Putte Wickman was born on September 10, 1924, in the Swedish town of Falun. He learned the clarinet, and by the time he left school he was ready for a professional career in Sweden. When he started out, bebop was just becoming the rage, and he adapted quite easily. He performed with Simon Brehm and Charlie Norman for a period, but eventually moved out on his own to start his own gospel/jazz group with pianist Reinhold Svensson. The two performed together in Stockholm until the mid-'50s, when Wickman dropped off to play with various other jazz artists and lead a big band at the Stockholm Grand Hotel. He worked with Jimmy Raney, Lars Gullin, and Svend Asmussen until finally he tried his luck in the United States, landing in New York City in 1959. He performed in America for a long time, appearing at Carnegie Hall among other places. He began touring internationally in the '70s, mostly as a solo act. By the '90s, he was not only still playing live but recording again, appearing at the Swedish Jazz Festival among other engagements.