In memory of Johnny Peret

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

Friday, January 28, 2011



It's the drawings on the cover that first caught my attention when I saw this CD in a discount bin some fifteen years ago.  I would probably have bought the CD no matter what the music was, just for those superb cartoons by Joost Swarte, a Dutch cartoonist / comic strip writer who is recognised as a master of the "ligne claire", a style based on Hergé's classic strips (Tintin, Quick & Flupke ...).

I didn't know much what to expect but the music blew me!  What a superb band!  If you've been on this blog before you are probably already familiar with Nueva Manteca (see post dated January 11,2011).

My favorite tracks are the title track (Bluesongo), Speak Low, a standard that has a natural Latin feel, Victor Feldman's Seven Steps to Heaven and a great rendition of Joe Zawinul's Young and Fine. But the whole album is highly enjoyable. Awesome percussion section, the best in Europe by far.

Toon de Gauw / Jarmo Hoogendijk: trumpet
Ben van den Dungen: tenor and soprano sax
Boudewijn Lucas: electric bass
Lucas van Merwijk: drums, percussions, Bata drums
Martin Verdonk: tumbadora, quinto, chekere, Bata drums
Nicky Marrero : timbales, timbalitos, bongos, guiro
Jan Laurens Hartong: leader, arranger, piano

Link in comments. 

Check them on YouTube, there are some superb moments (including a live version of Bluesongo).

Thursday, January 27, 2011

THIS FRIDAY 27 January - Live Blues - Brussels

Un peu de pub' pour les amis / some publicity for musical friends / beetje reklame voor muzikante vrienden


Saturday, January 22, 2011



In an ideal world, Etienne Verschueren would be recognised as one of the leading European altists, arrangers and bandleaders. 
The bio below comes from the Website of  Les Lundis d'Hortense , a goldmine of information on Belgian Jazz Musicians.

Etienne VERSCHUEREN was born in Ronse (Renaix), Belgium, in 1928, of a musical family. He studied piano at the Music Conservatory of Ghent in 1945, then harmony in his home town and taught himself to play the saxophone.

Soon after World War 2, he works with the most famous professional bands : Willy ALBIMOOR, Mickey BUNNER. He shares his activities between piano and saxophone. In the fifties, while playing with Belgian tenor sax legend Jack SELS, he moves towards the alto sax.
He joins Roger VAN HAVERBEKE's "Belgian Bluebirds" featuring trumpet player Janot MORALES.
Etienne VERSCHUEREN starts getting involved with the Belgian bebop scene : René THOMAS, Jacques PELZER, Jean WARLAND, SADI, etc.
He also plays accordeon in the recording studios and develops a carreer as an arranger. He writes for famous singers Catherina VALENTE, Charles AZNAVOUR, etc...
In 59, he joins the Belgian radio (INR) big band led by Henri SEGHERS. He composes for this ensemble the music of "Suite en seize", a TV program that receives the "Rose de Bronze" award in Montreux (63).
The same year, the BRT radio hires him and soon selects him in 65 to be the leader of the "BRT Jazzorkest". Under his leadership, this big band will become an important institution on the musical scene, as well in Belgium as in Europe. They will perform every year at the "Jazz Middelheim" Jazz Festival in Antwerp.
As a leader, composer/arranger or saxophonist, Etienne VERSCHUEREN had the opportunity to work with the greatest American jazzmen. But he also promoted, with the help of radio producer Elias GISTELINCK, the music of Belgian composers and arrangers : SADI, Francy BOLAND, Jean WARLAND, Bert JORIS, Bob PORTER, Michel HERR, Freddy SUNDER and many others.
In 77, Etienne VERSCHUEREN founds the "Bop Friends" with Nick FISSETTE (tp), Tony BAUWENS (p), Roger VANHAVERBEKE (b) and Freddy ROTTIER (drs). The group recorded 2 albums. Another album, "Early Spring", recorded in 83, after a first eclipse as a saxophonist, presents him with pianist Charles LOOS, Roger VAN HAVERBEKE (b) and Freddy ROTTIER (drs).
He also recorded a big band album with pianist Jack VAN POLL : "Injacktion" (September 5118).
In 85, Etienne VERSCHUEREN is forced to give up the saxophone for health reasons. He then concentrates on his writing, plays the piano and communicates his enthousiasm for music to musicians of all generations.
This generous musician leaves us with several recordings, in which he shows a brilliant talent as a saxophonist and as a composer/arranger.
He wrote many pieces for jazz big band, for symphony orchestra ans a few film scores (a.o. André DELVAUX's "Une femme entre chien et loup").
A musician of great feeling, he was nicknamed "Mister Blue" by his peers.

I have been very fortunate to see the BRT Jazzorkest in concert many times during the late sixties, early seventies, often with American guests (I have fond memories of a concert with Nathan Davis).  It was an awesome and inspired band which could rival any other big band in Europe (bar the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland Big Band but who else could ?). 

