In memory of Johnny Peret

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

Monday, August 7, 2017


HEAD UNDER LEGS”                 
LP VEGA 19.129  - Collection Jazz

France, 1969

 I have the pleasure to share today the first album by the Claude Cagnasso Big Band, dating from 1969.  To the best of my knowledge, it is the first appearance of this rare French album in the blogosphere.  His second album (Five Compact / Plein Jazz) had been posted on the blog LAKASAFUNK a few years back (and , amazingly, the link still works).

Claude Cagnasso (24 October 1939, Maisoncelles-Tuileries (Oise) - 25 July 2015, Montpellier).  
There is a comprehensive biography in the obituary published in Jazz Hot 672 (Summer 2015).  As it is in French, I summarize it hereafter:     
Claude Cagnasso received basic piano training from his sister, at an early age.  His main interest was not the piano but the big band, “the 18 musicians orchestra, the volume of the brass and reeds associated to the rhythmic pulse”.
An autodidact, he learned as a teenager, through sheer perseverance and enthusiasm, to become an arranger – and continued to learn all through his life. 

His first gigs were with “afro-cuban bands”, such as Benny Bennett’s, becoming a specialist of what was then called “rythme typique”. At the same period, he started to work for the recording studios, writing arrangements for popular French singers as different as Joe Dassin, Claude Nougaro,  Jean-Roger Caussimon, Catherine Ribeiro or  Leny Escudéro to name a few.  He wrote his first arrangements in 1959, for the “brasilian singer” Roberto Seto, who had a big hit in 1960 with the famous song «Brigitte Bardot». In the second half of the 60s he met Sonny Grey who was playing in Paris.  Cagnasso wrote two arrangements that Grey accepted, leading to Grey asking Cagnasso to write some original compositions for him.
In 1969, Cagnasso organised a big band that lasted until 1981.  Stan Kenton was a key influence but so were afro-cuban / mambo bands such as Perez Prado’s.

The Cagnasso Big band recorded its first album «  Head Under Legs ” in Decembre 1969, in Paris.   Over its 12 years existence, the Cagnasso Big Band featured a whole array of talented musicians, some already well-established such as Roger Guérin (tp), Georges Arvanitas (p), Teddy Hamelin (as) or Raymond Katarzynski (tb) but also « young lions » at the early stage of their career : trumpetists Michel Bos, Tony Russo, Bernard Marchais, Guy Bodet, François Chassagnite ; trombonists Jacques Bolognesi, Luis Fuentes, Jean-Louis Damant ; saxophonists Patrick Bourgoin, Dominique Soulat (as), Alain Hatot, Jean-Pierre Debarbat (ts), Francis Cournet (bs) ; pianists Maurice Vander and Michel Graillier, bassists Didier Levallet and Pierre-Yves Sorin,  tuba player Marc Steckar, drummers / percussionists Christian Lété, Guy Hayat and Tiboum Guignon (dm, perc).

1 Head Under Legs 6:35
Composed By – C. Cagnasso*
2 Little Blade Of Grass 5:57
Composed By – C. Cagnasso*
3 Theme For Granek 6:51
Composed By – C. Cagnasso*
4 I'm Beginning To See The Light 3:58
Composed By – D. Georges*, D. Ellington*, H. James*, J. Hodges*
5 That's My Cigarette 5:05
Composed By – Michel Bos
6 Blue Sky 3:56
Composed By – I. Berlin*
7 Doesn't Matter 6:00
Composed By – C. Cagnasso*
8 Grande Avenue 3:53
Composed By – G. Gasquet

Conductor and arranger:  Claude Cagnasso
Trumpet – A. Loustalot, A. Perucca, B. Dujardin, G. Bouron, O. De La Taille*
Trumpet [Solo] – Michel Bos
Trombone – A. Vernay, B. Camus, M. Cevrero*, P. Devincre
Trombone [Solo] – J. Bolognesi*
Tuba – D. Landreat or Dzierla
Saxophone – D. Ventosa, H. Poulet, J. Net, J.-L. Vignaud*, L. Canillar
Saxophone [Solo] – A. Hatot except on 8 : D. Ventosa*
Piano - M. Graillier ( – G. Gasquet (4,6,8)
Bass – D. Levallet
Drums – D. Carlier - C. Conord

Cagnasso recorded his second album in Paris between 9 June 1976 and 5 January 1977. It was released under the title Five Compact in 1977 (Un-Deux-Trois ‎– N°12) and reissued in 1982 as “Plein Jazz” (Disques Vendémiaire ‎– VD093).


  1. FLAC

  2. fascinating. many thanks for this total rarity.

  3. This is great, glad to see you back!

  4. Thank you very much, Boogieman!

  5. Very interesting! Thanks, boogieman!

  6. welcom back... we missed you... great music... rare LPs... what could we ask you more?!