In memory of Johnny Peret

In memory of Johnny Peret
In memory of my friend Johnny Peret, vibist, drummer, accordeonist extraordinaire

Friday, December 24, 2010


Where's the snow?  Where are my reindeers?

Afro-Caribbean Jazz in Holland

Fra Fra Big Band – A Tan So (Lucho, 1993)

I found this album with two Fra Fra Sound CD and two Nueva Manteca CD (I'll post them later on) about 15 years ago in a discount bin in my local supermarket.  They were all on the short-lived Lucho label, a small Dutch label that specialised in latino / caribbean music.  I must confess that it was the drawing on the cover, by the Dutch artist Joost Swarte, that first caught my attention. 

Perhaps the only description that comes close to defining the distinctive sound of Fra Fra Big Band is Afro-Caribbean big band-jazz. Fra Fra Big Band draws their influence from the rich musical traditions of various continents, fusing them together to concut a perfectly balanced mixture of styles. Music which swings, evaporates, sparkles and caresses, both on stage as well as on the CD. Fra Fra Big Band perform regularly in the Netherlands and abroad and already has two cds to their name: A Tan So (1993) and Maspoti Makandra (1998). The Big Band actually came into being in 1990, when the original 7 piece jazz ensemble of Fra Fra Sound undertook a short tour to celebrate their ten year anniversary. Joined by a horn section and performing under the name of Fra Fra Big Band the performances were an instant success. Their innovative, passionate, edgy and tight sound proved so inspiring that it called for regular celebrations and Fra Fra Big Band was truly born.

Charles Green
The Surinam expression fra fra means balance. Or even better: a (carefully measured) combination of differing elements. In Fra Fra Big Band these elements come from all over the world. The phenomenon of a big band and the techniques associated with their musical arrangements originate from the traditional swing era of American jazz. The Fra Fra Big Band represent a free yet respectful form of this variance, where smooth and compelling Caribbean, Surinam and African rhythms join in to form the basis of their musical approach. On top of this, the sound of the band is inspired by contemporary forms of improvisations which have their roots in North America, Europe, West- and South Africa. The incorporation of such solos and improvisations in their music lends an energy to the performances and complete their exclusive sound. Each of the stylistic elements which influence the band remains recognizable in the execution of their music. Predominantly, the orchestra plays their own compositions and arrangements, however, some pieces are performed which have been composed and arranged on consignment.

Efraim Trujillo
Fra Fra Big Band consists of eighteen Antillian, Surinamese, Afro-American and Dutch musicians. Well-known soloists are regularly invited from the world music scene as well as the jazz scene. These soloists serve as an important source of inspiration, bringing with them musical elements from different yet related cultures. The orchestra has performed at important festivals such as the North Sea Jazz Festival, the BRT/Middelheim Jazz festival in Antwerp, Murcia International Jazz Festival in Spain and the Arts Alive Festival in Johannesburg, South-Africa. Fra Fra Big Band also plays regularly in jazz clubs, theatres and at multicultural festivals. Their success has meant recognition for their unique and well though-out musical approach, as well as for the inspiring stage presence during performances. The music of Fra Fra Big Band not only inspires the intellect of those that listen, but it also calls out to their hearts, their souls and certainly, their feet to respond.

Fra Fra Big Band – A Tan So (Lucho, 1993
Some good soloists on this one including  Ephraim Trujillo (tenor sax), Steve Williamson (Jazz Warriors), Jim Hartog, Doug Lucas, Charles Green, Patric Sedoc, and probably the best percussion section you could dream of in Europe.

            01. What me worry?
            02. Te jaw fre
            03. Abahilija
            04. In certain seasons
            05. M-zee
            06. Gonza
            07. The sport
            08. One for malinga

Link in comments (256 kbps - Ripped from original CD - currently OOP) 
Leave a comment, it will be much appreciated.

Saturday, December 18, 2010


I just read that Captain Beefheart died following a long struggle against Multiple Sclerosis.  He was 69.
We'll miss You Captain!
In memoriam: three of my favorite You Tube Video::

1968 -  Captain Beefheart & his Magic Band in Cannes

1969 -Captain Beefheart & his Magic Ban - Live @ Amougies,  Belgium, 1969

Captain Beefheart - I'm Gonna Boogiarize You Baby
Cheers Don!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A tribute to the late Ernest Wiehe, composer, arranger, saxophonist, pianist, educator, architect, painter and great Mauritian (1944-2010).

