Putte Wickman was born Hans Olof Wickman on September 10, 1924 in Falun, Sweden and grew up in Borlänge, Sweden, where his parents hoped he would become a lawyer. He nagged them to allow him to go to high school in Stockholm. Arriving in the capital at 15 not knowing what jazz was, and not having access to a piano his mother gave him a clarinet and by then he had started to hang out with those with jazz records.
With Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman as his role models by 1944, he had already turned to music full-time. He was taken on as band leader at Stockholm’s Nalen and in 1945 the newly founded Swedish newspaper Expressen described him as the country’s foremost clarinet player.
For eleven years Putte led his own band at Nalen and during the 1960s he ran the big band at Gröna Lund, and at Puttes, the club he part-owned, at Hornstull in Stockholm. He gave church performances and concerts yearly and stayed active until shortly before his death. In 1994, Wickman received the Illis Quorum gold medal, the highest award that can be conferred upon an individual Swedish citizen by the Government of Sweden.
Clarinetist Putte Wickman, who considered himself self-taught having never taken a classes on the instrument and a member of the Royal Swedish Musical Academy, passed away on 14 February 2006 in Grycksbo, Sweden.
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