FAMOUS JAZZ CLASSICS & BALLADS
THE VOICE of NORMA GREEN
THE GUITAR of PIERRE CAVALLI
Jazztone Rec. SJS-1263 – 1966? (Switzerland)
“Rare euro vocal jazz LP recorded in a small Swiss private club in 1966”. It seems everything is becoming “rare” these days. There was a time when this LP was a common occurrence in second-hand shops and could be bought for the equivalent of a couple of euros or even less (I bought mine for 65 Belgian Francs .. OK it was a long while ago!). I was therefore more than amazed when I saw that some “specialized” websites are not afraid to ask prices above € 100.- for this album, which is a bit outrageous IMHO.
The problem with this LP is … Norma Green. I could do without her vocals which I find slightly irritating. I could not find any info on her, apparently she was British. Luckily she only sings on half of the selections, the others are instrumentals and they amply justify the acquisition of the album. Pierre Cavalli’s playing is nothing but outstanding. He has a very unique and personal style, very bluesy for a Swiss … As a matter of fact, this album contains one of the bluesiest versions of Django, .just superb!
It is unfortunate that Cavalli did not get the opportunity to record more in a jazz context. However, if you are open-minded I recommend you seek his other recordings (EP and LP), more commercial but where he demonstrates an astounding technique .. I guess it is to be expected from a musician who befriended both Django and Les Paul in the Fifties, was the first of the few Europeans who play the Gibson-double neck. He is often considered a pioneer of instrumental rock and roll, in Europe and was a keen sound-experimentator. Imagine a Swiss Danny Gatton in the 50s.!
Norma Green vocal
Pierre Cavalli guitar
Bob Jaquillard bass
Stuff Combe drums
1. there will never be another you
3. the lady is a tramp
4. days of wine and roses
5. cry me a river
6. autumn leaves
7. angels eyes
8. all the things you are
9. i left my heart in san francisco
11. kansas city
12. lonesome road
Browsing the web for some info on Cavalli I landed on a French blog entitled
Bide & Musique
Bide & Musique
where I found these extensive biographical notes written by a musician who knew Cavalli personnaly (actually one of Cavalli's guitar students).
I also recommend this other excellent French website which has an extensive discography of Pierre Cavalli "rock" EP (Amour du Rock and Roll)
Pierre Cavalli started studying violin at a young age and get quickly interested in the guitar. In the late 40s, he started to commute between Switzerland and Paris where he began playing electric guitar in the famous Jazz Cellars of St . Germain des Prés, before he was even 20.
In 1948, he was back in Switzerland, playing and doing some recording sessions with organist Fred Bolher (real name . Fritz Walter Böhler) Then he moved again to Paris and played with various local and expat jazzmen, among others the American pianist Art Simmons. He could be seen and heard in all the main jazz clubs of the time (Blue Note-Chat qui Peche..etc.).
Around 1955-1956 he met the blind singer-pianist François Charpin. They formed a trio with the famous double bass player Michel Gaudry and recorded for the Barclay label.
Pierre Cavalli lead for a while his own Orchestra playing the hits of the day and recorded under his name a series of instrumental cover versions of popular tunes (When, Rebel-Rouser..etc) on Barclay and on on Bel-Air, a Barclay’s subsidiary. He became a mainstay of the Barclay Studio, working often with bassman Pierre Cullaz, backing popstars of the day He often backed female singers such as Franca Di Rienzo and wrote arrangements for Dalida.
He can be heard on numerous Hazy Osterwald records but always as a studio musician.
In March 1962 (7-8 March to be precise), he was in a recording studio with Sréphane Grappelli for an album that will be entitled “Feeling + Finesse = Jazz”. The rhythm section is among the best you could find on the old Continent: Daniel Humair –another Swiss – is on Drums, Guy Pedersen on double bass, Léo Petit on rhythm guitar.
In 1964 he recorded with Austrian pianist Friedrich Gulda and a.o. the Italian guitarist/bassplayer Franco Cerri (MPS). He made session with Hans Koller.
Between 1966 and 1978 Cavalli records several albums for nearly forgotten (often budget)
Pics (Sitting on myGuitar)
In addition to being a studio musician , Pierre Cavalli ran his father’s Musical Instrument Shop in Zurich.