Thursday, September 29, 2011

Christian McBride Big Band: The Good Feeling

A dream comes true ..!
Christian McBride releases his first big band album
Hans Koert

Jazz musicians, both traditional as modern style orientated, dream about having their own band and seize the opportunity to make an album under their own name ..... A lot of jazz musicians succeed in doing so. But what if this dream has come true? What else leaves to be desired? One of the ultimate goals for a jazz musician seem to be playing as a soloist in a big band setting, or, even better, having your own big band, that plays your music, your arrangements, your compositions ....... Big Bands were extreme popular during the swing period ( 1930s and 1940s), but in the post war period, most big bands lingered on and most of them had to stop, because of financial reasons and, due to the popularity of other music styles, the popularity of it, declined. During the 1950s and 1960s musicians loved to be recorded ...... with strings, and attempt, it seemed, to be taken more seriously by their supporters. In 2000 Roy Hargrove, one of the 1990s promising artists, the so-called Young Lions, got his own ....... with Strings ( Moment to Moment)(Verve 543 540) and two years ago he released his own big band album Emergence ( Emarcy 0602527079240). Recently Christian McBride, the sought after double bass player, also one of the Young Lions of the 1990s, released his own debut big band album; a dream came true. ( Christian McBride Big Band - The Good Feeling) - ......... no strings !! Christian McBride ( photo courtesy: Anne Webber)
Christian McBride was born in Philadelphia May 1972 in a musical family. His father was a session-player on bass in R&B groups and Howard Cooper, his great-uncle, played the upside bass with Sunny Murray and the groups of Elliot Levin and Tyrone Hill. At eight Christian studied the electric bass and he remembers that he learned the bass lines from songs by listening to the radio or records: I would just turn on the radio or get a record that I liked, and just listen to it, and wear the record out until I learned the bass line that was on the record. ( source: Interview by Richard Bains(January, 1997)). His father taught him his first song: Papa Was a Rolling Stone, a top hit composed by Barrett Strong. At High School he had his first R&B gigs on the electric bass, before he bought his first double bass. He became into jazz thanks to his class mate
Joey DeFrancesco, who developed into a great Hammond player and introduced him to jazz. But, in fact, Wynton Marsalis was the one who really made him decide to play jazz: The first time I met Wynton and being around him and seeing his level of seriousness in everything that he does, ... that did something to me. I remember I listened to all of his albums when I was in high school ..... and then he invited me to sit in with his band. Wynton's group came to Philadelphia - I was in my tenth grade. He pointed guys like Nicholas Payton, Roy Hargrove and James Carter in the right direction. He had a big part to do with our development. (source: Interview by Richard Bains (January, 1997))
Christian McBride Big Band - The Good Feeling
Christian studied classic bass at Philadelphia’s High School for the Performing Arts before he attended the Juilliard School of Music in Manhattan. As a bass player he started his career with great names like Benny Green, Josua Redman, Freddie Hubbard ( ... probably one of my greatest honours to play in Hubbards band ), Bobby Watson, Betty Carter and Wynton Marsalis. He can be heard in Roy Hargrove’s first band, recorded as the Jazz Futures. In one of Roy Hargrove's first albums, entitled Public Eyes, he is labelled as .. one of the most universally respected young players on the scene. He can do things already on the bass, Tom Piazza says in the liner notes, that very few can. ... McBride is a giant in the making.
Christian McBride (photo courtesy: Anne Webber)
Bassist are part of the rhythm section and play a very important role in creating a solid base and as timekeeper of the band. But few bass players come to the fore and start their own group. Christian McBride made his first album under his own name in 1994, entitled Gettin' To It, which belongs with Number Two Express (1996) to my favourites. With his Big Band album The Good Feeling a dream comes true. Christian wrote one of his first compositions for big band in the mid 1990s, a tune entitled Bluesin' in Alphabet City, which originally debuted by Wynton Marsalis and The Jazz At Lincoln Centre Orchestra and now the one but last track on his own big band album. Since that first composition, Christian continued to compose and arrange tunes for larger ensembles and now, more then 15 years later, his first big band album has been released. The album contains almost a dozen tracks, half standards, like Broadway and I Should Care and McBride's own compositions, like Brother Mister ( was previous released on Kind of Brown); The Shade of the Cedar Tree and In a Hurry, both previous released as a sextet in
Gettin' To It
The opener is the tune Shake'n Blake - a great energetic song.
Christian McBride (photo courtesy: Anne Webber)
The band features some great musicians and I love to mention trumpet player Nicholas Payton and Freddie Hendrix, a less known trumpet player in Europe, but a sought after msucian who performed with Rufus Reid, the Illinois Jacquet band and with
Charles McPherson. Steve Davis can be heard on on trombone and Ron Blake can be found in the reed section. When I Fall In Love opens with a bowed intro by Christian McBride to be followed by a sensitive vocal by Melissa, a personal friend of Christian; she can be heard on two more tracks: The More I See You and A Taste of Honey. The tune that I liked most is the final one, In A Hurry, an uptempo theme, as the title suggests, which opens Christian McBride’s first album under his own name, Gettin' To It. A great tune, well arranged, with Christian at his best on a bowed solo. That's how I like it!
Enjoy and be surprised by this small promo talk I found on the web ...........

