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



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EUROPEAN JAZZ

New Sounds from the
Old Continent

Documents 233551

 

 

CD 1 Vocalists
1. Annie Ross - I‘m Just A Lucky So And So
2. Monica Zetterlund - Deep In A Dream
3. Les Double Six - Stockholm Sweetnin‘
4. Cleo Laine - Sugar
5. Jula De Palma - Pennies From Heaven
6. Inge Brandenburg - What A Difference A Day Made
7. Lita Roza - That Old Black Magic
8. Cleo Laine – April In Paris
9. Rita Reys - Zon In Scheveningen
10. Alice Babs - Many Tears Ago
11. Monica Zetterlund - Detour Ahead
12. Lita Roza - Guilty
13. The Polka Dots - Monday Date
14. Cleo Laine - April Age
15. Jula De Palma - Just One Of Those Things
16. Inge Brandenburg - It‘s Alright With Me
17. Les Double Six - Il y a fort longtemps (Evening In Paris)
 
CD 2 Scandinavia
1. Lasse Gullin - Lotus Corniculatis
2. Max Brüel Quartet - Maxisme
3. Ake Persson - Nassi Goreng
4. Lars Gullin Sextet - Half Nelson
5. Rolf Billberg - Tautology
The Swedish Modern Jazz Group
6. Birdland
7. Blues For Bill
8. Brand New
9. Cotton Tail
10. Curbits
11. Just A Take Gullin
12. Moonlight In Vermont
13. Play For Love
14. Taboo
15. Zodiac
 
CD 3 Italy
1. Quintetto Basso-Valdambrini - Lotar
2. Franco Cerri - Flavio‘s Blues
3. Franco Cerri - Just One Of Those Things
Piana, Mondini, Donadio, Azzolini
4. Bag‘s Groove
5. All The Things You Are
6. There Will Never Ne Another You
Enrico Rava 4tet
7. Tema For Franco
8. Line For Lyons
9. Fine And Dandy
Modern Jazz Gang
10. The Drum Is A Tramp
11. Polimnia
12. Blue Mirria
13. Carme For J
Sestetto Bebop Gilberto Cuppini
14. Esophagus
15. Perdido
16. Nunzio Rotondo and The Sextet of Hot Club Of Rome - The Man I Love
 
CD 4 France
Le Jazz Groupe de Paris
1. On A Scale
2. Bicinium
3. Evanescence
4. Tension Detente
5. Paradoxe
6. Triads
7. Milano
Martial Solal et Les Kentonians
8. Blues Martial
9. Jive At Five
10. Why Not?
Sacha Distel
11. On Serait Des Chats
12. No. 1 For Sacha
13. Avec Ces Yeux-La
14. A Piece Of Pizza
15. Half Nelson

CD 5 France
Bernard Pfeiffer
1. Tired Blues
2. Steeplechase
3. Midday On The Champs-Elysées
4. Caravan
Michel Legrand
5. Sous Les Ponts De Paris
6. Paris In The Spring
7. Sous Le Ciel De Paris
8. Paris Canaille
9. Paris Je T‘Aime D‘Amour
10. I Love Paris
11. La Vie En Rose
Stéphane Grappelli
12. Dans La Vie
13. Vous Qui Passez Sans Me Voir
14. Marno
15. Crazy Blues
16. Viens Au Creux De Mon Epaule
17. Red-O-Rey
 
CD 6 Great Britain
Wilton "Bogey“ Gaynair
1. Wilton‘s Mood
2. Deborah
3. Joy Spring
4. Rhythm
5. Blues For Tony
6. The Way You Look Tonight
Tubby Hayes and the Jazz Couriers feat. Ronnie Scott
7. Oh, My!
8. Plebus
9. Reunion
10. A Foggy Day
11. Through The Night Roared The Overland Express (A Broken Bridge Ahead, A Madman At The Throttle)
 
