Wednesday, August 2, 2017

The Exciting Marcel Bianchi (1945/54)

Marcel Bianchi was born in Marseille in 1911 to a Corsican family and like so many of the guitarists associated with the Quintette du Hot Club de France started playing at a very early age. By the time he was 7 years old, he was learning the mandolin and moved on to the guitar when he was 12. Although he did not have any formal tuition, he was soon playing locally in small groups and became known as "Le Mascotte". It was in the bars of Marseille that he first became interested in the Hawaiian guitar which he continued to play throughout his career. In the mid-thirties he heard Django Reinhardt and immediately began copying his style of playing which may have prompted his to move to Paris in 1937. After attracting Charles Delaunay’s attention at an amateur jazz musician competition, he was offered a job as one of the rhythm guitarists with the Hot Club Quintet partly because Louis Vola thought he might bring some stability to the group. Bianchi recorded three times with the Quintet in April, 1937 and his rhythm playing with Baro Ferret elicits very different views as to its quality. It seems he used his Carbonnel at these sessions because although, like the rest of the Quintet's guitarists, he was contracted to use a Selmer in public, he actually preferred the Carbonnel. Marcel Bianchi - Small man or enormous guitar ? Bianchi’s tenure with the Quintet was quite short since he wanted to make his mark as a soloist. He left in 1938 to begin a successful career as a free-lance guitarist playing with many of the famous Parisian jazz musicians of the day. During the War, he was conscripted, captured, escaped and finally fled to Switzerland where he began performing and recording with the Jerry Thomas Swingtette. He also obtained an electric guitar and was one of the first, if not the first, French guitarist to regularly play such an instrument. Once the War was over, he returned to Paris and began a very hectic and varied career which lasted until his retirement some forty years later.
In 1945, he formed his own Sextette for an engagement on the Champs-Elysées and began recording extensively, initially with Eddie Barclay and then with Vogue where he played his Hawaiian guitar. He also began travelling world-wide and became very popular in Eygpt; performing for King Farouk on several occasions. A successful tour of Italy and Corsica followed where he played classical guitar as part of the Tino Rossi ensembled. Upon his return to France, he joined the Jacques Helian orchesta and it was here that he met the singer Denise Varène with whom he formed a partnership which lasted throughout his career. In 1955, he and Varene left the band and began playing and recording together; travelling throughout the world to many countries including the USA and Japan. He also was engaged to play on the luxury liner "Rotterdam" for several years. During this period, Bianchi experimented with the then new technique of multi-tracking.
In the late 60's, he joined the Aimé Barelli band and stayed until 1972 when he rejoined Denise Varène to play regularly at the Carlton in Cannes. By 1988, they had both retired to Juan-les-Pins where he died on 23rd November, 1997. Marcel Bianchi was the ultimate musical chameleon. One moment, he could sound very much like Django and the next he was Charlie Christian or a South Seas musician on his Hawaiian guitar.
Much of his later playing was in the "easy listening" mould, lightweight and nondescript but always executed with exceptional technical proficiency. This lack of an identifiable individual style, greatly reduces Bianchi's standing as a guitarist of true statue. However, his recordings in the late 30's and 40's playing in the Hot Club style show that as a soloist, he was very much the equal of other, more fêted rhythm guitarists from the Quintette du Hot Club de France. Like Django, Bianchi could not stand still musically. He was keen to embrace new ideas and, in doing so, compromised his posthumous status but created the most enduring and, no doubt, commercially successful career of all the Hot Club guitarists.

Source :

Marcel Bianchi
The Exciting Electric Guitar
Marcel Bianchi



Cd. 1

Jerry Thomas Swingtet
[Bâle, mars 1945]
1 Flying Home (Goodman, Hampton, De Lange)  2:50
2 Sweet Georgia Brown (Bernie, Pinkard, Casey)  3:32

Marcel Bianchi & Son Orchestre
[Paris, 1946]
3 Sleep Town Train (Miller)  3:09
4 Clement Mixer Put-ti Put-ti (Gaillard, Reeks)  2:58

Marcel Bianchi & Son Orchestre
[Paris, mai 1950]
5 Le Vol du Bourdon (Rimsky-Korsakov)  2:58
6 Begin The Biguine (Porter) 3:07
7 I Surrender Dear (Barris, Clifford)  2:34
8 Blue Skies (Berlin)  3:12
9 My Yiddish Mome (trad.)  3:15
10 Out Of Nowhere (Green)  2:36
11 Smoke Gets In Your Eyes (Kern, Harbuck)  3:15

Marcel Bianchi & Son Orchestre
[Paris, novembre 1951]
12 Chandelles et Boogie (Bianchi)  3:02
13 Surprise Party Boogie (Bianchi)  3:31
14 Foogy Boogie (Bianchi)  2:45
15 Train’s Boogie (Bianchi)  3:11
16 Beep Boogie (Bianchi)  2:58
17 Cocotte Boogie (Bianchi)  3:31

Don Byas & Ses Rythmes
[Paris, 21 mai 1952]
18 Roses De Picardie (Wood, Weartherly)  2:59