Hans Koert

During the 1950s it seemed to have been a real obsession for jazz musicians to make a recording ... with strings. Now a days, strings are made in a digital way, settled jazz musicians seem to dream about making their own big band recording ... with their own compositions or arrangements: expensive projects. Roy Hargrove did two years ago and this month Christian McBride releases his first Big Band album, entitled The Good Feeling. McBride's big Band debut on the Mack Avenue label has become a valuable and a must-have and, for your information, no audible strings at all ( except Christian's excellent double bass of course. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of special albums. If you don't want to miss it, follow it at Twitter ( #keepswinging) or ask for its free newsletter, available in Dutch and English. (
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Monday, September 26, 2011

Jean-Pierre Morel en zijn Les Rois du Fox-Trot brengen vuurwerk.

Jean-Pierre Morel laat op onnavolgbare wijze de Hot Jazz uit de Roaring Twenties herleven
Legendarische band treedt op in Nederland (oktober 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)

Er zijn maar weinig bands, die weten hoe je echte Hot Jazznummers uit de jaren twintig moet spelen: Charquet et Co, Les Petit Jazz Band de Mr. Morel en Les Rois du Fox-Trot. Er zullen ongetwijfeld lezers zijn, die nu een lichte glimlach produceren en de link kunnen leggen tussen deze drie bands; die van Jean-Pierre Morel, de geïnspireerde Franse kornettist en arrangeur en leider van alle drie orkesten. Onlangs verscheen de nieuwste Cd van Les Rois du Fox-Trot getitled: Fireworks.