CD 7 Great Britain
Tubby Hayes and the Jazz Couriers feat. Ronnie Scott
1. Royal Ascot
2. On A Misty Night
3. Cheek To Cheek
Johnny Dankworth & His Orchestra
4. Treasure Drive
5. Riverside Stomp
6. After The Party
The Dizzy Reece Quartet
7. Main Title from "Nowhere To Go“
8. The Escape And The Chase
9. The Search (On The Scene)
10. Sunset Scene (Nowhere To Go)
Victor Feldman Modern Jazz Quintet - Septet
11. Umf
12. Bird‘s Last Flight
The Joe Harriott Quintet
13. Straight Lines
14. Caravan
15. Lennie Felix - Scene 59, Act 2
16. Vic Ash Sextet feat. Johhny Scott - Just For The Boys
17. Melody Maker Poll Winners (feat. Tubby Hayes, Ronnie Ross, Bill Le Sage) - Hark Dog
 
CD 8 Germany
Jutta Hipp Quintett
1. Cleopatra
2. Don‘t Worry 'bout Me
3. (I Don‘t Stand) A Ghost Of A Chance
4. Mon Petit
5. What‘s New
6. Blue Skies
7. Laura
8. Variations
9. Jutta Hipp with Zoot Sims - Wee Dot
Michael Naura Quintet
10. Two Brothers In Law
11. Sanssouci
12. Party With John
13. Nachtmahr
14. Dropping
15. Blues For Milt
 
CD 9 The Netherlands & Belgium
1. Rita Reys & Art Blakey‘s Jazz Messengers - Taking A Chance On Love
2. Pim Jacobs Trio - Relaxin‘ At Camarillo
3. The Diamond Five feat. Cees Slinger - Les Halles
Jean "Toots“ Thielemans
4. Soul Station
5. Fundamental Frequency
6. Isn‘t It Romantic
7. Imagination
Bobby Jaspar
8. Memory Of Dick
9. Minor Drops
10. Night In Tunisia
11. Bag‘s Groove
12. Bobby Jaspar & Herbie Mann - Flute Bob
 
CD 10 Poland
1. Krysztof Komeda Quartet - Temat z filmu „Niewinni Czarodzieje“
2. Andrzej Trzaskowski Trio - Requiem Dla Scotta La Faro
3. The Wreckers - Kalatówki '59
4. Wroblewski & Kurylewicz Ensemble - There Will Never Be Another You
5. Jan Walasek Jazz Ensemble - Tea For Two
6. Józef Mazurkiewicz & Jeanne Johnston - On The Sunny Side Of The Street
Krzystof Komeda Sextet
7. Kotek w chmurach (Kitten In The Clouds)
8. Memory Of Bach
9. Mystery Of The Past
10. Opus In Mulligan Mood
11. Kolysanka
12. Blues For Sopot
 
 

At one time, the concept of "European Jazz" meant very little indeed. While jazz was developing in the USA in the 1920s, there was almost no European jazz to speak of. Some Americans - Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Sidney Bechet - came to Europe and made an impact there in the 1930s but it was not until the thirties that Europeans began to develop their own jazz significantly. Perhaps the most outstanding group was the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, formed in 1934, with its two virtuosos Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli.
 
This group is not represented in this ten-CD boxed set, which suggests that the compilation is making no attempt at a historical survey. Indeed, it is difficult to know what this set is trying to do. It seems as if the compilers simply put together tracks to which they had access, and there is little attempt to provide a balanced view of European jazz. Nevertheless, this collection can be educative in opening our ears to some artists we may not have heard before. It also supplies a cross-section (albeit limited) of how Europeans developed jazz, mostly in the 1950s and 1960s.
 
This compilation makes it clear that European jazz was very much influenced by the Americans. For example, the tenorist on track 2 of the third CD sounds very like Stan Getz, while the altoist on the third track betrays the influence of Charlie Parker. And the Michael Naura Quintet on the eighth CD could be mistaken for the Modern Jazz Quartet.
 
