Belgian-born tenor saxophonist Bobby Jaspar was establishing a solid reputation in Europe in his late twenties as one of the finest exponents of bop and hard bop jazz in the early to mid-'50s. These recordings originally done for the French Vogue label with several different groups precede his landing in the U.S. circa 1956 before returning home. Looking back on this document, it serves as a bridge between the highly arranged California cool bop of the era and the beginnings of a transcontinental movement toward this style of modern jazz. In retrospect, Jaspar's contribution is a shining example for many other world-class European performers like Francy Boland, Lars Gullin, Fats Sadi, and Henri Renaud, who would eventually team with American expatriates such as Kenny Clarke, Jimmy Gourley, Johnny Griffin, Dexter Gordon, and Herb Geller. Here, Jaspar is based in Paris via sessions from 1953 and 1954, with mates such as Sadi, Gourley, expatriate trombonist Nat Peck, the great bassist Pierre Michelot, and pianist Maurice Vander, among others. These standards and originals are highly influenced by the Miles Davis nonet, as well as arrangers Tadd Dameron, Gerry Mulligan, and Gigi Gryce, in the organizing of instruments that reflect the hard-charging swing and intricate, precisely arranged music in America at the time. With the first session recorded in May of 1953, Jaspar fronts a sextet with Sadi, Renaud, and Gourley, doing a rather patriotic to swinging version of "Strike Up the Band," a calypso take of "La Fin d'un Roman d'Amour" (The End of a Love Affair), and the romping bop original "Black Horse." A quintet minus Sadi from November of 1953 does three other selections, including the classic and economical J.J. Johnson bop flag waver "Capri" with lots of guitar from the excellent Gourley, the midtempo swinger "Schabooz," and the outstanding Latin to bop "Up in Qunicy's Room" sporting a most memorable melody line. The remainder of the tracks were done in October of 1954 with the larger ensembles, as Peck's trombone stands out front and center during "Caroline" in a nonet. Sideways harmonics of the rich and thin "Sweet and Lovely," the arranged single-note accents during "Kaba-Soutra," and the conversational "Paradoxe" comprise definitive work from Jasper's septet. Sadi's vibraphone brings a more vintage feel à la Lionel Hampton as "Early Wake" is the best moment for the nine-piece ensemble, while dotted eighth notes identify "Jeux de Quartes" in a definitive West Coast California cool school replication. Jaspar himself is relaxed and efficacious, playing first solos in a style unmistakably similar to Stan Getz, with touches of Lester Young fading away, and the aural visage of Sonny Rollins entering the fray. It's easy to understand why his style was so universally praised as he was developing his own personal voicings at this time. Jaspar also performed on the flute, an aspect of his musicianship not covered on these recordings. Because of the ease with which all of these musicians work together in symmetry and harmony, and given the truly outstanding contributions from Gourley in particular and Sadi or Renaud secondarily, this is a precious document of modern jazz music. It comes with a most high recommendation as one of Jaspar's best works, also considering that he would pass away but a mere decade later in New York City, short of his 40th birthday.