Les Rois du Fox-Trot: Fireworks ( Stomp Off Cd 1434)
Jean-Pierre Morel is voor het eerst op vinyl te horen met de Famous Melody Boys, een groep van negen Franse musici, die in oktober 1966 vastgelegd werden in de Salle des Fêtes de la Mairie du 5e Arondisement de Paris. Als snel werd de naam van de groep gewijzigd in Reverend Sharkey's Congregation, Sharkey et Co en tenslotte, vanaf het midden van de jaren zeventig, Charquet & Co. Charquet & Co bleek een gouden formule en in de tweede helft van de jaren zeventig werden ze razend populair op de Nederlandse en Belgische podia. Bob Erdos, die de groep in Breda hoorde spelen op het Oude Stijl Jazz Festival besloot om een platenlabel te beginnen, getiteld Stomp Off, waarop Europese bands, zoals Charquet & Co, die Hot Jazz speelden, op een manier, zoals ze dat in Amerika vaak niet meer kenden ......... playing 1920s jazz / hot dance better than almost any group in the U.S. Charquet & Co. en haar opvolgers zouden heel wat keren op het Stomp Off label uitgebracht worden.
Les Rois du Fox-Trot ( foto: Marie-Aude Richard. (Met dank aan Jean-Pierre Morel)
In mei 1978, nadat Charquet net haar laatste live-album opgenomen had in Mantes voor Stomp Off, besloot Jean-Pierre zijn cornet aan de wilgen te hangen - het bleek een onmogelijke opgave zijn gezin en werk nog langer te combineren met de optredens, bijna elk weekend, in allerlei clubs in Nederland en België. Charquet & Co.
werd opgedoekt en de liefhebbers en fans moesten het voortaan doen met hun herinneringen en de platen die uitgebracht waren. Twintig jaar later, bij het overlijden van de banjoïst van de vroegere Charquet & Co, Lionel Benhamou, die in de tussentijd een veel gevraagd jazzgitarist geworden was, kwamen de leden van de voormalige band weer bij elkaar en spraken af om weer samen te gaan repeteren. Het bloed stroomt waar het niet gaan kan en men besloot een nieuwe band op te richten, die de blanke en zwarte Hot Jazzmuziek uit de jaren twintig wilde doen herleven. Die band werd genoemd: Le Petit Jazzband de Mr. Morel. In 2003 werd Gérard Gervois leider en de band paste de naam aan tot Le Petit Jazz Band, zodat Jean-Pierre Morel, die gewoon, op zijn onnavolgbare wijze, de kornet bleef spelen, zich kon gaan wijden aan het arrangeren en uiteindelijk aan het formeren van een nieuw orkest, getiteld Les Rois du Fox-Trot. Dit nieuwe orkest was groter ( negen man en een vrouw) dan Le Petit Jazz Band ( 7 leden). Deze nieuwe "big band", voor de helft bestaand uit amateurs en voor de andere helft uit professionals, bevatte musici die uit heel Frankrijk kwamen en één keer per maand naar Parijs kwamen om te oefenen en op te treden. Hun eerste cd heette T.N.T., gewijd aan de muziek van Elmer Schoebel en hun tweede Crazy 'Bout Red-Head Mamas. Onlangs verscheen hun derde cd, Fireworks.
Les Rois du Fox-Trot ( bron: My Bridard)
Het is geweldig om te ontdekken dat Jean-Pierre Morel's klank nog niets aan kracht heeft ingeboet. Al meteen op het eerste nummer, Fireworks, spat het "vuurwerk" los en lijkt er geen houden aan. Het nummer werd oorspronkelijk gecomponeerd door Spencer Williams en als Jean-Pierre Morel het onder handen neemt, de wordt deze oude compositie een schoolvoorbeeld van hoe de muziek uit de jaren twintig gespeeld zou moeten worden: krachtige muziek, in een flink tempo, dat swingt, vreselijk "hot" is, met korte felle droge accenten op het bekken ........ kortom: zo hoor je het zelden spelen. Fireworks is, overigens, geen kloon geworden van de uitvoeringen, zoals die overgeleverd zijn op oude 78-toeren grammofoonplaten. Morel kiest voor een snellere variant dan bijvoorbeeld destijds de Original Memphis Five op Vocalion zette of de opname van
Armstrong's Hot Five voor OKeh. Beide originele opnamen dateren uit juni 1928 en werden kort na elkaar opgenomen. De kornet van Jean-Pierre, met die fraaie, enigzins vibrerende klank, zoals Jabbo Smith die met zijn Rhythm Aces vastlegde, maakt het beluisteren van deze plaat tot een feest. Neem bijvoorbeeld Morel's versies van Deep Henderson, van Oliver Naylor's Susquehannas of het nummer Louisiana Bobo.... Als de band inzet met Fletcher Henderson's Variety Stomp dan vallen ineens tachtig jaar jazzgeschiedenis weg en vraag je je af of al die muzikale ontwikkelingen na 1930 wel nodig geweest zijn ............ De arrangementen van Morel en de uitvoeringen van Les Rois du Fox-Trot klinken dan ook alsof ze gisteren geschreven zijn en doen ons beseffen, hoe goed de uitvoeringen deze muziek uit de tijd van onze (over)grootouders door bands als die van Fletcher Henderson live geweest moeten zijn.
Les Rois du Fox-Trot ( Dank aan Jean-Pierre Morel)
Zelfs met het nog niet zo lang geleden geschreven nummer She Winked at You, van Nicolas Montier, altsaxofonist en klarinettist in de band, waan je je, dankzij het levendige publiek uit Le Petit Journal Saint-Michel op de achtergrond, in een dampende volgepakte dansclub ergens in downtown New York. Jean-Pierre Morel en zijn mannen spelen één weekend per maand in Le Petit Journal Saint-Michel en tijdens deze liveconcerten is deze cd samengesteld. Wie een weekend Parijs te omslachtig vindt, kan de komende weken ook in de buurt terecht want Jean-Pierre Morel komt naar ons land. Hij is half oktober met zijn Les Rois du Fox-Trot te horen tijdens vier concerten. De band zal bestaan uit: Jean-Pierre Morel en Shona Taylor: kornet - Pierre Reboud: trombone - Marc Bresdin, Nicolas Montier en Michel Bescont: rieten - Bernard Thévin: piano - François Fournet: banjo - Gérard Gervois: tuba en Laurence Bridard: slagwerk; een unieke kans om dit orkest buiten Parijs te kunnen horen spelen.