Ernest Wiehe (left) - Philip Thomas (right) (source: L'Express)
The name “Mauritius” usually conjures image of a tourist paradise with sandy tropical beaches, never ending fields of sugarcane, , sega dancers, rum cocktails, gateaux-piments, dhal puree and spicy curries. A multi-cultural country with a mixture of people originating from Asia, Africa and Europe … however, Mauritius is rarely associated with Jazz.  Being a “jazz” musician in Mauritius means most of the time playing Hotel California and other chestnuts to entertain hotel guests around the pool or the barbecue.  And don’t try to be inventive with those songs, play them straight, we don’t want our tourists to be unsettled by adventurous versions of familiar tunes.  Not the most exciting environment for a creative musician and it’s not surprising therefore that many Mauritian musicians choose to emigrate to UK, France, Australia or South Africa to try to make a career.
Despite this situation, there is a small group of dedicated jazzmen living in Mauritius.  They don’t make a living playing jazz, they do have other jobs:  they may teach, many work the hotel circuit but when they decide to get together and play jazz, they can really swing.  The catalyst of this small jazz scene was for a long time the saxophonist, composer, arranger, educator Ernest WIEHE (pronouced "Vee-Hay") who died on June 3, 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer. 
He was 66. Wiehe had performed with his quintet just weeks prior to his death.
After studying Architecture in South Africa, Ernest attended Berklee in Boston and graduated in ’73. After finishing his studies, he became a Berklee faculty member, founded the Boston Jazz Orchestra, and played freelance gigs with Cab Calloway, among others. In 1978 he returned to Mauritius and supported his musical endeavors by selling his impressionist paintings and working as an architect. He drew on the sounds of his Indian Ocean island country to create a musical style that integrated jazz with Indian, Creole, and European elements of the Mauritian culture. Additionally, Wiehe scored the film Benares; released several self-produced albums; and penned arrangements for the Cambridge, MA, ensemble Pocket Big Band and for Belgian saxophonist Steve Houben a.o. 
This album was recorded in 2002 and features an all-Mauritian jazz ensemble playing compositions by Ernest Wiehe and his arrangements of standards.

Didn’t say (Neto Masa 91082-2)
Ernest Wiehe 10-piece Jazz Ensemble : Philippe Thomas, Georges Reed (tp) Ernest Wiehe (ss,as) Jean-Noël Ladouce, Ludovic Matombé (ts) José Thérèse (bar) Belingo Fato (p-1) Noël Jean (p-2,synt-3) Ricardo Thélémaque (synt-4) Gino Chantoiseau (b) Christophe Bertin (d)
Recorded in Ernest’s home in Ferret-Mapou, Mauritius, between November 2001 & March 2002
Track lists

1.      Oliver’s dance
2.      Love is here to stay
3.      Triste
4.      Didn’t say
5.      Karlo’s bucks
6.      Stolen moments
7.      Thanks G.T.
8.      Workshop blues
9.      Sweet poison
10.  Unexpected feelings
11.  All the things you are

World-class exciting modern big band!  Very highly recommended and, to the best of my knowledge, not available anywhere else on the blogsphere.  Give it a listen!

Ernest Wiehe lance “Didn’t say” au Conservatoire François Mitterrand  
(15 Nov 2002)

Ambiance de tonnerre, en cette soirée du 14 novembre, au Conservatoire François Mitterrand, pour le lancement de “Didn’t say” du jazzman mauricien, Ernest Wiehe. Le groupe, composé uniquement de Mauriciens, a fait vibrer le public au rythme des “ten pieces” qu’il a proposés. En effet, la salle était pleine à craquer. L’organisation a même dû faire provision de chaises supplémentaires pour permettre aux fans de jazz de savourer de l’authentique musique. Accompagné du célèbre trompettiste Philip Thomas, que Wiehe qualifie “d’irremplacable”, et d’une brève mais remarquable apparition de Berlingo Faro, le pianiste le plus renommé de l’île,
I was very lucky to attend this memorable concert.

Ripped from my original CD.  Link in the comments (320 + cover scans) .

Sunday, December 12, 2010


From "Discography of Belgian Jazz" - Robert Pernet, 1999.