I can't tell you who most of the individual musicians are, as detailed personnels are sadly not given. This is a nuisance, as I would like to be able to identify (for instance) the bongo player on track 9 of the fifth CD. However, one lesson of many tracks in this collection is that many Europeans learnt from the bebop pioneers - and from such groups as the Gerry Mulligan Quartet. As most of the tracks in this compilation come from the fifties and sixties, there is little individuality in the music from the different countries, as it was only later that they began to develop their own distinctive styles.
 
I shall not attempt to describe the music in detail but will simply pick out tracks, artists or groups of note. Most discs are devoted to particular countries but the first CD concentrates on vocalists or (in the case of Les Double Six and the Polka Dots) vocal groups. Britain's own Annie Ross opens the first disc in style. The French group Les Double Six was a sextet which got its name from its practice of double-tracking the voices. Lita Roza wasn't really a jazz singer but Cleo Laine was - and still is. The weakness of this selection is that all the tracks were recorded during the comparatively brief period of 1955 to 1960.
 
Another weakness of these selections is that they are often chosen from a narrow range of bands. Thus the second CD illustrates Scandinavian jazz with 15 tracks, of which ten are by The Swedish Modern Jazz Group, all taken from the same 1960 LP. At least it included Lars Gullin and Nils Lindberg - two of Sweden's best-known jazzmen.
 
The third CD with the theme of Italy includes at least one musician who is still very active today. Enrico Rava. He was in his teens when his quartet recorded the three tracks here, although he doesn't appear on Tema for Franco. His playing is clear although a little uncertain. The recording quality is remarkably good on these three tracks.
 
The next two CDs are devoted to France. Le Jazz Groupe de Paris included saxist Bobby Jaspar and it played arrangements by André Hodeir. Martial Solal and Bernard Pfeiffer are world-class pianists and it is good to find them included here. Two other musicians who are perhaps better known outside jazz are Sacha Distel and Michel Legrand. Distel was an accomplished guitarist before he concentrated on singing, and Michel Legrand has always been a fine pianist. Michel's clear lines and swinging style are a joy. He is followed by Stéphane Grappelli displaying his rhapsodic violin style but also playing the piano with delicacy. There is only just over 51 minutes of music on this disc, demonstrating another drawback of this collection, where most CDs only contain around an hour of music: less than you can get on a modern CD.
 
The next two albums are devoted to Great Britain. They include examples by two neglected tenorists: Wilton "Bogey" Gaynair and Joe Harriott, both with Jamaican origins. Tubby Hayes and the Jazz Couriers deliver their usual hundred-notes-a-minute, while Johnny Dankworth's orchestra plays some tight arrangements.
 
The eighth CD is devoted to Germany, although the coverage is narrow. Pianist Jutta Hipp's group sounds as if she was influenced by Lennie Tristano, with an altoist reminiscent of Lee Konitz. Michael Naura was another pianist, whose bands included vibes - and some of the tracks here may remind you of the semi-classical approach of the Modern Jazz Quartet.
 
CD9 represents the Netherlands and Belgium., although only the first three tracks are by Netherlands artists. Rita Reys was a well-known Dutch vocalist who is accompanied here by Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, with Blakey's brushwork sounding decidedly awkward. The Belgian section of the disc features two great musicians: "Toots" Thielemans and Booby Jaspar. Thielemans plays guitar as well as his more familiar harmonica, while Jaspar's tenor sax is fluent and swinging, although the recording quality of Jaspar's tracks is poor.
 
There has been an explosion of jazz talent in Poland in recent years but the selection on the tenth CD (from 1956 to 1960) is not very impressive. The first track is a shambles, much of the playing is amateurish, and the recorded sound on many tracks is poor. Jazz was frowned on by the authorities in Poland at this time, so that may account for the poor quality of much of the music.
 
This boxed set is a missed opportunity, as it could have given a wider picture of European jazz. However, it can at least remind us that jazz was not the sole preserve of the Americans.
 
Tony Augarde
 
www.augardebooks.co.uk



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