14 oktober, 20.30u: Stichting Jazz-Societeit Zutphen: Het Nut, Breegraven 1 in Warnsveld.
15 oktober: 14.30u: Doctor Jazz Dag: Hof van Wageningen, Lawicksee Allee 9 in Wageningen.
15 oktober: 20.30u: Jazzclub Almelo: Wijkcentrum Erve Noordik, Bosrand 33 in Almelo
16 oktober, 15.00u: Breda: Oncle Jean Croonsael, Ginnekenweg 338 in Breda.
De nieuwste cd Fireworks, gespeeld door Les Rois du Fox-Trot, is verschenen op het Stomp Off label. ( Stomp Off CD 1434)
Hans Koert
Er zijn maar weinig musici meer die weten hoe je de Hot Jazzmuziek uit de jaren twintig moet spelen, zoals die ons op platen is overgeleverd door bands als die van Fletcher Henderson, de California Ramblers, Jabbo Smith of Tiny Parham, om er een paar te noemen. Kornettist Jean-Pierre Morel is de ongeëvenaarde Hoge Priester van de Hot Jazz uit de Roaring Twenties. Het zette zijn band Charquet and Co bijna veertig jaar geleden al op de kaart; een legendarische groep, waarvan de herinneringen aan hun optredens en platen door veel jazzliefhebbers nog steeds gekoesterd worden. Toen stopte het abrupt - Morel's muziek klonk niet meer live .... Het werd stil op de Nederlandse podia. Bands als The Orpheon Celesta namen het stokje over. Er schijnen nog steeds mensen te zijn, die niet weten dat eind jaren negentig Morel toch de kornet weer oppakte en met zijn Les Petit Jazz Band de Mr. Morel en Les Rois du Fox-Trot de Hot Jazz uit de jaren twintig onnavolgbaar deed herleven. Onlangs verscheen zijn nieuwste plaat Fireworks, een verzameling onvergetelijke ( maar vaak ook vergeten) klassiekers uit de jaren twintig. Keep Swinging vraagt zich hardop af, waarom deze muziek zo zelden meer gehoord wordt. Als je op de hoogte wilt blijven over de bijdragen op de Keep Swingingblog volg haar dan via Twitter (#keepswinging) of vraag de gratis nieuwsbrief (

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Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dick Willebrandt and his Radio Band: Unique 1943 Swing

DOCTOR JAZZ releases unknown swing recordings from occupied Holland.
Glass based records, made for the Deutsche Europa Sender, make Dick Willebrandts swing.
Hans Koert.

Dick Willebrandts en zijn Radio-Orkest: Unieke radio-opnamen (1943) (Nederlands) Dick Willebrandts and his Radio band: Unique 1943 Swing recordings (English)