This album, which was originally released on vinyl in 1987 presents a good selection of the work ofd Etienne Verchueren as an arranger and a solist with the BRT JazzOrkest.  Those of you already familiar with Sixties/Seventies Belgian Jazz will recognised many familiar names as these guys were all over the place in the early Seventies. It was a great period for music and I do miss it!

Link in the comments as usual.  And don't forget to leave a comment!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Cordes & Lames + 1 - Accordion Madness (France, 1989)

Another one I found in a discount bin in the Nineties.  This is a little-known but superb album featuring the French band "Cordes et Lames" and a guest, American Accordionist Kenny Kotwitz, a student of the great Art Van Damme.
"Cordes et Lames" was founded in the late seventies by guitarist Dominique Cravic  and Jazz accordionist Francis Varis (both later founded "Les Primitifs du Futur").  
They released an eponymous LP ("Cordes et Lames") in 1983, on the French JAMUZ label, which has become a minor collectable among jazz accordion / gypsy jazz aficionados. However, the music played by Cordes et Lames is not the standard "Gypsy Jazz" moulded on Hot Club de France.  Their music has more modern influences namely Lennie Tristano, Lee Konitz, Art Van Damme.  
They actually recorded an album with Lee Konitz in 1988.  ("Medium Rare", Label Bleu).
This album was recorded in 1987 and released in 1989 on the EPM label. It has been OOP for as long as I can remember and it is its first appearance in blogland (to the best of my knowledge).

Francis Varis
If you thought that only horn players could do "chase" , listen to the two accordions chase in Northwest Highway.


  • Fleurette Africaine
  • Joao (for Joao Gilberto)
  • Northwest Highway
  • Lament 
  • Frank's Tune
  • Country Trane
  • In case you missed it
  • For Leon & Lee
  • Varis de Paris
  • Trois Temps pour Laurent

Dominique Cravic  (guitars)
Kenny Kotwitz (accordion)
Francis Varis (accordion)
Pierre Maingourd (bass)
Jean Claude Jouy (drums)
Jean Michel Davis (drums on 6,8 and 10)
Didier Roussin (guitar on 5)
Sonia Queiroz, Coaty de Oliveira (percussion on 2)

If you want to hear something really different, give this album a try!
Link in comments. 

See Kenny Kotwitz in Detroit in 1997:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011



If you have enjoyed my very first posting, you will like this one too as it features both Jarmo Hoogendijk and Ben van Dungen. This album was issued in 1993 on the short-lived Lucho label and is currently OOP.

Super interpretation of Gershwin's Porgy & Bess in a Latin-Jazz / Salsa setting by Dutch band Nueva Mantecafeaturing Jan Laurens Hartong piano, leader, Ton De Gouw trumpet, Jarmo Hoogendijk trumpet, Ben Van Dungen saxophone, Boudewijn Lucas bass and bass guitar, Lucas van Merwijk drums, Martin Verdonk percussion, Nils Fischer timbales and guest player Alaor Soares Brazilian percussion player

Led by pianist Jan Laurenz Hartong (c.1941, Netherlands), eight-piece band Nueva Manteca are a Netherlands-based Latin jazz outfit who produce a highly authentic distillation of Latin music and also embrace traditions such as Arabic, classical, Dutch Antillean and salsa. As Hartong told the press in 1996, ‘It’s the same situation as hearing a Korean violinist playing a Beethoven concerto. It’s already accepted in the jazz world. In the whole world music development, a lot of people are digging into all kinds of cultures.’ Hartong began playing dixieland piano at the age of 12, before progressing to bebop by 15, at which time he began to work professionally. He played alongside Jan Hammer and Joachim Kühn in a 1966 international jazz festival judged by Cannonball and Nat Adderley where he won a medal.

A fan of Latin music since his childhood, Hartong formed a 10-piece salsa band in Rotterdam in 1983. He also visited the music’s home in Cuba in 1984 and 1987, which led to him switching to a Latin jazz style and changing his group’s name from Manteca to Neuva Manteca. For the first three years of the group’s existence he was joined by highly respected New York timbales player Nicky Marrero. The group won its live reputation playing festivals throughout Europe, also performing alongside guest artists including Giovanni Hidalgo, Juanito Torres, Orestes Vilató, Armando Peraza and Bobby Sanabria as part of the state-sponsored Nueva Manteca Meets The Legends series. 

Link in comments.

