Click on the link here for Audio Player – Jerry Mengo et son Orchestre – Un Ciel Bleu en Hiver – 1953 – Ducretet-Thomson Records
Continuing our archeological dig through piles of shellac this weekend, and probably next week too. Tonight it’s a taste of what French Jazz and Big Band were up to during the years after World War 2. France was a hotbed of Jazz activity going back to the days of World War 1 when Black American troops introduced it to Parisian audiences, and the lifelong love-affair began. Paris became a mecca for American Jazz musicians, and French Jazz musicians were coming up with their own ideas. It was, as many would attest, an amazing melting pot of musical cultures and exchanges.
So as the influence of Cool School and West Coast Jazz in the U.S. spread eastward, many French bands jumped at the opportunity to add their two cents to the pioneering sounds of Stan Kenton, Claude Thornhill, Miles Davis and so many others in the post Big-Band boom.
Jerry Mengo was a drummer who worked with Django Reinhardt and many other French Jazz notables in the 1930s and 1940s. He put together his band in the late 1940s. Over the years his style had changed and got very commercial, but in the early 1950s there was a definite swing in the direction of New Concepts. The result was this single, issued as a 78 in 1953, and I’m not sure if it was issued in any other form. Un Ciel Bleu en Hiver is an homage to the Big Band sound so much a part of the 1940s, but with an updated point of view that gives the solid nod to Kenton.
Give a listen – more evidence good ideas are picked up and spread all over the world – and music is definitely one of them.
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