At the latest Doctor Jazz Dag, a meeting of members of the Dutch Doctor Jazz Magazine, I bought myself the Proper recordbox Swing Tanzen Verboten; four cd's with a compilation of Swing-music and Nazi-Propaganda Swing During World War II, as the subtitle reads. Three of the four albums in the box have a compilation of swing music as it was played in the occupied areas in Europe (and in Germany) during the Second World War and one album has tunes played by the German radio band Charlie and his Orchestra, which promoted the nazi-ideology cloaked in swinging dance music. The cd Swing in Occupied Europe (1940-1944) contains Dutch bands, that played in Holland during the bezetting, the occupation, like de Ramblers and the bands from Ernst Van't Hoff and Dick Willebrandts. Dick Willebrandts en zijn Radio-Orkest can be found on four tracks, originally recorded for D.E.S.( der Deutsche Europa Sender), which were released for the first time on a 1989 Grannyphone Cd Deep In My Heart. The Doctor Jazz Stichting, editor of the Doctor Jazz Magazine, has released a follow-up album with more rare D.E.S. recordings by Dick Willebrandts en zijn radio-Orkest, entitled: Yearning.
What makes these recordings so unique?
Dick Willebrandts en zijn Radio-Orkest: Yearning (DJ 008)
The popular music during the first half of the Second World War in the occupied territories, like Holland, was strictly regulated by the German authorities. The German had regulated that no negroïde en negritische elementen in dans- en amusementsmuziek (= negro and negro-like musical elements in dance- and popular music) were allowed. Music had to be played in the European style, which means "straight", no syncopating or swing-elements at all, like used in the Afro-American music. During the first years, musicians still could play, using the opportunities, their own swing music, but during the second half of the war they had no opportunities anymore to do so, as there was no work anymore and musicians were sent to Germany to work or had to play the music promoted by the nazis.
Dick Willebrandts at a promo picture from the 1930s (1935) ( source: Doctor Jazz Magazine n. 113 (June 1986)
Some musicians had no other option then to become a member of one of the German orchestras, and had to play in venues all over Germany. Dutch or Belgian bands toured along German dance halls too, like the band of Ernst van't Hoff. Some Dutch and Belgian jazz musicians were forced to play in the infamous Charlie and his Orchestra, a radio band, that was founded to spread the nazi-ideology and its resentful ideas about the jewish people by radio, packed in swinging (US-styled) vocal tunes. When the war was over, war tribunals didn't thank these musicians for that.
The Dick Willebrandts orkest during a 1943 concert at the City Theater (Amsterdam). ( photo: Herman Openneer) ( Source: Ongewenschte Muziek - Kees Wouters)
One of the most popular big bands in Holland was the band of Dick Willebrandts. In the first half of 1943 they made some recordings for Decca with Dutch or dutchified titles, like Zomernachtfeest, Ik Ben Verliefd Op De Keukenmeid, Ik Zing Voor Jou or Oh Oh Oh Zonnetje, and they were extremely popular in those days, as its music was more swinging then other bands that could be heard at the Nederlandsche Omroep, the Dutch radio. In June 1943 Dick Willebrandt en zijn Radio-orkest got the message that they had to play, dienstverpflichtet, for the D.E.S., de Deutsche Europa Sender, at a new radio station Calais II, which replaced the Dutch Hilversum II radio station. As Dick Willebrandts en zijn radio-orkest was very popular, the nazi's hoped that the Dutch would tune in to the new radio station, instead of the BBC or other allied radio stations.
Voorwaarden aan het verleenen van een vergunning voor dans- en amusementsmuziek. (= Conditions to get a permit to play dance- and light music) (Source: Ongehoord - 1940-1945- amusement en propaganda tijdens de bezetting) (Beeld en Geluid (Sound and Light) - Hilversum) ( click on the photo to enlarge)
It was remarkable that Dick Willebrandts was allowed to play the music he wanted, English and US swing tunes, labeled with their original titels and sung in the original language by vocalists like Nelly Verschuur and Jan De Vries and arranged by Pi Scheffer, a celebrated arranger in those days - no restrictions at all - and no racist nazi-propaganda either, like the Charlie and his Orchestra did. Dick Willebrandt en zijn Radio-Orkest was swinging and was in no way inferior to the major European big bands - Holland's best band in the land, as Skip Voogd labels it in his extensive (Dutch) liner notes . The glass-based records, which were preserved by sound engineer Jan F. Van Oort, then a sound engineer for the Nederlandsche Omroep, were restored by sound engineer Harry Coster and now released, for the very first time, at this unique album, entitled Dick Willebrandt en zijn Radio-Orkest: Yearning, released by the Doctor Jazz Stichting.
Dick Willebrandts (source: Rhythme no. 110 (15th of November, 1958))
It is remarkable to listen to the music of this great Dick Willebrandts radio-orchestra and realizing that this swing music was recorded half way the Second World War in a land that suffered by the nazi-regime and wasn't allowed to enjoy this kind of stuff .......... The more then two dozen tracks learn that this band was one of the best in this part of the world, and I wondered how music would have developed, if these dark five years didn't had happened. Dick Willebrandts en zijn Radio-Orkest played for D.E.S. up to the end of 1943 and after that time life became sorely tried. After Dolle Dinsdag (= Mad Tuesday), September 1944, the day that nazi's and NSB sympathizer realized that the war could be over very soon, as the allied neared the Dutch borders, the band of Dick Willebrandt was disbanded - musicians were deported or went into hiding. After the war, Dick Willebrandt had to appear in court, and was convicted for his work for the German occupiers. Later he became a member of Dutch radio-bands like De Zaaiers and the Cosmopolitain Orkest.
The Dick Willebrandts orchestra in the Hilversum radio studio ( 1944) (source: Swing tanzen verboten)
The liner notes by Skip Voogd are very informative, but written in the Dutch language - the booklet has an English summary. This album, and the previous released album, entitled
The Ramblers in Brussel (1945-1948), can be ordered at the Doctor Jazz site or at the next Doctor Jazz Dag in Wageningen ( in the centre of The Netherlands). Enjoy this remarkable and unique album from one of the best Dutch swing orchestras of the first half of he XXth century.

