Bert Dahlander |

Bert Dahlander

Bert Dahlander, 83, died Monday, June 6, 2011 in Mesquite, Nev.

He was born May 13, 1928 in Göteborg, Sweden, to Nils and Engla Karlmark Dahlander. He married Birgitta Leyman.

As a young child he was given piano and violin lessons, but he loved rhythm and became an internationally acclaimed jazz drummer. When he was 14, his parents gave him a book on Picasso, which fueled his interest as an artist.

In Sweden, he led a quartet and played in a radio band. After making some recordings with celebrated Swedish jazz musician Lars Gullin in 1951 and 1952, his interests turned to the United States. He came to New York in 1958, knowing no one and unable to speak English. He started playing at the Metropole, the “jazz center” of New York. As he built his reputation, he became friends with legendary jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. He also signed an endorsement with the drum maker Slingerland, supplying him with his drums. Bert eventually met and played with people such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Harry James, Dave Brubeck, and was in a trio with Teddy Wilson, who was a member of Benny Goodman’s orchestra.

Bert also had a love for painting. His paintings were inspired by his music and he named several of them after songs. He often painted after playing until two or three in the morning to relax. He never did like to sell his paintings because “You can never replace a painting.”

He is survived by his wife Birgitta; three daughters, Kristin Paschke of Southlake, Texas, and Sanna and Lulli Dahlander of Palm Springs, Calif.; and eight grandchildren.

The family invites you to leave a message or memory in their “Memorial Guestbook” at

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