Saturday, May 19, 2012


Drummer, percussionist and composer Bengt Berger has performed with many jazz and world music ensembles. He has been studying music in India since 1965 and in Ghana in the seventies.
He performed with Don Cherry and with the Bitter Funeral Beer Band, and has recorded as Berger Knutsson Spering, and Beches Brew to name a few.

Bengt Berger started the Country & Eastern record label in 2005.
Country & Eastern has released improvisational jazz, indian world music, and much more.

Bengt Berger: "Country & Eastern will produce live music and albums with what we consider Great music regardless of style. The common factor is quality"

The story behind "The Vedbod Tapes" is quite interesting: Bengt Berger, Roland Keijser and Kjell Westling had been playing together since the second half of the 1960's. Their ways parted, but occasionally crossed again. One of these occasions took place in the summer of 1977.
Roland Keijser: "I was at the time close to taking a break from music. I had moved out into the country, and a year earlier sawed my left hand badly. A quiet life in the woods beckoned...
But what is one to do when good friends call by, thirsting to play?"

And that's where "The Vedbod Tapes" start, at Roland Keijser's vedbod (= woodshed). Roland Keijser on soprano sax, clarinet, bamboo flute and cornet; the late Kjell Westling on bass clarinet, sopranino sax, harmonium and violin; and Bengt Berger on drums and mridangam (an indian drum).

The result sounds very impressive. You get a collection of improvisations in which jazz, free jazz, western folk and eastern melodies and percussion are mixed into adventurous musical pieces: fine improvisations and great interaction. This is great.

As Roland Keijser adds in the liner notes: "What do we play? Apparently free from the heart, memory and imagination. Mostly collective improvisations. But also a couple of Ornette Coleman tunes, some popular songs, the odd polska, waltz and halling, a few tango bars... But, above all, sundry lengthy chunks of unidentifiable invetions, the names of which are known only to the woodshed..."

"The Vedbod Tapes" is a beautiful album, and a fine salute to Kjell Westling who passed away in the autumn of 2010.

Recommended listening!
Here's Spjärnsvallet (with Bengt 'Beche' Berger and Kjell Westling) with a piece from the "Pojkarna" album from 1975.

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