French traditional jazz band still popular among fans in their fifties!
CHARQUET & CO. - LOVE RECORDING IN GENTBRUGGE (BELGIUM) 1976
In the 1970s the Charquet et Co jazz band was one of the most popular traditional jazz bands of Western Europe. The group, directed by Jean-Pierre Morel, toured along Belgian and Dutch venues all over the country, but, what a shame, I never joined them at one of those concerts in those days. I did had, and still have, a bunch of LPs recorded by this French band: Crazy Quilt ( SOS 1008) - Live at the Joseph Lam Jazz Club ( SOS 1039) and Jungle Jamboree ( SOS 1076), all on the Stomp Off label. I also have an early one, entitled Sharkey et Co "Kansas City Kitty" on the Pragmaphone label. When Jean-Pierre Morel disbanded the band late 1970s no more records were made of course, but - years later - some "forgotten" recordings were issued, like the 1990 album with 1976 live recordings at the Cave du Hot Club de France. A few weeks ago I was so lucky to find another 1989 reissue: Charquet and Co: You'll Long For Me ( S.O.S. 1195) and Gerard Bielderman pointed me to a CD with live recordings in Holland. As it is remarkable that almost all records made in 1976 and 1977 were made in The Netherlands or Belgium, I love to introduce you to the two latter releases.
Jean-Pierre Morel (photo courtesy: Patrick Gervais)
The first one mentioned is the Stomp Off release Charquet and Co (sic): You'll Long for Me. This one contains a concert at the International Jazz Meeting in Gentbrugge (Belgium) on the 6th of June 1976. This concert was recorded by the late Guy Delvigne, who was a dedicated fan of Charquet. The group Charquet et Co was founded by Jean-Pierre Morel in 1967 as the Reverend Sharkey's Congregation. The name of the band was related to New Orleans trumpet player Sharkey Bonano, one of those 1920s legends in jazz. Later the name of the band became Sharkey et Co and, up to 1977, Charquet et Co. The recordings made in Gentbrugge were made in a tent during the festival underneath a motorway intersection and the acoustics were very bad. In the liner notes Rob Bamberger quotes Morel that it was very hard to hear what his colleagues were playing. His colleagues were Alain Marquet, Marc Bresdin and Michel Bescont on reeds. The rhythm section contained Bernard Thevin on piano, Lionel Benhamou on banjo and Gerard Gervois on tuba. The regular trombone player Daniel Barda was not at the concert because he had to play elsewhere during the festival.
Enjoy a fragment of a registration on French television ( in black and white) of an early Charquet performances, when they still wrere entitled Sharkey: Rumba Negra.
The sleeve information says ithat the Gentbrugge recordings were made in the Lazy River Jazz Club, so maybe someone can tell me what info is correct. The numbers played during the concert and available on the album are a mix of known and unknown tunes from the 1920s. What to think about New Orleans Wiggle? This tune was originally recorded by Piron's New Orleans Orchestra in December 1923 and a half year later recorded by George McLennon's Jazz Devils for Okeh. As I don't have the Piron record this one is my reference point. An obscure tune played by an obscure band.
Doin' The Crazy Walk is another obscure tune, as far as I know, never recorded by its composer Duke Ellington. The title tune, You'll Long for Me, composed by Clarence Williams in 1925, recorded in 1927 for Columbia is another obscure tune dug up and recorded ( although incomplete) by Morel. Although most of the tunes were part of their regular repertoire, you've never have to be afraid to listen to a copy of the same tunes. The version of Luis Russel's Sweet Mumtaz is played faster then on the Jungle Jamboree recorded almost a year later in Haarlem ( The Netherlands), like the Cushion Foot Stomp version recorded in Haarlem too, October 1977. That version had a trombone player and a second cornet player ( Emmanuel Hussenot).Alain Marquet, Marc Bresdin and Michel Bescont ( photo courtesy: Patrick Gervais)
The music and sound of Jean-Pierre Morel and friends is very unique - forgotten tunes from the past are dusted and played as if they are performed for the very first time. Listening to a tune like Jungle Crawl, originally written and recorded by Tiny Parham ( nicknamed Tiny, although he had the same size as Fats .... ) in 1929, runs the risk that you associate the tune with Charquet et Co. This happens me often - when I listen to an originally version of Jungle Crawl my ears say ....: Charquet et Co. Isn't that weird, but a great compliment for Morel and his men!! Gerard Gervois and Lionel Bienhamou ( photo courtesy: Patrick Gervais)
The concert by Charquet et Co at the International Jazz Meeting in Gentbrugge ( Belgium) on the 6th of June, 1976 was recorded by the late Guy Delvigne and thanks to his widow Michelle we can now enjoy most of the tunes compiled on the You'll Long for Me album. But not all tunes were reissued: Black and Tan Fantasy, Candy Lips, Jungle Jamboree, Varsity Drag, 31st Street Blues, Chicago Rhythm, Black Cat Moan and Vo Do Do De-o Blues, all played during the concert, are still unreleased. It would be great if these tracks could be available too - I'm sure there are still a lot of fans anxious to hear these tunes played by their heroes .........
Finally another early 1970s recording registration - now in color: Stampede ........... ( June 1972 - Paris) .
Later I'll discuss the Charquet & Co: Live in Holland 1976 & 1977 album.
If you grew up in the 1970s and you didn't like bands like the Beatles or the Rolling Stones, you might have been a fan of the music of Charquet. These French boys toured along Dutch and Belgian venues and all venues were jam packed! If you remember this great band you should visit this Keep Swinging blog more often and not miss the news letter. Register and you'll receive the latest informations each week.