Peter Asplund: In a Swedish Way
But to survive as a jazz musician in a small country like Sweden, you have to wear a good many musical hats. Asplund features in the Stockholm Jazz Orchestra, playing his own composition "The Prowlers" on their excellent album Stockholm Jazz Orchestra Plays Stockholm Jazz Orchestra (Dragon, 2007). He's also part of the Malmo-based Tolvan Big Band and the more lightweight Swedish rock band, Bo Kasper's Orkester, which has had considerable success both in the Nordic Area and elsewhere in Europe. He says he has no problem with switching roles, "but my musical center is my quartet," he says. "I make artistic statements with that."
He's played with both Herbie Hancock and McCoy Tyner. "I have a good friend, Peter Johannesson, a drummer, who knows Herbie pretty well. He's brought him over to Sweden several times. We've cut a record with him and played some gigs. McCoy came over with his trio a few years back to play his music for big band with the Swedish Radio Jazz Band."
In the summer of 2007, Asplund's quartet was invited to play the jazz festival in Rochester, NY. "They had a Nordic theme and all the different groups from Scandinavia played in the local Lutheran church. It was a fantastic gig, with hundreds of people there." There's a video of him on YouTube playing "Bye Bye Blackbird" in the church.
When he's not playing trumpet or writing music, Peter reads "crime, philosophy, humor, New Age, biography." His favorite book on jazz is Geoff Dyer's But Beautiful: A Book about Jazz (North Point, 1997), which he feels "really captures the essence of the music and its players."
Asplund also describes himself as a "movie freak." He's a big fan of Al Pacino. "I'm always first in line for a ticket when one of his films is released. But my choice in movies depends on my mood. Sometimes I just want a good laugh. I love British humor: Monty Python, Peter Sellers. And of course, I watch jazz movies. There's one from the 1960s that I really like, A Man Called Adam (1966), with Sammy Davis Junior playing a trumpeter. And I enjoyed Spike Lee's Mo Better Blues (1990)."