It all started with a scratchy, somewhat surfacenoisy tape early in 1966.There were a few Italian words scribbled on a piece of paper – and someone called Guido Manusardi playing a whole lot of piano. Well, Sweden is fairly used to Italian musicians traveling the hotel and restaurant circuit. But Italian jazz musicians in the business – that was a novelty. Even more so since signor Manusardi appeard to be ready for a wide audience.In fact, not even that first and badly balanced do-it-yourself tape managed to conceal that the man was a minor-sensation.
Unfortunately, research on the subject revealed that Guido Manusardi at the time was fullfilling a long-time engagement as a solo pianist in Visby. A town which certainly is within reach for the Swedish Radio, but also suffers from a shortage of decent rhythm sections. Temporarily, plans to record him had to be dropped.A couple of weeks later, reports from the March 1966 San Remo jazz festival had it that one Manusardi, unknown pianist, was the man, and the revelation of the whole event. Our man from Chiavenna, Italy, had been invited by jazz critic Arrigo Polillo to play with Swedish rhythm section. Bjorn Alke (bass) and Bo Skoglund (drums). Frantic phone calls to Italy were all but successful: “sorry, no tapes available from San Remo”. This album should help explain all the fuss. It is Guido Manusardi’s first and he gets expert backing by Sture Nordin, bass, and Albert “Tootie” Heath, drums. Tootie is, of course, American expatriate brother to Percy Heath of The Modern Jazz Quartet, and to Jimmy Heath, arranger and tenor saxophonist. Since I’ve been told to keep this liner small-talk short, I will only bother you with a few more facts about Guido Manusardi: born in 1935 in Chiavenna; a resident of Sweden since 1963; digs Bill Evans, McCoy Tyner and others – a fact that you may be able to discover for youself.Without making too much of a cross word riddle of it. Guido Manusardi is also very much his own man. And yes, he speaks Swedish too – if you want to call him for your next birthday party. But there are already a few of us who have a notion that he won’t be around in assorted Swedish cocktail bars for ever . He’s been buried in such emporiums too long. - Hans Fridlund