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Bobby Jaspar (Tenor Saxophone), René Urtreger (Piano), Benoit Quersin (Bass), Jean-Louis Viale (Drums), Sacha Distel (Guitar), recorded December 27 and 29, 1955 at Studio Pathé-Magellan, Paris
Music Review Our esteemed Man From Mercury (via Tokyo) Kohji ‘Shaolin’ Matsubayashi, has written his impressions of this record, (which I reproduce here, to excuse me writing something similar)
“Bobby Jaspar, known as a husband of Blossom Dearie, was the distinguished musician who played tenor sax and flute. Like legendary and immortal Django Reinhardt, Bobby Jaspar was also born in Belgium, and found fame in France. From 1954 to 1956 he had his own group, mainly at the Club St. Germain in Paris. In April 1956, after he married to Blossom Dearie, he moved to the US, and he had played with many American Jazz musicians. Then he took part in various recording sessions as a sideman. This album, originally recorded on French Barclay label in 1955, presents Bobby Jaspar’s unusual styling. Definitely under heavy influence of Lester Young and Stan Getz, his tenor doesn’t sound like anybody else in the US. Another find on this album would be the pianist René Urtreger – his piano also sounds like nobody else. The pianist of great promise has very unique styling, sounding like a mixture of Bill Evans (with unusual harmony and horizontal phrasing) and Thelonious Monk (with very one-and-only timing as well as vertical effects).”
Full credit given, Shaolin, respect. Love the descriptions contrasting Utreger with Bill Evans and Monk, horizontal phrasing and vertical effects, worthy of Whitney Balliet. Ideas for future piano quiz. Omitted from the commentary is the incongruous presence of pop-chart singer and heart-throb Sacha Distel, on guitar. The singer and actor plays a more than passable guitar, complementary to his appearance on the classic Versailles recording with John Lewis, Afternoon in Paris, which includes France’s best tenor and European alumni of Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Barney Wilen. Distel enjoyed a short-lived romance with Brigitte Bardot in 1958 which put his face on the cover of every French fan magazine, and he began his career as a singer, and his hit single, Scoubidou, in 1959, catapulted him to the top of the charts. Jazz’s loss, apparently. Bobby Jaspar is also featured on Donald Byrd recordings in Paris, a fertile jazz environment, Americans in 50’s/’60s Paris, always worth looking out. (Get the Le Figaro connection, and tangling with French Fries, full name Donaldson Toussaint L’Ouverture Byrd II. If you wonder why you don’t know more of Jaspar’s playing, he suffered a fatal heart attack in New York City on February 28, 1963, at age of only 37.
Vinyl First US Edition:
This UK Edition:
Felsted Obscure UK label specialising in leased recordings of jazz and dance bands, owned by Decca from 1954 and used on and off until it 1964, when it transferred its catalogue to Decca’s London label. Note Decca/ New Malden plant matrix codes, promising superlative transfer of audio. Other Felsted releases include my impossibly rare and treasured Howard McGhee/Freddie Redd alternative Music from The Connection with young and musically wayward Tina Brooks in place of Jackie Mclean.
The Felsted label took its name from the village where the head of UK Decca, Sir Edward Lewis, lived. A pretty poor reason in marketing terms, like calling it The Nether Wallop label, but common decision process in patrician British companies of the time, when it was always good politics to leave the important things to the whim of the Chairman, or more importantly, to the Chairman’s wife.
No special story, just popped up in a record store. Having just been routed again and again in a recent Ebay treasure hoard (Tempo test pressings, for God’s sake!) , a more satisfactory result. The more you Ebayers win, the less I can write about.
In a happy coincidence considering the current Chet Baker post, my first Felsted record was in fact Chet Baker: I get Chet, with Bobby Jaspar, blogged in June 2012. My, doesn’t time fly.