Highly recommended!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

RIP Charles Fambrough

NEW YORK STORIES (Blue Note, 1992)
Danny Gatton - Bobby Watson - Roy Hargrave - Joshua Redman - Franck Amsallem - Charles Fambrough - Yuron Israel

I just read about the death of bassist Charles Fambrough.  
This excellent group outing is an opportunity to hear him in an "All Stars" setting. 
Here's what AMG has to say about this album:

This interesting outing by an all-star group (guitarist Danny Gatton, altoist Bobby Watson, trumpeter Roy Hargrove, Joshua Redman on tenor, pianist Franck Amsallem, bassist Charles Fambrough and drummer Yuron Israel) is most notable for featuring the brilliant Gatton in a jazz setting. Together the septet, performs nine originals by group members and Gatton and Watson emerge as the main solo stars. Despite its somewhat generic name, this advanced hard bop date is quite memorable.
Charles Fambrough (1950-2011)

It's an old rip from the original CD (OOP).  192 K only but OK. 
Link in comments as usual.

Sunday, January 2, 2011


I posted this one on Nine Sisters last year but since the blog no longer exists, I re-post it here.
It’s not my favorite Charles Earland album, not even my favorite Earland album on Muse.  Don’t expect the burning raw energy of albums such as “Black Talk”.  Nevertheless, it’s certainly not a bad album and it has its moments.  The title track grooves nicely, in an easy-going and laid-back way.  As AMG puts it: “ The improviser swings hard and passionately on Wayne Shorter's "Tell It Like It Is," but his mellow side wins out on such congenial, groove-oriented jazz/R&B fare as pianist Neal Creque's "Cease the Bombing" and the originals "Sweety Pie," "World of Competition" and "Thinking of You." Even at his most relaxed, though, Earland's music is undeniably gritty. Among the noteworthy soloists employed this time are trombonist Clifford Adams, guitarist Oliver Nevels and the promising young tenor & soprano saxman Eric Alexander” . (Alex Henderson, All Music Guide).
Give it a try!

Track list:
1          I Ain't Jivin', I'm Jammin'
2          One for Andre
3          Tell It Like It Is          
4          Cease the Bombing    
5          Thinking of You
6          City Lights
7          World of Competition
8          Sweety Pie

Charles Earland                       Keyboards, Organ
Clifford Adams                       Trombone
Eric Alexander                        Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor)
Oliver Nevels                          guitar
Darryl Jones                            Bass (Electric)
Steve Cobb                             Drums
Tony Carpenter                       Percussion

Currently OOP.  Link in comments.

I've been searching YouTube but there ain't no live footage of Charles Earland. 

Saturday, January 1, 2011

YOU GOT ME RUNNIN' (Muse, 1991)


I’ll start the year with an album that should have appeared on or be linked  to the Nine Sisters blog as it was issued on the Muse label, but unfortunately this excellent blog no longer exists. 

My first love in Music was the Blues.  I discovered Jazz thru' Jazz Blues records and as such I’ve always been very fond of the great Blues Shouters, people like Wynonie Harris, Roy Brown, Big Joe Turner, Jimmy Whiterspoon, Big Miller to name a few. Because these bluesmen sat on the borderline between jazz and  blues, they were often shunned by the rock-fed white blues aficionados, who were never too keen on jazz anyway, prefering the raw harmonica based sound of Chicago Blues to the more jazz-oriented style of the shouters.  Alexis Korner made this remark almost 50 years ago.

The fact is that there aren’t many real blues shouters around nowadays.  I guess Willie Pooch could qualify. He recorded some fantastic sides with Tony Monaco on Hammond B-3.  Highly recommended but I won’t post them as these records are still currently on sale.

A photo of Larry O'Neill, taken
 from  an ad for a show in a
Cafe in Istanbul  in 2009.
The shouter I’ve posted today is not somedody one would call a household name ... unless you live in Turkey. It’s common for US blues artists to try their luck abroad but generally they choose Europe, some try Japan or Australia ... few would decide to become a blues star in Turkey.  Larry O’Neill did.  I don’t know whether he is still living there but the only info I manage to find on the net was from Turkish sources.  He’s apparently a regular visitors to festivals and clubs overthere

The only recording of Larry O’Neill I know is this excellent CD produced by Houston Person and issued on Muse in 1991.  The repertoire is mostly blues numbers and a few ballads but, as AMG states “no one's going to mistake You Got Me Runnin' for a Chess session of the 1950s or 1960s--O'Neill's backing consists of nothing but jazz musicians, including Person on tenor sax, Stan Hope on piano, Randy Johnston on electric guitar, Peter Martin Weiss on upright bass and Cecil Brooks III on drums.”

You Got Me Runnin'
I Need You So           
Hard Luck Blues
Woke up This Morning          
I Want a Little Girl
Ain't Nobody Sleepin' in My Bed
Don't Deceive Me
Built for Comfort
How Do You Speak to an Angel
Why Must I Be Lonely

Credits :  Larry O'Neill (Vocals), Houston Person (Sax Tenor, Producer), Stan Hope (Piano), Randy Johnston (Guitar), Peter Martin Weiss (Bass), Cecil Brooks III (Drums).

Currently OOP.  Link in comments.