Monday, August 28, 2006

Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra

This is my 183rd Keep swinging blog, which means that my webblog has been published today for more then a half year.
Hope you liked it and I hope to share my passion with you in the next blogs.

The concert of the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra at the night concert of the Oude Stijl Jazz Festival in Breda ( The Netherlands) on the 6th of May, 1978, was a great event. The concert took part in one of the large concert halls in Het Turfschip in Breda.

On stage eight persons dressed as if they were dropped here as a part of an exhibition about the Roaring Twenties. The band, its official Czech name is ORIGINALNI PRAZSKY SYNKOPICKY ORCHESTR, was unknown to most people in the audience. When the concert started everybody was amazed by the 1920s sound the band produced. 


I still remember the moment when the tune Five Foot Two .....  was played and Ondrej Havelka started to sing the first lines of the theme. It was as if everybody in the audience got the same experience on the same time: this band were the California Ramblers alive, a rebirth from 1925. The screaming and yelling of the audience has been saved on the LP that was released of this event. Each tune they performed gave the same thrill. Sweet Henry, as played by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake was such another thrill and when the band played I'm Not worrying it was as if Clarence Williams in person entered the stage.
The enthusiasm of the audience was overwelming. The end of the concert was rather chaotic. When Pavel Klikar announced that the band would play its last number, the audience didn't except that and it had to play two or three extra tunes. You can hear the desperation in Klikar's voices when he says: Really really at last ..... as they runed out of repertoire.
The way the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra performed was historically thought out in detail. The dress, the hair cut, the announcements, the instruments and the sound. The band members played their instruments like it was usual in the 1920s. No drums, for example. A (snare) drum, although used in those days on stage, was never used in accoustic recordings as its sound would upset the recordings. That's why these bands often used woodblocks or a cymbal for rhythm. But not the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra.

Another remarkable instrument used is the violophon, the violin that uses a horn to amplify the sound. .
I remember that, I guess it was a year later at the same Oude Stijl Jazz Festival, when the band had to return of course, the musicians of the band where not content with the sound that was reproduced through the amplifiers, as it still had a kind of stereo-effect. It should be a pure mono-sound.
The 1978 concert was released on a Jazz Crooner LP ( JC 068578 ) and is now a collector's item too.

The complete information of the LP is:
ORIGINALNI PRAZSKY SYNKOPICKY ORCHESTR : Pavel Klikar dir-co-p, Thomas Velinsky tb, Frantisek Rubas cl-ss-bs, Jan Stolba cl-as, Zbynek Maly v-violophon, Jiri Gilik p, Jiri Sicha banj, Ondrej Havelka vo.
Recorded Breda, 6 May 1978
1 - Chinaman Blues
2 - Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue
3 - I'm Not Worrying
4 - Sweet henry
5 - Up The Country Blues
6 - Mama Is Going To Slow You down
7 - Rough Bottom
8 - Harmonica Blues
9 - Love Found You for Me
10 - Salty dog
11 - I'd Rather Be The Girl In Your Arms
12 - Alice Blue Gown
13 - When Our Grammophone Plays Black Bottom
Released as JAZZ CROOMER vol. 11 ( JC 068578 )
The Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra returned the next year to the festival and made a tour along some other venues. They also perfomed in Germany and other countries. Some more LPs were released ( like WAM 780.065 ) and also a CD, Jazz & Hot Dance Music 1923-31 ( Panton 81 0331).

As promissed I'll share some of these recordings with the loyal daily visitors of this blog who contacted me and I hope to share my passion, my knowledge and enthusiasm about jazz music as played between 1917 and 2017 in my daily Keep swinging blog: ( please book mark it, forward it to your friends, link it or use the RSS-function, which gives you the possibility to see automatically on your screen each new contribution that has been posted.
Enjoy the tune Five Foot Two Eyes Of Blue by clicking on the title bar or on the tune title.
Thanks to Jørgen too, who even visits my blogs even two or three times a day and replace me when I am unable to make my daily contribution. - I hope a present I promised him, will arrive today ( or tomorrow, or the day after ..... )
Keep swinging
Hans Durium Koert

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Hans,

As usual I enjoy your "Keep Swinging" emails keep them coming. .........

