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Swedish jazz guitarist Ulf Wakenius talks to JGT’s Bob Bakert about playing with Oscar Peterson, Ray Brown, and Billy Cobham. Exclusive Video Podcast.
Sweden has given the world Abba, Volvo, Saab, and indeed Britt Ekland. All of which are great Swedish contributions to the landscape of the lives of people of a certain age. But Ulf is more… Ulf Wakenius is more akin to another amazing Swedish contribution – the Swedish built Koenigsegg, a 1700 horsepower, 250 mph, street legal supercar which simply astounds. In the world of jazz, indeed Ulf is a giant who astounds. Ulf has played with the best – from Oscar Peterson to Billy Cobham. Check out his amazing history as he tells it. We are honored to have him on our cover this month… Thank You Ulf!
JGT: What musical project would be your dream?
Ulf: A dream would be playing with full Symphony Orchestra. Playing my compositions. Of course, if I got a chance to play with Herbie Hancock again, that would be fantastic!
JGT: What were some of your most challenging musical experiences?
Ulf: Playing Duo concert with Pat Metheny was challenging and exciting experience. Playing chase choruses with Oscar Peterson on ”Sweet Georgia Brown” at a sold out Hollywood Bowl an amazing challenge! Playing slow blues with Ray Brown was a very developing experience. Learn to just stay in the groove. Playing after Michael Brecker´s solo on ”Softly As A Morning Sunrise” was extremely developing! You just want to go and hide after his solo, but you are forced to play solo after him. The ring of fire.
Ulf Wakenius Video Highlights
0.05 – Pat Metheny – Ulf Wakenius Duo ”Bright Size Life” (Pat Metheny)
4:57 – Ulf Wakenius – Solo Guitar ”Georgia on my Mind”
13:38 – Oscar Peterson Quartet with Ulf Wakenius – NHOP-Martin Drew concert in Vienna, Austria
21:53 – Moose The Moche (Charlie Parker) – Ulf Wakenius Quintet Feat, Michael Brecker, Ray Brown, Niels Lan Doky, Terri lyne Carrington
39:16 – Softly as A Morning Sunrise – Michael Brecker, Ulf Wakenius, Benny Green, Christian McBride, Alvin Queen
JGT: What songs and/or tunes should all aspiring jazz guitarist learn?
Ulf: My suggestion for aspiring jazz guitarists is: Get yourself a pallette of tunes with different colors. Some standards medium advanced like Stella by Starlight, Secret Love etc. A couple of 3/4 Someday my prince will come, Bluesette, some modal, Impressions etc some ballads Round midnight, Body and Soul etc. some Brazilian tunes, How insensitive, Wave etc and of course some Blues themes like Billie´s Bounce, Sandu etc Don’t get stuck on Giant Steps. Get yourself a foundation of jam tunes and keep exploring and developing yourself.
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