Hans Koert
Twitter: #keepswinging
The music as played by orchestras during the five years of German occupation in Holland is not my most favorite, mostly because the sound quality is often so-so and swing is far away as the officials had announced in their conditions that negroide- en negritische elementen (= negro and negro-like elements) were not allowed in dance- of light music. - The music recorded by The Ramblers or Johnny and Jones are labeled as In Een Landerige Stemming, Wat Een Weer, Wat Een Weer or Hindernisrennen, drolling titles, with perfectly hidden swing elements. The Dick Willebrandts orchestra was extreme popular during the war. In the summer of 1943 the band was forced to become part of a new series of radio programs by the Deutsche Europa Sender, a Dutch radio station regulated buy the Nazis, hoping that the Dutch fans would tune in for their favorite orchestra. Dick Willebrandts was allowed to play, inside the walls of the studio, his swing music, US standards, no restrictions at all for the repertoire or the way howe to play it. These D.E.S. tunes, recorded on glass-based records, are now released as Dick Willebrandts en zijn Radio-Orkest: Yearning (DJ 008). Keep Swinging was suprised to learn that its tracks have great swinging arrangements, recorded in occupied Holland, allowed by a regime that fordid jazz and swing music in public. If you love to keep informed about other surpises in jazz published in the Keep Swinging blogs in future, please follow it at Twitter (#keepswinging) or ask for its free newsletter in Dutch or English. ( mail to

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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 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
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:

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Monday, September 19, 2011

Weather Report - Live in Offenbach 1978

Historical live Rockpalast concert released.
No other group mixed improvisation, formal structures and electronics quite like them (Iain Murray in the liner notes)
Hans Koert

During the 1970s and 1980s I was fascinated, according to my concert log, by the music of traditional jazz bands like the Original Prague Syncopated Orchestra, the Pasadena Roof Orchestra, Toots Thielemans, Tete Montoliu, the Portena Jazz Band and Art Blakey, to list some. Music like jazz-rock fusion as played by Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Mahavishnu Orchestra and Weather Report didn't had my interest yet - I didn't like the electronic stuff, screaming electric guitars and poppy rhythms. Now, 40 years later, a senior now, the music of this period, like Miles Davis Bitches Brew, has broadened my view and enriched my musical taste. One of the bands I discovered a few years ago was Weather Report. Recently a live 2cd album and a dvd, released by Art of Groove of a legendary Weather Report concert, entitled Weather Report - Live in Offenbach 1978 came to my desk, which renewed the acquaintance both in sound and light.

Weather Report - Live in Offenbach 1978 ( Rockpalast MIG 80092 2CD / DVD) (photo courtsy: Manfred Becker)
Weather Report was founded in 1970 by the Austrian keyboard player Joe Zawinul, who passed away four years ago, 75 years old and reed player Wayne Shorter, who both had played in Miles Davis' band, to be heard in albums like Bitches Brew and In A Silent Way. Up to 1986, the band lasted sixteen years, the personnel changed several times, but both Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter were the solid factor in the band. A few years before this live recording, the band got some important new members, like drummer Peter Erskine and bass guitar player Jaco Pastorius. Especially the latter gave Weather Report its more jazzy drive, which I missed in the early recordings. In 1978 Weather Report had reached its peak of popularity and it toured all around the world. It's remarkable to learn that two major tours were scheduled in that year along the Far East (Japan and Australia) and Europe ( Sweden, Germany, England, France, Belgium and Denmark) and, during the last month of 1978, more then three dozen concerts all around the States, almost a mug's game by this extreme popular band of the moment. The concert in Offenbach (Germany) was scheduled on the 29th of September 1978 at the Stadthalle and featured Joe Zawinul at the keyboards, Wayne Shorter on sax, Jaco Pastorius at the electric bass and Peter Erskine on drums. The concert was broadcasted complete by the Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln (WDR). This concert is now available on a DVD and a 2CD audio album: 138 minutes boiling live music by Weather Report.
It’s hard to tell what part I like much, but of course Joe Zawinul's In A Silent Way, which was also recorded by Miles Davis at the album with the same name, fascinated me and the Weather Report hit, Birdland, which was a hit, originally released at the Weather Report album Heavy Weather (1977).

