Cool Funeral Beer

Posted 2021-08-09

“Av og til lurer jeg på hvorfor det ikke er flere band og ensembler som spiller denne formen for jazz, hvor man henter inspirasjoner og ideer fra fjerne himmelstrøk i stedet for å kun se mot USA eller bruke nordisk folkemusikk som basis, som det eneste rette. For i dagens jazz, særlig her i Norden, er det nesten bare Bengt Berger som holder denne fanen høyt. Og hvis denne konserten skulle regnes som øving, så kan vi bare glede oss til det blir alvor! For dette var strålende!” -Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts

In the early eighties we created the Bitter Funeral Beer, a work greatly inspired by the funeral traditions of the Lo-Birifor peoples of Northern Ghana where their funeral ceremonies are concluded one or several years after the first ceremony with the Cool Funeral Beer ceremony. Likewise we are trying to reach the conclusion of our version some 40 years later. This will happen thru a series of open rehearsals until we reach the full three days of performing our Cool Funeral Beer for the last time.

There are three parts in this requiem:

Almost all my favourite musicians are in the band: Thomas Gustafsson, Sigge Krantz, Lise-Lotte Norelius from the original band are joined by Lars Almqvist, trumpet; Robin Cochrane, balaphone, percussion; Signe Dahlgren, saxes; Marque Gilmore, percussion; Peter Janson, bass;  Martin Jonsson, percussion; Sir Thomas Jäderlund, saxes, bass clarinet; Göran Klinghagen, guitar: Jonas Knutsson, saxes; Sten Källman, saxes; Emanuelle Martin, vocal; Marianne Nlemwo Lindén, vocal, percussion; Livet Nord, violin; Viktor Reuter, acoustic and electric bass; Mattias Ståhl, marimba, xylophones; Staffan Svensson, trumpet; Mats Äleklint, trombone, sousaphone, harmonica. Most of us will be present at any one time. Original member Christer Bothén might be our guest on lucky occasions.

Here is a short film from Gothenburg when we practise one of the pieces in the Cool Funeral Beer, Hambo:

Our first public rehearsal was supposed to take place at the exhibition about Moki and Don Cherry in New York last year in October. We all know why that did not happen, but we have been practising separately and in small groups and on September 4, many of us met and practised together for the first time in Copenhagen. Here is a short clip with some great dancing at the beautiful Bellahøj friluftsscene:

We were 17 musicians in Copenhagen: Lars Almqvist, trumpet; Bengt Berger, kogyil, percussion; Christer Bothén bass clarinet; Robin Cochrane, balaphone, percussion; Signe Dahlgren, saxes; Marque Gilmore, percussion; Thomas Gustafsson, saxes; Peter Janson, bass; Sir Thomas Jäderlund, saxes, bass clarinet; Jonas Knutsson, saxar; Sigge Krantz, guitar; Sten Källman, saxes; Marianne Nlemwo Lindén, vocal, percussion; Emmanuelle Martin, vocal; Lise-Lotte Norelius, percussion, electronics; Viktor Reuter, bass; Staffan Svensson, trumpet; Mats Äleklint, trombone, sousaphone, harmonica

“I bandet sitter mange av Sveriges beste jazzmusikere, og med vokalen i front, solide solister og et strålende ensemblespill ble dette en höydare av en konsert. Vi merket oss et intenst og fint bassklarinettspill fra Christer Bothén, som har vært med i Bergers store band fra starten, nydelig trompetspill fra Svensson og en himmelsk trombonesolo fra Äleklint, pluss vakker vokal og en perkusjonsgruppe som Berger førte gjennom konserten på en utmerket måte.” -Jan Granlie, Salt Peanuts

Some photos from Copenhagen:


all records with Cool Funeral Beer