Jan Johansson (jazz musician)

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Jan Johansson
Johansson in 1965
Johansson in 1965
Background information
Born(1931-09-16)16 September 1931
Söderhamn, Hälsingland, Sweden
Died9 November 1968(1968-11-09) (aged 37)
Sollentuna, Sweden
Years active1948–68
LabelsMegafon, Rosa Honung, Dot, ACT Music
Associated actsAnders Johansson
Jens Johansson
The Johansson Brothers

Jan Johansson (16 September 1931 – 9 November 1968) was a Swedish jazz pianist. His album Jazz på svenska (Jazz in Swedish) is the best selling jazz release ever in Sweden; it has sold over a quarter of a million copies and has been streamed more than 10 million times on Spotify. He was the father of former HammerFall drummer Anders Johansson and Stratovarius keyboardist Jens Johansson, who run Heptagon Records which keeps their father's recordings available.


Johansson was a native of Söderhamn, in the Hälsingland province of Sweden. Studying classical piano as a child, he would also go on to master the guitar, organ and accordion, before turning on to swing and bebop as a teenager. He met saxophonist Stan Getz while at university. He abandoned his studies to play jazz full-time, and worked with many American jazz musicians, becoming the first European to be invited to join the Jazz at the Philharmonic package.

The years 1961 to 1968, produced a string of classic albums, which would help define his style of re-imagining traditional European folk tunes via jazz and the avant garde. These included Jazz på svenska (Jazz in Swedish) and Jazz på ryska (Jazz in Russian) which are both available in an expanded form on CD. Jazz på ungerska (Jazz in Hungarian) together with Danish Jazz violinist Svend Asmussen is the third album in that series. Jazz på svenska comprises variations on sixteen Swedish folk songs with Georg Riedel playing double bass. During this period, Johansson also made several recordings with Radiojazzgruppen.

The Grammy award winning albums Musik genom fyra sekler (Music from the past four centuries) builds on traditional Swedish melodies, but this time uses larger groups of musicians. There were also 300.000 and two trio sets, 8 Bitar and Innertrio, which have been reissued as a single CD.

With his career including film & TV music, Johansson is also best known as the composer of "Here Comes Pippi Longstocking" ("Här kommer Pippi Långstrump"), the theme song of the famous Swedish TV series, Pippi Longstocking. With lyrics by character/series creator Astrid Lindgren and sung by the series' young star Inger Nilsson, it would also be one of Johansson's last works.[1]

In November 1968, Jan Johansson died in a car crash on his way to a concert in a church in Jönköping, Sweden.


American hip hop group Non Phixion sampled "Bandura" for their song "Skum". The Swedish band Opeth has claimed him as an influence on the title track for their album Heritage.


As leader[edit]

Year recorded Title Label Notes
1959–60 Younger Than Springtime Artist With Arne Domnérus (alto sax), Dan Jordan, Georg Riedel and Sture Nordin (bass; separately), Egil Johansen and William Schiöpffe (drums; separately)
1961 8 bitar Johansson Megafon Trio, with Gunnar Johnson (bass), Ingvar Callmer (drums)
1962? Innertrio Megafon Trio, with Georg Riedel (bass), Egil Johansen (drums)
1963? Rörelser Megafon with Georg Riedel
1962–64 Jazz på svenska Megafon Duo, with Georg Riedel (bass)
1964 In pleno Megafon With Rune Gustafsson (guitar), Georg Riedel (bass), Egil Johansen (drums), Rupert Clemendore (percussion)
1964? Sweden Nonstop DOT
1964? Svenska folklåtar Ais/Megarock
1966? Dansa med TV AB Megafon
1966 Live in Tallinn Heptagon Trio, with Rune Gustafsson (guitar), Georg Riedel (bass); in concert[2]
1964–66 Spelar musik på sitt eget vis Megafon With Andreas Skjold (trombone), Arne Domnérus (alto sax, clarinet), Claes Rosendahl (clarinet), Bjarne Nerem (tenor sax), Rune Gustafsson (guitar), Georg Riedel, Sture Nordin and Sture Akerberg (bass), Egil Johansen and Rupert Clemendore (drums)[2]
1966? Barnkammarmusik Megafon with Bengt-Arne Wallin
1967? Jazz på ryska Megafon With Georg Riedel (bass), Egil Johansen (drums), Arne Domnérus (clarinet), Bosse Broberg (trumpet), Lennart Åberg (tenor sax)
1964–68 In Hamburg ACT Some tracks duo, with Georg Riedel; some tracks with big band[3]
1967–68 300.000 Megafon With Lennart Åberg (tenor sax), Georg Riedel (bass), Egil Johansen and Rupert Clemendore (drums), Gote Nilsson (electronics); in concert[2]
1967–68 Den korta fristen Heptagon With big band[2]
1968 Musik genom fyra sekler Megafon With Claes Rosendahl (clarinet, flute), Sven Berger (flute, oboe, bassoon), Rune Gustafsson (guitar), Georg Riedel, Arne Wilhelmsson and Sture Akerberg (bass)[2]
På skiva med Jan Johansson Megafon
Intervju med ett piano Rosa Honung
Blues Heptagon
Piano Heptagon


With Svend Asmussen
  • 1968: Spelar jazz på ungerska (Megafon Records)
With Radiojazzgruppen
  • 1969: Vårdkasar (Sveriges Radio)
  • 1970: Frostrosor (Sveriges Radio), with Georg Riedel
  • 1991: Den korta fristen (Megafon Records)
With Alice Babs
  • 2007: Illusion (Vax Records ), with Georg Riedels Orkester
With Stan Getz

With Oscar Pettiford


  1. ^ Pippi Långstrump. IMDB.com. Retrieved 19 December 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e Cook, Richard; Morton, Brian (2008). The Penguin Guide to Jazz Recordings (9th ed.). Penguin. pp. 781–782. ISBN 978-0-141-03401-0.
  3. ^ Lindsay, Bruce (20 September 2011). "Jan Johansson with Georg Riedel: in Hamburg". All About Jazz. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  4. ^ "Jan Johansson". Discography. Discogs.com. Retrieved 2014-11-07.

External links[edit]