peterson, Ramsey Lewis, and many more. It´s now that I feel the touch of the swing, the groove and the fantastic meaning of the word dynamics.

 

 

1967

On the radio I hear a fantastic swinging sound and swing, which gives me a tremendous musical kick. It´s Jimmy Smith playing ”Organ Grinder´s Swing”. I discover The Hammond organ!!! That´s what I want to play: two manuals, bass pedals, a volume pedal and a Leslie cabinet.

 

 

1968

I´m given my first organ, a Solina. My mother, Britt and my father, Enar give me the organ on a very special day. And the Solina has two manuals, bass pedals, a volume pedal and a built in rotating Leslie speaker.

 

 

1969

I get my second organ, a Hammond L-100, and the real thing, a Leslie model 145 cabinet. Now, my sound is real close to Jimmy Smith´s, Jack McDuff´s, Jimmy McGriff´s and Billy Preston´s. I get to know a great drummer, Mats Hellberg. Our musical cooperation and a very special relationship begins.

 

 

 

1970

My first organ trio, The Pierre Swärd Trio. It´s me on the Hammond organ, Lars Christians on bass and John Haglund on drums.

 

 

1971

I play my first recorded organ solo, ”Aurora Borealis” with Björbo Big Band and percussionist Sabu Martinez.

 

1972

A dream comes true. Yes, yes,yes! A Hammond B-3 organ and a big Leslie 122 cabinet! Now the sound is that of Jimmy Smith, Jack McDuff, Jimmy McGriff and Billy Preston! Thank you, mum and dad! 18 years old I go on my first big tour. What a year!

 

 

1973

A one month USA tour with Bortalaget (named The Far Out Gang in USA) is really something. Me on the organ, Lars Christians on bass, John Haglund on drums and Kuno Jansson on the guitar. I especially remember a gig in Buffalo, New York. We play hard swinging and groovy stuff, like “Mr. Clean” and “Rock Candy”. It´s an outdoor concert. There are people all around us, dancing, smiling,screaming. We all go crazy !

 

 

1974

We do a tour to Finland and the Soviet Union with Bortalaget (The Far Out Gang). Later this year I start playing with Soffgruppen, with Clas Yngström, guitar, Matz Nilsson, bass and Anders Kjellberg, drums. This group will have a strong impact on me and my future musical life.

 

1975

Gothenburg is now my home. I tour a lot, and I get to know a lot of new musicians and friends.

 

 

1976

My second organ trio, Vågspel, is formed. Me on the organ, Clas Yngström on guitar and Mats Hellberg on drums. We are inspired by people like Tony Williams´ Lifetime, John Coltrane, Elvin Jones and Miles Davis.

 

 

1978

The great Swedish guitarist George Wadenius (Blood, Sweat & Tears, Steely Dan etc.) goes on the road, and I play the keyboards in his group. Later this year I meet and start to play with Peter O. Ekberg, guitarist, record producer, TV producer etc. Thanks to Peter many good things will happen to me in the future: recording sessions, TV shows, live gigs, etcetera.

 

 

1979

Hot Dogs is the name of my third organ trio. Me on the organ, Kuno Jansson on guitar and John Haglund on drums. The shows go on, but... I fall in love! Love has a name, Immi, and in a few years she will be my wife!

 

 

1980

I love to sing and to vocalise. Now I get my chance to do it. I meet vocalist Meta Roos and we start a duo. Two voices, a Fender Rhodes piano and lots of improvising. Wonderful!

 

 

1981

Two merry men, guitarist Jan Ottesen and bassist Mikael Berglund ask me if I want to join their new group. They have just arrived home, after a musical year in Los Angeles, filled with inspiration from names such as Lee Ritenour, Koinonia, and Dave Grusin. I, too like the American West Coast fusion sound, and so I become a member of the fusion group Life.

 

 

1983

Immi and I get married on July the 16 th – Immi, I Love You ! My playing is now focused to Stockholm. I make a lot of new musical contacts this year. Synthesizers are fun, so I buy one. I feel that a lot of music wants to come out of me. I love all musical styles. There´s so much I like, and so much I want to do.

 

Photo: Ewerts

 

1984

On July the 14th, our first child is born, a boy named Jon! I´m also a member of singer/songwriter Mikael Ramel´s band Harru Lust, together with Nils Landgren, trombone, Henrik Janson, guitar, Erik Westin, bass, and Olle Romö, drums.

 

 

1986

Live gigs, recordings, yes, it´s full speed ahead now, but there are also other things I want to do, musically. I like to write songs, and play all by myself sometimes. So I buy more synthesizers, a drum machine, a sequencer and a multi track recorder. This is quite different from playing the Hammond organ, but I enjoy both.