This obscure 45 rpm was requested by Hoochie Coochie Man in the comments on BNO, below.  Pretty rare record, I daresay! It is the only recording by the “Brussels Art Quintet” and as such it documents an interesting period in Belgian Jazz, bringing together three “names”: guitarist Daniel Schellekens (better known as Daniel Schell), before setting up Cos, tenor-sax Babs Robert, before his recording of Babs Robert & the Love Planet, and drummer Robert Pernet who will later hold the drum kit in both Cos and Babs Robert Quartet.  I wish to thank my friend Paul D, who has the original record in his extensive collection, for sending me a rip of these two tracks and photos of the label.
Biographical details on those musicians could be found on the website Jazz in Belgium

Now about the music: the two songs were composed by D. Schellekens and I found the overall result pretty inventive and even in advance.  I do hear shades of e.g. Where Fortune Smiles (McLaughlin, Surman, Karl Berger) -  perhaps because of the similitude in instrumentation (vibes-guitar-sax) but one must bear in mind that the Brussels Art Quintet recorded this 7" almost two years before Surman / Mc Laughlin 's more famous album.

For more info on Robert Pernet, check

And thanks to Hoochie Coochie Man for sending the original cover!

Link in comments (rip is 128kbps but OK)

Saturday, December 11, 2010


Today, a little-known modern big band from the North West.  It is again a CD I found on a “brocante” (flea market), in Ganshoren (Brussels), in the early nineties.  Again I didn’t have a clue about the band (and there was no Internet, no Google, no Discogs or AMG!).  But it looked OK, it was from the West Coast which is a hotbed for modern big bands and it was very cheap.  I took it. 
The Kicks Band was created by arrangers Lee Bradford and Gary Hobbs. Now based in Oregon, the orchestra, which is co-led by altoist Susie May Jones, trumpeter David Mills and trombonist Geoff Craig, plays modern straight-ahead jazz with arrangements contributed by various bandmembers. There are no “names” among the sidemen but the soloists (which include altoist Kirt Peterson, tenor saxophonist Bryan Dickerson, trumpeter Paul Mazzio, trombonist Geoff Craig and the alternating pianists Gordon Lee and Larry Natwick) are excellent. The track “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” won a National Public Radio Award.
It was issued by Monster Music in 1989.  Currently OOP.  Apparently still unheard of on the blogsphere!
Track Listing:
Fear for Seventeen                                                     3:27
Bunky                                                                        5:02
Rainstorm                                                                   7:47
Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah                                                   5:59
Salsation                                                                     7:24
The Epics                                                                 11:41

Ripped from my CD (256).   Size: 72 MB
Link in comments.


Just to water your mouth, here are a few LPs in my collection that I may post if I ever get the time to rip them (and that won’t be for a few months ...).  Never saw any of them on the Net...

Babs Robert 4tet - Babs Robert & the Love Planet (Belgium, 1970)
Act Big Band – self-titled (Belgium, 1981)
The Clouds – self-titled  (feat.Freddy Sunder etc., Belgium, 1966)
Pierre Cavalli & Norma Green - Famous Jazz Classics & Ballads (Switzerland, 1966)
Andre Condouant - Brother Meeting ( France, 1966)
Andre Condouant – Thanks for All (France, 1989)
Michel Sardaby – Blue Sunset (France, 1967)
The Belgian Big Band arranged and conducted by Sadi (Belgium)
Eddy House  Quintet -Live at the Acoustic Club (Belgium, 197?)
Jean Blaute -Hello Young Lovers (Belgium, 1981)
Mike Carr and His Trio Featuring Jim Mullen and Harold Smith - Live at Ronnie Scott's  (UK, 1980)
Shake Keane – That’s the Noise (UK, 1965)
Philip Catherine – Guitars (Belgium, 1975)
Waso - Round Midnight (gypsy jazz, Belgium, 1987)
Peter Appleyard -Presents (direct to disc, w/ Moe Koffman, Guido Basso, Ed Bickert,a.o., Canada,1977)
Sky Walk - Live in Detroit (Canada, 1980)
Moe Koffman  Quartet- (Canada 1967)
Joe Sealy Trio (Canada, 196?)
Sonny Greenwich - Birds of Paradise (Canada, 1986)
Martial Solal Big Band -Big Band (France, 1981)

And many more ....

Friday, December 10, 2010


On the menu today? A plate of Sizzlin’ Scandinavian Jazz by a major figure of Danish Jazz! 

