Roy Eldridge’s visits in France and Sweden (January 1951) were certainly very happy and carefree times for the trumpet star, who not too seldom got confronted with brutally open racism in his fatherland.
Especially in Paris – then Europe’s jazz capital – were black American jazz musicians always welcome, and enthusiastically celebrated.
Roy Eldridge thanked the French with quite a variety of settings when he came to the Vogue studios on June 9, June 14, & October 28, 1950; and also on March 28 & 29, 1951 (each date is linked with either a track, a CD, or an article):
Roy did three hilarious piano solos; he recorded two fabulous duets with pianist Claude Bolling; further, “Little Jazz” waxed six gigantic tracks with a quartet, featuring Gerald Wiggins, Pierre Michelot & Kenny Clarke; Zoot Sims & Don Byas were also there, and so they took the chance and recorded some rompin’ quintet numbers in June 1950, respectively in March 1951 (1950: Dick Hyman, Pierre Michelot & Ed Shaughnessy, vocals by a certain Anita Love; 1951: Claude Bolling, Guy de Fatto, Armand Molinetti).
Last but not least, “Little Jazz” also sang & scatted in kinda French, and he expressed deep blue feelings, his very yearning for Harlem with an inspired septet ballad (linked below).
My favorite of the three solo-piano tracks is the Dukish “List Blues” (sic! – or rather “Liszt Blues”?) which would be worth getting transcribed, and performed with a larger band.
This wonderful comprovisation reflects Roy’s preference for rich chords, and can be understood as a heartfelt homage to Paris; it’s a tonal love poem to France, and to its impressionistic composers Debussy and Ravel (and perhaps also to “our” Franz Liszt who lived in Paris from 1827 to 1834).
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Here is a more or less complete discographical entry:
“Variatio delectat”, as some ancient Roman said, which means that I regrouped the tracks for your listening pleasure.
Here are the liners to the LP, for your convenience in French & English (click to enlarge):
Blog owner’s recommendation: For learning more about the influences of certain European composers on jazz, feel free to go HERE.