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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf



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KENNY CLARKE

Plays the Arrangements
of André Hodeir,
Christian Chevallier,
Pierre Michelot
and Francy Boland

Fresh Sound FSR-CD 864

 

 

Kenny Clarke’s Sextet Plays André Hodeir

1. Bemsha Swing

2. Oblique

3. Blue Serge

4. Swing Spring

5. On A Riff

6. Jeru

7. The Squirrel

8. Eronel

9. Round Midnight

10. When Lights Are Low

11. Cadenze

12. Tahiti

Roger Guérin – Trumpet (tracks 1, 3-5, 7, 9-11)

Billy Byers – Trombone

Nat Peck – Trombone (tracks 5, 9, 10)

Hubert Rostaing – Alto sax (tracks 2, 6, 8, 12)

Armand Migiani – Baritone sax (tracks 1-4, 6-8, 11, 12)

Pierre Michelot – Bass (tracks 5, 9, 10)

René Urtréger – Piano (tracks 9, 10)

Martial Solal – Piano (tracks 1-8, 11, 12)

Pierre Michelot – Bass (tracks 5, 9, 10)

Jean Warland - Bass (tracks 1-4, 6-8, 11, 12),

Kenny Clarke - Drums

Kenny Clarke Plays Pierre Michelot

13. Love Me or Leave Me

14. Fun for Four

15. Fantasy for Bass

16. Jackie, My Little Cat

Ack Van Rooyen, Bernard Hulin - Trumpet

Billy Byers, Nat Peck – Trombone

Hubert Fol – Alto sax

Lucky Thompson, Pierre Gossez – Tenor sax

Armand Migiani – Baritone sax

Maurice Vandair – Piano

Raymond Fol – Piano

Pierre Michelot – Bass

Kenny Clarke – Drums

Kenny Clarke Plays Christian Chevallier

17. Dream Time

18. Gold Fish

Roger Guérin – Trumpet

Benny Vasseur – Trombone

Pierre Gossez, Rene “Mickey” Nicholas – Alto sax

Georges Grenu – Tenor sax

Armand Migiani – Baritone sax

Maurice Vandair – Piano

Pierre Micheolt – Bass

Kenny Clarke – Drums

19. Black Knight

20. Jean-Paul

Ack Van Rooyen - Trumpet (track 19)

Jean Liesse – Trumpet (track 20)

Nat Peck – Trombone

Hubert Fol, Jean Aldegon – Alto sax

Georges Greno – Tenor sax

Tony Scott – Clarinet, tenor sax (track 20)

Armand Migiani – Baritone sax

Maurice Vandair – Piano (track 19)

Raymond Fol – Piano (track 20)

Pierre Michelot – Bass

Kenny Clarke – Drums

Kenny Clarke Plays Francy Boland

21. Bell Hop

22. More Than You Know

23. Tampico

Christian Kellens – Trombone

Eddie Busnello – Alto sax

Don Byas – Tenor sax

“Fats” Sadi – Vibes

Francy Boland – Piano

Jean Warland – Bass

Kenny Clarke - Drums


In the 1950s several American jazz musicians began emigrating to France, both to avoid racial intolerance and in the hope of finding more steady work. One of these was drummer Kenny Clarke, who moved to Paris in 1956. This collection illustrates how he immediately found a good deal of work. The compilation contains recordings made between 1956 and 1960 by a variety of artists under Kenny Clarke’s leadership, spotlighting the arrangements of four different musicians.

The first dozen tracks feature arrangements by André Hodeir, He was well respected not only for his musical writing but also for his rigorous scholarship, evidenced in such works as his famous Jazz: Its Evolution and Essence. In fact Hodeir supplies some revealing sleeve-notes. Some of the dozen arrangements here reveal the influence of the Birth of the Cool musicians, who explored new “cool” voicings and styles. Chords are often varied by movement within the lines of the contributing instruments.

These qualities are present in the opening Bemsha Swing, which reflects Thelonious Monk’s style in the jagged changes in the final chorus. Martial Solal’s piano solo here and on other tracks is radiantly clear. In fact André Hodeir seems to prefer piano solos in most tunes. Hodeir’s classical background is present in Round Midnight, where the theme only emerges at the end of a long semi-classical build-up. When Lights are Low is deprived of its charm by being performed at too fast a tempo. But Hodeir skilfully uses counterpoint to provide a frisson in the harmonies. René Urtréger plays an airy solo. Hodeir’s arrangements may be rather “academic” but their intriguing ensembles coupled with some splendid solos make these twelve tracks well worth hearing.

Bassist Pierre Michelot arranged the next four tracks, which might have come from the pen of a West Coast jazzer such as Shorty Rogers. Love Me or Leave Me gives Kenny Clarke the opportunity for a long drum solo. Like his other solos on this album, they are tight and disciplined. Michelot himself takes the limelight in Fantasy for Bass.

The Christian Chevallier arrangements are possibly the most conventional in this collection, but none the worse for that. They bear the influence of Bill Holman and swing along fluidly, including excellent solos from the likes of pianist Maurice Vandair and (in Black Knight) Kenny Clarke.

The personnel in the final three tracks are predominantly Belgian, like the arranger - Francy Boland - who later formed a marvellous big band with Kenny Clarke. Don Byas contributes a beautifully flowing solo to More Than You Know.

This compilation proves that France had musicians the equal of the Americans – and that Kenny Clarke could fit into any kind of setting.

Tony Augarde
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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