In Memoriam HARALD HULT (1940 – 2018)
by Mats Gustafsson
Harald was born Nov 13th, 1940
Opening track: Karen Dalton’s – “It hurts me too”. The all- time favorite song of Harald Hult!
Or just the way things work?
My mentor. In music. In literature. In life. Harald Hult. He was running the Antikvariat Blå Tornet since 1967 in Stockholm, specializing in literature of August Strindberg. In 1986, shortly after moving down to Stockholm from northern Sweden, I was rehearsing with my group AALY Trio in a basement under the shop. We soon became very good friends, and very rapidly turned our focuses towards listening to jazz and improvised music and doing so under the umbrella of our common “blindfold”- meets. Once a week, for at least 5 years straight… mostly in the company of artist Edward Jarvis, the artist that created the cover image of Allt är Intet (as well as that of Svårmod Och Vemod Är Värdesinnen and that of Nedresa). But also inviting different guests to join us for drinks, curry-pizza and DEEP listening sessions. After the initial years, we met as often as we could/ dared, without causing a total breakdown within our families. Listening to music blindfolded is a great learner. And it does change how you perceive the music. To the better. To the worse. But always in an honest, open way. In a world full of preconceptions, this is at least something to learn from.
Totally dedicated to ALL kinds of jazz. Harald taught me everything I know about older jazz and related music. And he taught everyone around us HOW to listen. And listen again. And again. To pay attention. To details. To form. With an amazing sense of humor and seriousness he taught many generations of musicians and listeners in Sweden (and abroad) in his book- and record-shop. A shop that slowly became perhaps the best and most intense record shop outside of Japan. He named it “Andra Jazz”. Which would translate as “second jazz” or “different jazz”.
I owe him big time. On all levels possible. ACTIVE listening. No chic background listening of the mainstream. Active and dedicated listening. Feel the swing! Listen to that accents! Pay attention to that break! Dig that mistake! Hear, hear! Use it all. Make it your own. Play your OWN music – but PAY ATTENTION! LISTEN UP! LISTEN UP!
I feel very privileged that we are about to release the 2nd studio album of The End on Haralds – what was to become his – 80th birthday! Opening the album with his favorite song by Karen Dalton. INSANE! I just realized this, the other day. And it blows my mind. It makes me smile. I need to pay more attention now. What other coincidents are around the corners? Pay attention! LISTEN UP!
Nickelsdorf, November 11th,2020