A few years ago I found this CD in a cut-rate bin.  Straight ahead tenor / bass / drums trio.  The real test for a sax player, no room for mistakes.  And believe me, Bent Jaedig passes the test with all honors. Listen for instance to the beautiful Ballad for Brew (i.e. Brew Moore who resided and recorded in Denmark during most of the Sixties, untill his untimely death in 73). 

I was not familiar with his name at the time but the CD only costed 50 BF (€ 1.25) so I took a chance and did not regret it. I started checking the list of players on various albums recorded in Scandiavia and realised Bent Jaedig was a major player on the Danish jazz scene.  I especially like his contribution to the album Sahib Shihab and the Danish Radio Jazz Group (reissued on OKTAV and currently available  - highly recommended.  Ask Santa to get you one for Xmas if you don't own a copy yet). 

Bent Jaedig Trio – Sizzlin’  (1996)

Track Listing:
  1.       Sizzlin'                                         4:26
  2.       Ballad for Brew                              8:08
  3.       Manifiesta                                     4:17
  4.       One for Goof                                  4:04
  5.       The Red Lightning                          5:06
  6.       The Strooch                                   4:46
  7.       Atlicity                                          5:59
  8.       Cospolition                                    4:30

Bent Jaedig                                   Sax (Tenor)
Jesper Lundgaard                                   Bass
Bjarne Rostvold                                   Drums

Size : 73 MB

Ripped from my original CD (256). Currently OOP as far as I know.

UPDATED LINK in comments (19/07/2017).

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Here is my first attempt at posting an album: the Dutch band Brand New Orleans, an intriguing combination of post-bop and afro-caribbean drumming. It was released in 1995 but, as far as I know, it is out of print.

Credits: Ben van den Dungen (tenor- en sopraan sax) ; Jarmo Hoogendijk (trompet) ; Juraj Stanik (piano en orgel) ; Harry Emery (bas) ; John Engels (drums) ; Willem Jansen (afrikaanse percussie).

I posted it a few months ago in the comments @ Bacosso's OIR but the link is now dead. 

Size 116MB Quality:256k ripped from my original CD.

UPDATED LINK (18/07/17)  see comments.

Comments welcome.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


Chaka Chaka Boom Boom,  Capitol 107 FM, Port Vila, Vanuatu, c. 2008
Twice in my life I had the opportunity to make Radio Programs and play the music I like for a wider audience.  The first time was in the eighties, on Radio Comores, in the Indian Ocean. I had two programs.  "Honky Tonk" was a blues/roots program and "Night Train" was a Jazz program.  They lasted a few months.  It was long before the advent of Internet and as the FM transmitter was very weak, the programs could only be heard in a radius of a few kilometers around Moroni.  Anyway I enjoyed it and so did quite a few listeners as these were the only programs playing that kind of music in the whole archipelago.  I left the Comores in 88 and went to work in other far away places but no more radio ... untill 2007, i was then in Vanuatu and got approached by Mike, an elderly Peace Corps Volunteer who wanted to start a program on the newly established Capital FM 107, a private station in Port Vila.  That's how Capital Blues started and quickly mutated into Chaka Chaka Boom Boom, one hour of rock and roll, boogie music and related mayhem.  Then a few weeks later I started Capitol Jazz, in French for a change, one hour of Jazz every Sunday after the 8:00 p.m. news.  It lasted for over two years until I left Vanuatu.  The great fun was that Capitol was streaming on the Net - well, on and off as technical problems were not uncommon - and therefore I had listeners not only in the South Pacific but also in Europe and North America (mostly friends who's been told about the programs).  And then I moved to another country, another job and no more radio programs.

In July last year I made a compilation of funky jazz tracks for my daughter, based on the kind of stuff I used to play on Capitol Jazz.  Some tracks were ripped from my own, rather extensive record collection , others from albums I had downloaded from various specialised blogs.  I didn't have the opportunity to rip my own LPs as all my LPs were (and still are) in Europe while I'm roaming the world.

Anyway the compilation began to have a life of its own. Friends heard it and asked me for copies. Just as a hobby,  I decided to make a new compilation every month  and upload them for friends.  I'm now (December 2010) at number 17.

I plan to upload them for your enjoyment.  I plan also to upload whole albums provided that they are OOP and not available on other blogs.

Making these compilations wouldn't have been possible without the great blogs that have come and gone on the Web over the last few years.

I dedicate this blog to my late friend Johnny Peret, musicien extraordinaire and "echte Brusseleir".  Thanks for introducing me to modern big bands and the beauty of well-crafted arrangements and ensemble playing.