Maurice Vander started as a jazz pianist in 1950, playing at Club Saint Germain, where he had replaced Eddie Bernard. He then left for military service. On his return fourteen months later, he played with Roger Guérin, and later with Bobby Jaspar, with whom he went to Tahiti in 1952 to stay for a year, playing middlejazz in outdoor dances.
In 1953, he returned to Paris to work with Django Reinhardt (with whom he made his first record), then with Clifford Brown. He also recorded with Jimmy Raney, played with Aimé Barelli, and then joined André Ekyan’s group at Maxim’s. “Then I had the opportunity to record with Henri Crolla, and then under my own name for Vega when the label was just starting out; in 1955-56 I toured with Chet Baker in Europe, and then Stéphane Grappelli took me to Hamburg.
“1957 was a big turning point in my life. I met Maria Vincent, a singer for whom I would become...