Enjoy a fragment from this great concert with Joe Zawinul's famous composition and hit Birdland as played in the Offenbach Stadthalle.
Fred & Jack, a composition by Peter Erskine, impressed, thanks to Peter's stunning drum solo and in Teen Town, a Pastorius tune, bass player Jaco Pastorius shows what a great bass player he is.
Weather Report: f.l.t.r.: Jaco Patorius, Peter Erskine, Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter (late 1970s)
It is remarkable to learn
that this great band played, as far as I know, but once in Holland as a six piece band at the 1984 North Sea Jazz Festival, two years before the band was broken, featuring Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter, Victor Bailey, Omar Hakim and Mino Cinelu. Jaco Pastorius left the group in 1981 and, mid 1980s, he even left the music scene, washed out with a serious burnout, and was killed at a fight in the Midnight Bottle Club in Wilton Manors September 1987. Both Peter Erskine and Wayne Shorter are still active in jazz.
Jaco Pastorius ( 1951-1987) (photo courtesy: Manfred Becker) (source: Weather Report: Live in Offenbach 1978)
This Weather Report Offenbach release ( MIG 80092 2CD) is unique as it is the first complete Weather Report live recording ever released. The only known live album by Weather Report 8:30, recorded at several concert halls, like at the Carl Marx Theatre in Havanna, Cuba and at Long Beach, California had some studio recordings added. Another extra is that this entirely concert is also available on a DVD album, also entitled Weather report - Live in Offenbach 1978 ( MIG 80097 DVD). A must have for all Weather Report fans.
Hans Koert
Weather Report must have been one of the most important Jazz-Rock groups from the 1970s, founded by his two major instrumentalists Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter 40 years ago. Late 1970s Weather Report was at the very height of its success and featured, except Joe Zawinul and Wayne Shorter, guitar legend Jaco Pastorius and drummer Peter Erskine. In September - October 1978 they toured along Europe and were scheduled for a dozen concerts; the live concert at the Stadthalle in Offenbach was recorded and is now available on a 2cd album and a DVD, which offers this complete concert. A must-have for all Weather Report fans. Keep Swinging loves to point you to this kind of historical concerts. If you love to be the first one to know, follow the Keep Swinging blog at Twitter (#keepswinging) or ask for its free newsletter, available in the English of Dutch language. Contact for registration:

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Thursday, September 15, 2011

Porgy en Bess in gevaar

Vermaarde jazzclub met sluiting bedreigd. Jazzmusici en jazzliebbers uit de hele wereld luiden de noodklok.
Hans Koert

Het nieuws sloeg in als een bom ......... Porgy en Bess moet wellicht de deuren sluiten. Terneuzen zonder De Neger - onvoorstelbaar!

Hoewel het 55ste seizoen van Porgy en Bess, met een schitterend veelbelovende programering voor het komende winterseizoen, officieel van start gaat, hangt de donkere wolk van sluiting boven de jazzclub Porgy en Bess. De reden is niet zozeer gebrek aan vernieuwingsdrang of een teruglopende belangstelling, maar flink lagere subsidie dan nodig om Porgy en Bess te kunnen exploiteren. Frank Koulen in de zeventiger jaren tijdens een streetparade op het Scheldejazzfestival(foto: Jaap Sonnevijlle)
De gemeente Terneuzen wil volgend jaar dat beetje extra, dat Porgy en Bess nodig heeft om op hetzefde niveau de tent draaiend te kunnen houden, niet verstrekken .......... schrijnend, zeker als je weet dat Porgy en Bess al jaren in zuidwest Nederland voor honderden Vlaamse en Nederlandse jazzliefhebbers, the place to be is en niet door een zwaarbetaald manangent, maar door tientallen vrijwilligers gerund wordt. Als de gemeente niet over de brug komt, dan betekent dat voor Porgy en Bess geen 56ste seizoen dat start in september 2012 - een somber vooruitzicht.

