16 SWINGIN’ STANDARDS
PLAYED BY JOHN EVANS AND REINHOLD SVENSSON
LP OMEGA SL-49 (rec. 1958, issued c. 1961)
When it comes to unearthing really obscure jazz records, few could beat our friend Paul D. Today’s posting is a delightful album that should please all fans of Mainstream Jazz Piano.
It is also very rare!
One side is devoted to Belgian pianist Jean Evans (aka John Evans for the English-speaking public), the other to a Swedish pianist: Reinhold Svensson.
There is no detail of the sessions on the record sleeve but Paul D. volunteered the following info, courtesy of W. Bruyninckx’s discography:
- Side A : John Evans (p) prob. Clement De Mayer (b) prob. Armand Van De Walle
(d, perc) à Bruxelles en 1958.
- Side B : Reinhold Svensson (p) Pär Grip (b) Robert Edman (d) à Örebro en Suède en 1958.
The Brussels session was recorded around the same time as a series of Francis Bay Big Band albums on the OMEGA label. Omega's Francis Bay series (recorded at the Brussels World's Fair) was the label's most ambitious original recording project. Omega travelled to Belgium to produce these spectacularly lifelike recordings.
Jean ("John") Evans played piano in the Francis Bay Band. His side (all from "Porgy and Bess") was intended to be OSL 36, but instead a second pianist was added (via Phonotapes, Omega's Swedish distributor) and the combination became OSL 49.
Evans’ rhythm section was Francis Bay Big Band rhythm section. They would later on become the nucleus of the BRT Jazz Orchestra and you may also recognize them as rhythm team of The Clouds.
John Evans (Antwerp, 1927 – Brussels, 1984) was born Jean Evens but changed his name to John Evans as it sounded “more jazz”. He accompanied and married singer Martha Love, who recorded also with Francis Bay Big Band. In addition to this session for OMEGA, he also recorded under his own name for Directional Sound (1958) and Palette (1983). He recorded extensively with Francis Bay (source: Dictionnaire du Jazz en Wallonieet a Bruxellles).
Reinhold Svensson (Husum, 1919 – Sundbyberg,1968), blind from shortly after birth, trained as a piano tuner and ultimately became a jazz pianist. He recorded from the early 40s until the early 60s. Some of the greatest names in Swedish Jazz played in his band (Putte Wikmans, Rolf Ericson, Lars Gullin to name a few.)..
|SL-49 alternate cover|
Putting my national pride aside (I 'm one of the last Anciens Belges), I feel that Reinhold is a more advanced pianist compared to Evans. I really dig his reading of I’ll remember April (Am I the only one to hear a slight Tristano’s influence there?).
Evans: It Ain't Necessarily So / Summertime / I Love You Porgy / A Woman Is a Sometime Thing / There's a Boat Dat's Leaving For New York / My Man's Gone Now / Bess You Is My Woman Now / I Got Plenty o' Nothin'
Svensson: What Is This Thing Called Love? / Long Ago and Far Away / Too Late Now / All of Me / Love Walked In / Love Me or Leave Me / I'll Remember April / Tenderly