by Alix Combelle


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Anybody who's listened to Django Reinhardt records from the late 1930s has probably heard the saxophone of Alix Combelle, but few seem to know him by name. Featured in front of the 1935 Hot Club of France Quintet, this fellow demonstrates why he was such a sensation in Europe. During "Crazy Rhythm" he rapidly alternates between gutsy tenor sax and gritty clarinet, switching back and forth without missing a beat. Leading his own band two years later, Combelle has a pair of accomplished American musicians sitting in. Bill Coleman scats and blows his horn beautifully during his own "Hangover Blues." Bassist Wilson Myers might be best remembered for the records he made with Sidney Bechet. "Avalon" boils over with a rigorous vitality typical of the late-'30s Parisian swing scene. The tenor sax is warm and feisty. Comparison with Bud Freeman seems inevitable. Two sides by Combelle's Hot Four are largely driven by Joseph Reinhardt's rhythm guitar and the powerfully plucked bass of Louis Vola. Paring his band down to a trio, Alix presents two original compositions in the company of pianist Ray Stokes and Django's trustworthy percussionist Pierre Fouad, who sounds a lot like George Wettling on this date. From his solo on "Don't Get Tired," it is evident that Stokes had been listening to Fats Waller, but with the exception of Joseph Goebbels, who hadn't? Combelle certainly had. In fact, he swiped "Honeysuckle Rose" and called it "Morning Feeling." Django's "Daphne" sounds great inflated into a stomp for 11 players. The Hot Club Swing Stars also tackle a Bob Crosby dance tune and the Kansas City stomp "Every Tub," during which Louis Richardet meticulously copies the already-famous Basie piano style. Basie's influence was stronger than ever on February 20, 1940 as Alix Combelle's Swing Band seized upon "Jumpin' at the Woodside." This track is notable for a particularly expressive guitar solo by Django Reinhardt, who receives the customary solo spotlight throughout this session. The drummer proves to be jazz critic and promoter Charles Delaunay, masquerading under the name of H.P.Chadel. That's probably him making verbal comments during the stimulating "Weekend Stomp." A relaxed blues with the ironic title "Nerves and Fever" is followed by "Fast, Slow, Medium Tempo," a sort of mini-concerto for big band by Philippe Brun. Two more Basie covers bring us to the session of October 21, 1940. Monsieur Combelle was now standing at an historical crossroads, as he continued to make jazz records during the German occupation, an activity specifically regarded as subversive. Jazz, with its many Jewish and Afro-American influences, was considered racially impure as proscribed by the Nuremberg Laws, and therefore all jazz performance, recording or even listening was declared subversive. Which makes these little swing records all the more enjoyable.

Product Details

Release Date: 11/19/1996
Label: Melodie Jazz Classic
UPC: 3307517071422
catalogNumber: 714
Rank: 302546

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Alix Combelle   Primary Artist,Clarinet,Tenor Saxophone
Danny Barker   Guitar
Bill Coleman   Trumpet,Violin,Vocals
Stéphane Grappelli   Piano
Django Reinhardt   Guitar
Ethel Waters   Track Performer
Tyree Glenn   Trombone,Vibes
Pierre Allier   Trumpet
Reginald Beane   Piano
Christian Bellest   Trumpet
Max Blanc   Alto Saxophone
Philippe Brun   Trumpet,Cornet
Garvin Bushell   Alto Saxophone
H.P. Chadel   Drums
Roger Chaput   Guitar
Noel Chiboust   Tenor Saxophone
Shirley Clay   Trumpet
Marcel Coestier   Alto Saxophone
Pierre Fouad   Drums
Milt Hinton   String Bass
Francis Luca   Bass,Baritone Saxophone
Castor McCord   Clarinet
Jerry Mengo   Drums
Wilson Myers   Bass,Baritone Saxophone
Guy Paquinet   Trombone
Piguilem   Trumpet
Danny Polo   Clarinet
Alex Renard   Trumpet
Marceau Sarbib   Bass,Baritone Saxophone
Ray Stokes   Piano
Charles Turner   String Bass
Louis Vola   Bass,Baritone Saxophone
Raymond Wrascoff   Piano
Eugene d'Hellemmes   Trombone
David Martin   Piano
Eddie Mallory   Trumpet
Joseph Reinhardt   Guitar
Maurice Moufflard   Trumpet
Aimé Barelli   Trumpet
Charlie Lewis   Piano
Louis Richardet   Piano

Technical Credits

Jimmy McHugh   Composer
Dorothy Fields   Composer
Mark Fisher   Composer
Joe Goodwin   Composer
Harry Beasley Smith   Composer
Ted Snyder   Composer
Anatol Schenker   Liner Notes
Russell Wooding   Contributor
Larry Shay   Composer
Francis Wheeler   Composer

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