An award-winning jazz vocalist from Sweden with an international following, Rigmor Gustafsson has strong ties to the United States, where she launched her career, as well as Germany, where she recorded for the ACT label, not to mention her homeland, where she is a contemporary jazz icon. In addition to her studio recordings and live performances, she's an accredited educator who taught at both the Royal Academy and Royal College of Music in Stockholm for a couple years before her singing career became a full-time profession. Born on April 12, 1966, in Värmskog, Sweden, Gustafsson studied at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm from 1986 to 1991, with a jazz vocal major, and received a Master of Fine Arts degree in music education in 1992. Upon graduating, she began working as a professional singer; moreover, she moved to New York City in 1993 and, in addition to working as a singer, studied at the New School Jazz Program. In 1994, while in New York City, she formed the Rigmor Gustafsson Quintet (Tino Derado, piano; Gabriel Coburger, saxophones, flute; Hans Glawischnig, bass; Roland Schneider, drums) with whom she toured Germany in 1995 and then again in 1996.
With her career now firmly established, she moved back to Sweden in 1996, settling in Stockholm, where she taught for a couple years, first at the Royal College of Music and then the Royal Academy. Her first two albums — In the Light of Day (1996) and Plan #46 (1998), both released by Prophone Records — featured the aforementioned Rigmor Gustafsson Quintet and were well received critically. In 1999 she formed a new quintet of Swedish musicians with whom she recorded her third album, Rigmor Gustafsson (2000), live at Jazzclub Mosebacke in Stockholm. In the years that followed she toured extensively, traveling throughout the world, and she also appeared on television regularly as a live performer. In 2003 she signed to the German label ACT for her fourth album, I Will Wait for You. A series of albums on ACT followed, including Close to You (2004), On My Way to You (2006), and Alone with You (2007). The latter album, comprised entirely of original songs, was particularly successful, topping the Swedish jazz albums chart (and peaking at number 15 on the overall Swedish albums chart) and winning her a 2007 Swedish Grammy Award (i.e., Grammi Award) for Best Jazz Album. ~ Jason Birchmeier