Thursday, September 22, 2011

Les Rois du Fox-Trot: Fireworks - Hot Jazz- and Dance Music

Jean-Pierre Morel and his men know how to play hot jazz from the 1920s.
Legendary band in concert at small Dutch tour (October 2011)
Hans Koert
Les Rois du Fox-Trot: Fireworks - Hot Jazz- and Dance Music (us) Jean-Pierre Morel en zijn Les Rois du Fox-Trot brengen vuurwerk (nl)
There are but few bands who know how to play the old hot jazz tunes from the 1920s;
Charquet et Co, Les Petit Jazz Band de Mr. Morel and Les Rois du Fox-Trot. Connoisseurs will know that I pull their legs, as those three bands mentioned were / are all directed by the same leader and inspired cornet player and arranger Jean-Pierre Morel. Recently Jean-Pierre Morel and his Rois du Fox-Trot released their latest album: Fireworks.


Les Rois du Fox-Trot: Fireworks ( Stomp Off Cd 1434)
Jean-Pierre Morel could be heard for the very first time at a recording by the Famous Melody Boys, a group of nine French musicians that was recorded at the Salle des Fêtes de la Mairie du 5e Arondisement de Paris, in Paris, October 1966, now 45 years ago. Soon the band changed its name in Reverend Sharkey's Congregation, Sharkey & Co and finally since the mid 1970s Charquet & Co. Charquet & Co was really a smash hit. During the second half of the 1970s they played all around Holland and Belgium. Bob Erdos, who heard Charquet at the Breda Oude Stijl Jazz Festival, decided to create a new record label entiteld Stomp Off Records devoted to traditional jazz as played in Europe by bands like Charquet playing 1920s jazz/hot dance better than almost any group in the U.S. Stomp Off would become one of the major record labels that released Charquet and its survivors.
Les Rois du Fox-Trot ( photo courtesy: Marie-Aude Richard. (Thanks to Jean-Pierre Morel)
In May 1978, after Charquet & Co. had finished a recording by Stomp Off live in Mantes, Jean-Pierre decided to stop, due to the fact that it became impossible combining his regular job with that of a professional (amateur)(!) musician who had to play almost every weekend somewhere in France, Holland or Belgium. Charquet et Co became history, remembered by numerous, now middle-aged fans, at numerous albums, until 15 years ago, the dead of former banjo player Lionel Benhamou,
who had developed into a sought after jazz guitar player, brought the former members of Charquet together again. Breeding will out and the former members of Charquet decided to form a new band, playing music in the style of the black and white bands of the 1920s, entitled Le Petit Jazzband de Mr. Morel. In 2003 Gérard Gervois became the leader of the band, renamed it Le Petit Jazzband and Jean-Pierre became a regular member, devoted to the cornet, of course, and preparing a new orchestra, which would become more extensive (ten musicians) then Le Petit Jazz Band ( 7 musicians) or Charquet ( 6 members). This new "big band", half amateurs, half professionals, from all over France, was called Les Rois du Fox-Trot. This band can be heared on the album T.N.T., dedicated to the music of Elmer Schoebel and Crazy 'Bout Red-Head Mamas. Recently the third album of Les Rois du Fox-Trot has been released, entitled Fireworks.
Les Rois du Fox-Trot ( source: My Space.com/Laurence Bridard)
I was very anxious to learn that this album still has that great sound, which refers to the best hot jazz and dance band tunes of the 1920s. The opening tune, Fireworks, is a Spencer Williams composition and when Jean-Pierre Morel takes this tune to task, it becomes a very hot played 1920s version of this rare heard tune, in a much faster tempo then the originals, without copying the 1928 Original Memphis Five Vocalion record or the Armstrong's Hot Five OKeh, recorded two weeks later. The Jabbo Smith sounding cornet of Jean-Pierre Morel makes this album a feast in their version of Deep Henderson, Oliver Naylor's Susquehannas and the composition Louisiana Bobo.... When the band plays
Fletcher Henderson's Variety Stomp it sounds as if it was composed yesterday - fresh, hot and arranged in a way only Jean-Pierre Morel can do, almost better then the 1927 Fess Williams and Fletcher Henderson's versions. When Les Rois du Fox-Trot plays a contemporary composition like She Winked at You by Nicolas Montier you seemed, due to the fact that the album was recorded live at the Le Petit Journal Saint-Michel in Paris, the venue for its monthly gig, to be in a New York dance hall late 1920s.
Les Rois du Fox-Trot ( Thanks to Jean-Pierre Morel)
I'm very happy I can tell you that Jean-Pierre Morel and his Rois du Fox-Trot are scheduled for some concerts at a small Dutch tour in October. The band, Jean-Pierre will introduce during this small trip features: Jean-Pierre Morel and Shona Taylor: cornets - Pierre Reboud : trombone - Marc Bresdin, Nicolas Montier and Michel Bescont : reeds - Bernard Thévin : piano - François Fournet : banjo - Gérard Gervois : tuba and Laurence Bridard : drums.
It's an unique opportunity to learn how the music of the 1920s should be played ............. These are the venues when you can hear the band play:

October 14, 8.30pm : Stichting Jazz-Societeit Zutphen: Place : Het Nut, Breegraven 1 in Warnsveld. October 15, 2.30pm : Doctor Jazz Dag: Place: Hof van Wageningen, Lawicksee Allee 9 in Wageningen
October 15, 8.30pm : Jazzclub Almelo: Place: Wijkcentrum Erve Noordik, Bosrand 33 in Almelo
October 16, 3.00 pm: Breda: Place: Oncle Jean Croonsael, Ginnekenweg 338 Breda.


All mentioned venues are in The Netherlands.


Hans Koert
keepswinging@live.nl
There are but few living musicians who know how to play hot jazz in the rich tradition of the Roaring Twenties, as played by bands like Fletcher Henderson, Jabbo Smith or Tiny Parham, to list some. Cornet player Jean-Pierre Morel is the unrivalled high priest of 1920s Hot Jazz. Known from bands like Charquet et Co, Les Petit Jazz Band de Mr. Morel and his Les Rois du Fox-Trot has won his spurs to keep the 1920s spirit alive. Recently his latest album Fireworks was released, a collection of unforgettable and often forgotten 1920s classics. Keep Swinging loves to share this kind of albums which learn how to play hot jazz- and dance music as if the great legends returned to earth special for you. If you want to be informed about this kind of releases, follow the Keep Swinging blog at Twitter (#keepswinging) or ask for its free newsletter, in a Dutch and English version ( ask: keepswinging@live.nl)

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