Ken Swerilas

12:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the Het Turfschip is quite a place. I accopmanied the New Black Eagles to Breda in the mid 1980s as their "band aide" to help with the drums and to sell recordings. They did a great concert there. I think it was on a Sunday night. The Breada festival was wonderful, the town was amazing and Judith was beautiful. 8-)

4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gefeliciteerd met je 1/2-jarig jubileum.

Have Fun,

Edward & Klari

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hoi daar,

bedankt voor de tip, ziet er wel bijzonder uit.
En Hans nog proficiat met de lustrumweblog van vandaag (of eigenlijk
gisteren zie ik nu). Leuk dat je hierin teruggrijpt naar 'oude stijl '. Het
blijft een bijzondere weblog en - ook al zie ik niet alles zoals je weet -
ga zo door!

Tot zaterdag (bedankt ook voor de support)!


6:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Hans

Amazing! I was in Prague this weekend and, wonderful city full of music as it is, there was suddently this unbelieveable band playing on Karls Bridge, the most wonderful sweet jazz I ever heard live! It was obvious, immediatedly, that this band was far beyond "street bands"! I bought their CD (Sweet Like This), of course, and found out it was OPSO, whom I didn't know, although I love (and play) various styles of jazz from early 19xx and on.

After surfing on the net, searching for info on OPSO, I also found your Blog, where, by coincidence, a week ago you posted the very interesting story about the OPSO concert in 1978 (and the Five foot two mp3!, thanks!)! Very interesting.

Of course I also shot a few pictures, and I got a 1.41 min. video (3gp-format). However, the sound is really poor (very authentic sound from the period!).

So, just for your, and your readers, information - OPSO is still alive and playing wonderful music, it seems.

best regards from Denmark
Tom Skovgaard

3:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great tom, that you shot some images and a small film of the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra ( AD 2006 )- I'd love to see it.

Keep swinging

Hans "Durium"

7:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was in Prague last weekend - 9 and 10 September 2006 - and heard the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra playing live on the Charles Bridge. An amazing experience - perfect musicianship. Pavel Klikar's trumpet an utter joy to hear. Their recent CD 'Sweet Like This' is a real treasure.
Chris Arnison, Stroud, UK

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A similar experience - I just happened upon the band on the Charles Bridge this weekend. A sumptuous sound, and a delightful find. Does anyone know where one can buy more of their recordings online?


3:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have 3 lp's by the band,one on Supraphon and 2 on Panton and cd by the band, "Hello Baby".This is the best band i have ever heard re creating 1920's jazz.They sound so close to the original recordings it is like hearing Ray Millers Orchestra and other 1920's bands in hi fi or stereo.It is like hearing what the 78's of the 1920's would sound like if they were recorded today on modern equipment-Linda, U.S.A.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was on the Charles Bridge in May 2007 heard the band bought the CD "Sweet Like This" now I can't stop playing it, I am desperate to buy more recordings. I can't find anything.
Please email if anyone knows were to find material
Dave Rhodes

8:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Charles Bridge is very amazing, you can relax there listening to the musiciants, they are really talented, and I never heard such music in other places except Charles Bridge.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Tomas Velinsky said...

Hallo, Mister Koert!
I happen to find your Blog from august 2006 - Original Prague Symcopated Orchestra, Five Foot Two....
I was there and still now, after 33 years can´t vorgot. It was great.
Thank you for nice remember of that Best regards!
Tomas Velinsky, 1974-1996 trombonist of OPSO, Prague.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Matthew said...

Where did you get Five foot two eyes of blue live????

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Hans said...

It's on: JAZZ CROOMER vol. 11 ( JC 068578 )


5:05 PM  

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