Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Henri Crolla - Begin the Beguine

When the encores were over that April 4th 1954, and the curtain at the "Théâtre de l'Etoile" finally came down to hide Yves Montand from the standing ovations of his audience, one of the great moments in Music Hall history had come to a close. It had been a series of two hundred recitals, a record unbeatable and unbeaten. Montand was to move on to something else : starting that October, he began rehearsing the role of John Proctor for Arthur Miller's play "The Witches of Salem".
Those who'd accompanied him in concert, his "family" — those whom Simone Signoret christened "Le Jazz Band" in her autobiography, Nostalgia Isn't What It used To Be — wouldn't meet up again until December 1956, during Montand's tour of the ex-U.S.S.R. During the interval, Henri Crolla would record almost all his personal work as a jazz musician... As early as May 1954 he was in the "Club St-Germain", escorted by two other members of "Le Jazz Band", bassist Emmanuel Soudieux, and drummer Roger Paraboschi. Alongside them were Maurice Meunier, Géo Daly, and someone who was almost a ghost from the past, Stéphane Grappelli : "The Club ? Fireworks every night ! I'd joined Henri Crolla's group on piano and violin. The astmospgere and the ambiance in that club gave me the feeling that I was going to have a good time, not going to work at all !" wrote Django's old partner in his memoirs, With only My Violin. Crolla had been Yves Montand's guitarist since 1948, which made it difficult for absent-minded ears to realise that "Millipede", as Prévert had nicknamed him, was one of the finest jazz players around. "I would like to state clearly here that Crolla should henceforward be considered one of the greatest jazz musicians that France has produced, one of those who honour our "French school", as Charles Delaunay says". The sentence, pronounced by André Hodeir, appeared in the May, 1946 issue of Jazz Hot... and Hodeir would have been very surprised indeed to learn that a good many innocuous films would be saved from oblivion a decade later, thanks to the soundtracks on which they'd collaborated. For the first time being, the Véga label, which had exclusive contracts with André Dassary, Gus Viseur and the Etienne Sisters, made a proposal to Crolla to do a series sof albums. Naturally the guitarist sent out a call to his friends from the Club St-Germain, all of them skilled musicians who paid little heed to current fashion : Maurice Meunier, the best of the modern clarinettists ; Géo Daly, a wonderful vibraphone-player ; the loyal Emmanuel Soudieux ; Martial Solal, Maurice Vander and René Urtreger, who alternated on piano ; and Jacques David, who picked up the drums when Roger Paraboschi left to join Aimé Barelli's group. Modestly, even though he had no equal when writing a melody, only one of his own compositions was recorded, "Alembert's"...
Alain Tercinet, from the liner notes

Henri Crolla
Begin the Beguine
(Jazz in Paris, 1955)


1 Mon Homme/C'est Mon Gigolo (Brammer, Casucci)  3:06
2 Stardust (Carmichael, Parish)  3:17
3 Sonny Boy (Brown, DeSylva, Henderson)  2:48
4 The Man I Love (Gershwin, Gershwin)  3:29
5 If I Loved You (Hammerstein, Rodgers)  2:38
6 Begin the Beguine (Porter)  3:11
7 Little White Lies (Donaldson)  2:30
8 I'm in the Mood for Love (Fields, McHugh)  2:39
9 There's a Small Hotel (Hart, Rodgers)  3:52
10 Lullaby of Birdland (Shearing, Weiss)  3:44
11 Body and Soul (Eyton, Green, Heyman, Sour)  5:41
12 Alembert's (Crolla)  2:37
13 The Continental (Conrad, Magidson)  3:40
14 All the Things You Are (Hammerstein, Kern)  3:03
15 If I Had You (Campbell, Connelly, Shapiro)  3:28
16 These Foolish Things (Link, Marvell, Strachey)  4:04


Henri Crolla - g
Maurice Meunier - cl [# 12-16]
Géo Daly - vib [# 9-16]
Lalos Bing (aka Martial Solal] - p
Georges Arvanitas - p [# 9-16]
Emmanuel Soudieux - b
Jacques David - dr

Recorded in Paris ; 1955


Blue Eyes said...

A great album ! Thanks Holy Melanchthon !

Greeting from Paris !

Anonymous said...

Thanks a lot Melan..
I appreciated it!

jpo said...

wow--before you i hadn't even heard of henri crolla--now i have a collection of his stuff!

aqua said...

your only default is to be mute (no good english maybe?) but musically you rule! your selection makes your blog one of the best, merci beaucoup mec

Frasco said...

Merci melanchthon!

Kovina Kris said...

Another new player to me. Thank you!

Zorn said...

Thank you!

Melanchthon said...

deGallo said...

Wonderful music! Thank you.

Historicus said...

Hic manebimus optime!
Thrilling music

Rodney said...

Thank you, mel

ProfessorCalculus said...


Anonymous said...

Thank you, Mel.

Fred Archtop said...

Merci Mel. Henri était un poète.

Anonymous said...

Merci !


AmyBRAINS said...

Great, Melanchthon.
Many, many thanks.

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You