 

 

1987

On September 23, our second child is born. Another son, named Ola! My fourth organ trio also sees the light of day, once again named the Pierre Swärd Trio. My good friend since 1981, Jan Ottesen, plays guitar and my good friend from 1969, Mats Hellberg is the drummer. I can sense a growing interest in the Hammond sound again. During the 70´s and the 80´s there was a slack in the interest in those heavy organs. But I have always tried to find a space for my Hammond B-3. At the same time, I work a lot with my synthesizers and other ”machines”, making jingles and other music for radio, film, TV and also for live gigs.

 

 

 

1989

I´m involved in all different kinds of music: my organ trio, recordings, tours and radio shows. Totte Päiväriinta has replaced Mats on drums in the trio. The 80´s was a great decade in many ways, but there was little musical room for Hammond organs. But suddenly there´s a move back to the sound of the Hammond organ again!

 

 

1990

Yes, the Hammond organ sound is back! During the 80´s I did not play as much Hammond organ as I wanted to, but now I play my B-3 organ a 100% full time! I have my trio, and I can sense a growing interest in jazz and soul music on the Hammond organ!

 

 

1991

October 24 th at the soul/jazz disco club Blacknuss residing at Jazzclub Fasching in Stockholm, my organ trio performs a show of 100% Hammond jazz´n soul, and what a success we make! This October night means a major breakthrough for me and my trio, now with Jan Ottesen, guitar and Hans Rolin, drums. What a feeling! This is what I have been longing for.

 

 

 

1992

Things are really happening. Soul and jazz influences are all over many new records. Many artists ask for my sound and my style of playing the Hammond organ. My trio plays a lot of jazz clubs and festivals. We do a great and a successful gig at the Stockholm Jazz Festival one warm sunny evening in july. TV channels begin to feature my trio. What a joy! This year I also become a member of the soul/jazz/hiphop collective Blacknuss, and we have lots of fun in the years to come. Blacknuss is me on the organ, Martin Jonsson, drums, Esbjörn Svensson, Fender Rhodes, Christian Falk, bass, Joakim Milder, tenorsax, Goran Kajfes, trumpet, Per “Ruskträsk” Johansson, altosax, Mattias Torell, guitar, Malando Gassama, percussion and Kristoffer Wallman, keyboards.

 

 

Photo: Pål Allan Diesel Music AB

 

1993

Lots of work: My organ trio, the Blacknuss gigs, TV, radio, records, …yes, I´m so happy! The Hammond B-3 forever!

 

 

1994

The positive trend continues. A lot of people ask if I have released an album as a leader. “Sorry, not yet,….but soon, I hope”, I answer. However, the first Blacknuss album, ”Made in Sweden”, is released this year. I also do a tour with guitarist Ulf Wakenius and drummer Nils-Bertil Dahlander. One gig of that tour is recorded, and gets released on cd. The new name of my own trio is now Pierre Swärd Hammond Jazz´n´Soul Group.

 

 

1995

MM, a popular Swedish music magazine, features me in an article by Mikael Jansson. Blacknuss does a short tour to London, a delicious experience. Blacknuss is also nominated for a Swedish Grammy award, but sorry, you can´t win´em all...

 

 

 

1996

My first solo record, ”Organ Jazz´n Soul” is finally released, it´s my trio plus sax players Per “Ruskträsk” Johansson and Per Grebacken! Wow! One day I get a phone call. I´m asked to do a gig with the legendary, fantastic drummer Bernard ”Pretty” Purdie at Hotel Lydmar in Stockholm. Mr. Purdie and I do a spontaneous, improvised duo jam session in the afternoon, and later in the evening we do a gig together with some other musician friends, in front of an enthusiastic audience. What a day! The second Blacknuss album is released. I´m a part of the house band in a new talk show, ”Sen kväll med Luuk”, on national TV. The Hammond sound has never been focused upon that much, in a long time. My B-3 playing is also heard on a new cd, ”Blues Up”, by guitarist Max Schultz.

 

 

1997

The cd ”Organ Jazz´n Soul” get a lot of positive reviews. I´m so happy to have my trio. Great things also happen to Blacknuss. We win not only a Swedish Grammy, but also another award, “The Dance Music Award”! We go to London once again for a tour in the sunny summer. More TV work and a new tour, which ends in Cologne, Germany.

 

 

 

 

1998

I´m invited to jam with keyboard player and singer Michael Ruff for two days at Jazzclub Fasching in Stockholm. Fun, fun, fun! Drummer Dan Strömqvist replaces Hans Rolin in my trio. I also tour a lot with Blues Transfusion. A great group with me on the organ, altosax player Håkan Broström, guitarist Max Schultz, bass player Petter Gunnarsson and Bosse Skoglund on drums. Peps Persson is the singer. Sven Zetterberg was the singer in Blues Transfusion before Peps.