Porgy en Bess in de Noordstraat van Terneuzen - al 55 jaar (foto: Hans Koert)
Porgy en Bess werd 55 jaar geleden opgericht door
Frank Koulen, die een lunchroom stichtte in de Noordstraat in Terneuzen en daarvanuit live (jazz) concerten ging verzorgen. Veel Zeeuwse muzikanten in spé hebben hier hun vuurdoop gehad - de springplank tot succes. Ook stond Frank, die iedereen kende als De Neger, aan de wieg van het Scheldejazzfestival, door streetparades en concerten te organiseren. Sinds de dood van Frank Koulen in 1985 is Porgy en Bess gerund door Maja Lemmen, die met veel enthousiasme en met hulp van tientallen vrijwillgers, de tent open hield. Nu Maja het rustiger aan wil gaan doen, lijkt de gemeente Porgy en Bess in de steek te laten ........... wat onherroepelijk het eind zal betekenen van deze unieke club.
Hein Van de Geyn en Hans van Oosterhout tijdens één van de vele jazzconcerten. (foto: Hans Koert)
Uniek - ja - als jazzliefhebber kom ik er graag en vaak en geniet van de tientallen concerten per jaar, alle van een hoog muzikaal gehalte, door muzikanten die graag optreden in Porgy en Bess, die het fijn vinden om te spelen in zo'n kleine club vol enthousiast publiek. Honderden grote en kleine namen speelden hier, waarvan je de namen en foto's vindt op deze
Keep Swingingblog - Heren en dames van de gemeenteraad - laat u inspireren, door al dat moois van de afgelopen jaren:

Rik Mol met zijn band in Porgy en Bess (2009) (foto: Hans Koert)

PORGY EN BESS: Huiskamer van de jazz Frank Morgan-Trio Rein De Graaff Nieuwjaarsconcert Roy Hargrove Rik Mol Quintet Narcissus Quartet-Intoverte muziek Jeff Hamilton: de Harold Arlen op drums Latin Bop Septet Rein De Graaff 3 met Pete Christlieb en Ferdinand Povel Pierre Courbois in Porgy en Bess Troep Onder De Kerstboom - Hypochristmastreefuzz (Benjamin Herman Kwartet) Rony Verbiest met de familie De Cauter Roberta Gambarine en Roy Hargrove Roditi-Ignatzek-Rassinfosse Trio Charles McPherson performs with the Rein De Graaf Trio Rony Verbiest en vrienden Rick Margitza te gast bij het Ivan Paduart Trio Vincent Herring Quartet speelt in Porgy en Bess Frits Landesbergen speelt in Porgy en Bess Reginald Veal neemt Porgy en Bess bas in gebruik Joep Peeters eert Elvis Presley op Scheldejazz'10 Hein Van de Geyn neemt afscheid van Porgy en Bess Jan Menu-Jasper Soffers Kwartet: Dutch songbook Rein de Graaff Trio met Gary Foster en Marco Kegel in Porgy en Bess Jesse van Ruller treedt op met drumloos trio in Porgy en Bess Tutu Puoane brengt Afrikaanse warmte naar Porgy en Bess Rony Verbiest speelt de Colometa Suite Amina Figarova Sextet - Live in Porgy en Bess Tom Harrell en het Jazz Orchestrra of the Concertgebouw in Porgy en Bess Gerald Clayton Trio in Porgy en Bess .............

Het onheil lijkt nog te keren door onze stem te laten horen - dat kan door bijvoorbeeld de petitie te ondertekenen, waarin steun gegeven kan worden voor het openhouden van Porgy en Bess. Het kan toch niet waar zijn dat een wereldwijd vermaarde jazzclub, die overeind gehouden worden door tientallen vrijwilligers, die uit een soort bevlieging, een idealisme, waarvan de kiem ooit gelegd werd door Frank Koulen, de neger, en die in hun vrije tijd de hele tent draaiend hielden, nu, door het ontbreken van enkele tienduizenden euros, voorgoed de deur in het slot moeten houden? Gemeente - ken uw verantwoordelijkheid en toon uw betrokkendheid zien.
Teken de petitie.
Hans Koert
Jazztempel Porgy en Bess wordt bedreigd door sluiting. Deze vermaarde "oudste jazzclub van Nederland", die al 55 jaar drijft op enthousiaste vrijwiligers, is in gevaar, nu de gemeente van Terneuzen niet bij wil springen om het exploitatieverschil volgend seizoen op te lossen. Tijd om in actie te komen. Teken de petitie. Keep Swinging springt graag in de bres voor deze unieke locatie, geliefd bij jazzmusici en - liefhebers uit Nederland en Vlaanderen. Wil je op de eerste rij blijven zitten bij de Keep Swingingblog, volg haar dan via Twitter (#keepswinging) of vraag de gratis nieuwsbrief (

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