Marcel Bianchi & Ses Rythmes
[Paris, 15 janvier 1953]
19 Maria Dolores (Garcia, Fernando)  3:25
20 Avant De Mourir (Boulanger)  2:31
21 Brazil (Barroso)  2:58
22 Perfidia (Dominguez, Cugat)  2:43
23 Granada (Lara)  2:51

Marcel Bianchi & Son Ensemble
[Paris, 20 janvier 1953]
24 Sous Les Ponts De Paris (Scotto)  2:37
25 Bing Bang Blues (Holmes)  3:20


Cd. 2

Marcel Bianchi & Son Ensemble
[Paris, printemps 1953]
1 All The Thing You Are (Kern, Hammerstein)  2:25

Marcel Bianchi & Son Ensemble
[Paris, septembre 1953]
2 Arrivederci Roma (Rascel)  3:02
3 Toi je t’aimerai (Moutet)  2:27
4 Jardins d’Andalousie (Lecuona)  2:42
5 I’m in the Mood for Love (McHugh, Fields)  2:53
6 Holiday’s Guitar (Bianchi)  2:13
7 Fumée (Bianchi)  2:39
8 Indian Summer (Herbert, Dubin)  2:44

Marcel Bianchi & Son Orchestre
[Paris, 23 février 1954]
9 Sports d’Hiver (Bianchi) 2:54

Marcel Bianchi & Son Orchestre
[Paris, 6 mai 1654]
10 Stardust (Carmichael) 3:09
11 Night & Day (Porter) 2:49
12 Body And Soul (Green, Heyman, Sauer, Heyton) 3:27
13 Laura (Raskin, Mercer) 3:04
14 September In The Rain (Warren, Dubin) 2:31
15 Embraceable You (Gershwin) 3:00
16 Love For Sale (Porter) 2:52

Marcel Bianchi, Sa Guitare & Son Ensemble
[Paris, 4 novembre 1954]
17 Frénésie (Dominguez, Whitcup) 2:17
18 Peanuts Vendor (Simmons) 2:59
19 Cielito Lindo (Mendoza) 2:42
20 La Paloma (trad.) 4:00
21 Carioca (Kahn, Eliscu, Youmans) 2:13

Marcel Bianchi, Sa Guitare & Son Ensemble
[Paris, 1er décembre 1954]
22 Temptation (Smith) 3:22
23 La Violetera (Padillo) 2:50
24 L’Homme en Noir (Alferay/Bonifay) 3:10


Denise Varène & Marcel Bianchi
[Paris, hiver 1954]
25 Ça va éclater (Mercer, Somebody)  2:24

Jacques Hélian & Son Orchestre
[Paris 5 janvier 1954]
26 Mon p’tit Fichu (Rouzaud, Cordovil)  3:05


Featuring Marcel Bianchi, Jerry Thomas, Pierre Michelot, Don Byas, Antoine Franchi, Paul Brenner, Emmanuel Soudieux, "Fats" Sadi Lallemand, Michel Ramos, Roger Paraboschi, etc...

Recorded between March, 1945 & December 1st, 1954

See the complete artwork for all details


alpax said...

Other than a few recordings with Don Byas and Django, I'm pretty unfamiliar with Marcel Bianchi. This looks like a great compilation of his earlier recordings and I look forward to checking it out. Thank you.

wouter said...

this marcel bianchi album looke VERY promising... thanks for giving me a chance to hear it, mel!

Alessandra said...

thanks i was long awaiting to find recordings from Marcel Bianchi. Unfortunately I didn't menage to open the files (tried with 7z, unarchiver, unrar) but it gives me an error message or a password is required.
did you set one?

Baruch said...

PW melanchthon

Alessandra said...

oops!.. thanks

Philo said...

Marcel Bianchi - Exciting Electric Guitar of Marcel Bianchi (1945-1954)

Yet another wonderful & astonishing jazz obscurity!

Thank you.

Kovina Kris said...

Wow, it will be great to get to know this guitarist. Thank you Mel!

deGallo said...

Thank you. Superb!

jose arboleda said...

Thank you very much for this, i have been looking so much for this recordings,.

I'm also looking for the recordings of Jack Mcduff and Bill jennigs,maybe you can also help me with this. José.

AmyBRAINS said...

Great post!
Many, many thanks, Melanchthon.

Anonymous said...

The first link of the 2nd CD is dead... :'(

Vojac said...

Hello Melanchthon!

Thank you very much for all your posts.
However in this post the first link of Cd. 2:
is broken. All the rest is working fine. Is the re-up of these one possible?

Than you any way!

Vojac said...


I grab that the next day You fix it but since then I was busy and didn't have a time to thank You again. That bothered me since then all the time. Really thanks for Your kindness and enthusiasm!

Historicus said...

great recordings, thanks a lot!!!!

Anonymous said...

Thx Mel, good music.

The Jackal said...

Mel, thanks for the continuing education.
Marcel has recently become an influence for the growing Jump Blues guitar world.
Its amazing the way threads cross over in the netsphere.
just back from la France and great to catch up with your work.

Fred Archtop said...

Thanks a million Mel.

Jazzsoulman said...

Thank You

Melanchthon said...

musician3 said...


sep troelstra said...

Thanks a lot!!

Angel said...

Gracias, amigo Mel

flyingfinger said...

Great as always! Thank you (many times over) Mel.