 

 

1999

I buy a new Hammond organ, my number four, a model XB-3. But my old B-3 is still with me. I have a good relation with Patrik and Birgitta Gudmundsäter, of Hammond Sweden. My hometown, Borlänge, awards me the culture scholarship of the year. For the first time ever I do a church concert, playing the big church organ. I hope it´s not the last. Once more I´m invited to jam with Michael Ruff at Jazzclub Fasching. The groove goes on!

 

2000

I do an hour long live show, ”Jazz på Nalen”, transmitted direct on Swedish national TV. With me are Jan Ottesen, guitar, the new drummer Joakim Ekberg and guest saxophonist Per “Ruskträsk” Johansson. We have lots of fun!

 

 

 

2001

Well, it´s a few years since my first cd, ”Organ Jazz´n Soul” came out, but now Number Two is released! It´s called ”Up and at it”, all recorded live. I get more positive reviews! I also get to know ”The Jazz Organ Man” in California, USA, Mr. Pete Fallico. I´m sure that every organ player appreciate what Pete does for the jazz organ. I´m very proud and honoured that he wrote the liner notes for ”Up and at it”. Thank you, Pete! It´s amazing how the Internet opens up communications. I get to know organ players and fans from all over the world. Thanks Juergen, Sigbjörn, John E., Rick, Jon, Ed, Jeff, Angelo, Fraser, Anders, Arno, Gareth, Stefan and the rest of you from all around the world! And we all love the Hammond organ, don´t we? A very special gig takes place in Borlänge this year, Hammond Orgasm! 7 Hammond organs and 7 Leslies on stage at the same time. Can you imagine how it sounds when we all play together?

 

 

 

2002

In May I do a very exciting demo for Hammond Sweden. I play the prototype of the new digital B-3 organ. Yes, it´s a real B-3! The sound, the touch - this is a B-3 alright! The President of Hammond Suzuki Europe, Mr. Siemen C. Lassche attends the demo. He is a real nice person, and we get to know each other very well! When this “New B-3” weekend demo is done, another positive surprise awaits me. In October I take a flight to The Netherlands. Hammond Suzuki Europe wants me to do a demo tour with The New B-3. I´m very happy and honoured! Siemen and Jan Kok at Hammond Suzuki Europe and Yu Beniya from Hammond Suzuki, Japan, many thanks to you all!

Beside my own group I also play a lot with two ther groups. It´s "Ulf Wakenius Hammond Jazz Project" with me, Ulf, altosax player Håkan Broström and drummer Jonas Johansen. The other group is "NOW" with me, Clas Yngström, giutar, Jan "Janka" Johansson, giutar, and Mats Hellberg on the drums.

 

2003

The fifth organ comes into my life. It´s the New B-3! Wow! My new B-3 and my old B-3 (affectionately known as ”Gamla Bettan” in Swedish, ”Old Betty” in English) get on well with each other. More gigs, more tours, I´m an altogether happy man!

 

Photo: Patrik Gudmundsäter/

Swedish Hammond

 

2004

Just let me say: The Hammond is back, so Get On Down to the B-3 Sound!

 

 

Photo: Ingvar Eriksson / Jemtska Hammondsällskapet

Liner notes from ”Up and at it

It has been a shear delight to know the music of Pierre Swärd. I must thank the omnipresent Internet for the opportunity to ”meet” Pierre, but I was actually aware of his music long before I made contact with him in Sweden. In fact, I proudly played his track Get on down to the B-3 sound on both my radio shows here in California, wondering if someday I would be able to hear more from this marvelous and gifted artist. Pierre plays my favorite musical instrument, the Hammond organ, and Pierre embraces it like few others. He brings an exciting array of tones to the bandstand and his love to the history of jazz organ is always apparent.

Pete Fallico

KUSP, Monterey Bay Area

KCSM, San Francisco Bay Area

 

Liner notes from ”Organ Jazz´n Soul”

  In the current digitized high-tech world of music, the huge Hammond B-3 organ still attracts a huge, loyal following. And few love the Hammond organ more than Pierre Swärd. For 25 years, he´s been the Swedish Hammond organist, playing with the proverbial ”everybody”. During the 90´s Pierre Swärd has occupied the organ bench full time. He´s a first call session player and he regularly performs with his own group. And he loves it! You can see it as he performs; he plays with all of his body, jumping up and down on the organ bench, grinning happily, a physical act as much as a musical one. So, go Get On Down to the B-3 Sound!

Mikael Jansson

freelance music journalist