The interest in traditional jazz music, played as concert music, gospel music and dance music has seen a renaissance. Nowadays young people who have been brought up with disco and techno music get very excited when listening and dancing to the acoustic rhythmic jazz music played by a live band.
Birger’s Ragtime Band was formed in spring 2011 by five jazz musicians, Birger Lindstrom cl, Robert de Godzinsky p, Jukka Jarvela bjo, Jussi Sipila b and Sven-Erik Krogius dr & washboard, that had played in different bands in Finland and abroad since the early seventies. The band plays frequently in jazz clubs, restaurants, private parties, company parties for customers and in churches and of course at jazz festivals.
Even if most of the tunes that Birger's Ragtime Band plays belong to the traditional jazz repertoire, played by Louis Armstrong, King Oliver, Jelly Roll Morton and others, there are also some tunes from Finland on this album. This is nothing new. Also the early musicians in New Orleans used marches and popular songs playing them as jazz. This is also true for the revival musicians in the nineteen forties and later on. Among these, Bunk Johnson and George Lewis are the most famous. Also European musicians like Mr. Acker Bilk, Chris Barber, Dutch Swing College Band and Papa Bue's Viking Jazzband had several hits when they played well known tunes as jazz.
The Swedish-born singer Annika Cleo - former Hultman - was raised in Helsinki and has been part of the Finnish jazz stage since the beginning of the 1990´s. Her talent and diversity has led her to perform within many different genres but alongside the others, jazz has always been there. Her first jazz record "Heavenly" was released in 1995 and was followed up in 1998 with the album "Daydreamin´ Strayhorn" with UMO jazz orchestra, Larry Coryell and Ulf Johansson Werre. In 2010 she released her solo record "Yours Truly" hence taking the role of a composer and producer as well.
Teaming up with Birger´s Ragtime Band, her good-spirited, captivating sound blooms into new dimensions and the bubbling joy at the heart of the New Orleans jazz tradition has gotten a new voice!
Philip Hedlund is one of the founders of Birger's Ragtime Band. On this album he plays/sings on the tunes 08, 10, 11, 12 and 16. He still joins the band on gigs occasionally.