The first French jazzman to embrace bebop with true enthusiasm was without a doubt alto saxophonist Hubert Fol (1925-1995). He took to the new style when he was barely 20 years old, the moment he heard Charlie Parker on record, and he immediately began practicing. His prowess grew rapidly, and soon he had an opportunity to prove himself.
In the summer of 1947, he formed a sextet called “The Be-Bop Minstrels.” The name was a clear statement of the stylistic message of the group, and their avant-garde playing impressed Charles Delaunay, who invited them to record for his label, Swing. The group’s first visit to the studios took place on July 4th, and the session resulted in the first bebop sides recorded in France.
Hubert quickly became one of the most capable French bebop players, and most of the great foreign musicians who visited Europe enjoyed playing with him: Coleman Hawkins, Don Byas and Dizzy himself, in addition to Rex Stewart, John Lewis, Kenny Clarke, James Moody, Jimmy Raney and others.
Hubert Fol always had a loyal following in France. For as long as he played, from 1950 until 1964, he was ranked the number one alto saxophonist in Jazz Hot’s yearly poll, making him one of the most honored jazz musicians in France.
01. Night in Tunisia (Gillespie-Papparelli) 3:00
02. Lubie Loo (Jack Carmen) 2:54
03. Swinging at Lutetia (Alan Jeffreys) 2:48
04. Making Be-Bop (Jack Carmen) 2:20
05. I’ve Got Be-Bop (Hubert Fol) 2:55
06. Hard to Get (Kenny Clarke) 2:13
07. Ralph Goes (Ralph Shecroun) 2:46
08. All the Things You Are (Kern-Hammerstein II) 2:44
09. Boppin' and Oilskin (Dick Collins) 2:50
10. Lover Come Back to Me (Romberg-Hammerstein II) 3:18
11. Now, Cut Out (Jimmy Davis) 2:40
12. Lover Man (Davis-Ramirez-Sherman) 3:09
13. Indiana (Miles Davis) 5:30
14. Love in the Sun (Hubert Fol) 2:46
15. Iambic Pentameter (Epistrophy) (Kenny Clarke) 2:34
16. Assy Pan Assy (Hubert Fol) 2:38
17. Robbin's Nest (Charles Thompson) 3:15
18. Blues 1950 (Aimé Barelli) 5:06
19. Everything Happens to Me (Dennis-Adair) 5:05
01. This Fol-ish Thing (Hubert Fol) 2:40
02. These Foolish Things (Marvel-Strachey-Link) 3:12
03. Out of Nowhere (Green-Heyman) 2:55
04. Lonely Moments (Mary Lou Williams) 2:50
05. Death of the Octopus (Raymond Fol) 3:21
06. Ivory Black, Part 1 (Raymond Fol) 2:44
07. Ivory Black, Part 2 (Raymond Fol) 2:32
08. Half Nelson (Miles Davis) 4:56
09. I'll Remember April (Raye-DePaul) 5:18
10. Yardbird Suite (Charlie Parker) 5:03
11. A Fine Romance (Kern-Fields) 3:20
12. They Can't Take that Away from Me (G. & I. Gershwin) 3:40
13. You Go to My Head (Gillespie-Coots) 5:31
14. Always (Irving Berlin) 4:00 *
15. Hallelujah (Vincent Youmans) 5:28 *
16. I Only Have Eyes for You (Warren-Dubin) 6:01 *
17. I Want to Be Happy (Youmans-Caesar) 4:15 *
18. Whispering (Rose-Schonberger-Coburn) 3:38 *
(*) Bonus Tracks
Tracks #1 & 3, Swing SW.260
Tracks #2 & 4, Swing SW.269
Tracks #5 & 8, Swing SW.278
Tracks #6 & 7, Swing unreleased
Tracks #9 & 12, Swing SW.291
Tracks #10 & 11, Swing SW.298
Track #13, “Jeunesse du Jazz” RTF broadcast
Tracks #15 & 17, Swing SW.325
Tracks #14 & 16, Swing SW.330
Track #18, Swing SW.331
Track #19, radio broadcast
Track #1 & 2, Swing SW.339
Track #3, Swing 344
Tracks #4 & 5, Swing unreleased
Tracks #6 & 7, Swing SW.355
Tracks #8-10, Philips P.77.101 L
Tracks #11-13, Barclay 45 EP 74016
Tracks #14-18, Pathe ST 1034
CD 1, tracks #1-4: Hubert Fol and His Be-Bop Minstrels
Alan Jeffreys, trumpet; Jack Carmen, trombone; Hubert Fol, alto sax; André Persiany, piano; Emmanuel Soudieux, bass; Benny Bennett, drums.
Recorded in Paris, July 4, 1947
CD 1, tracks #5-8: Hubert Fol and His Be-Bop Minstrels
Dick Collins, trumpet; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Dave Van Kriedt, tenor sax; André Persiany, piano; Georges Hadjo, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.
Recorded in Paris, March 17, 1948
CD 1, tracks #9-13: Hubert Fol and His Be-Bop Minstrels
Dick Collins, trumpet; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Michel de Villers, alto sax (added on #13); Raymond Fol, piano; Alf “Totole” Masselier, bass; Richie Frost, drums.
Recorded in Paris, November 15 [9-12], November 28 , 1948
CD 1, tracks #14-17: Hubert Fol and His Be-Bop Minstrels
Nat Peck, trombone; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Bernard Peiffer, piano; Jean Bouchety, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.
Recorded in Paris, October 29, 1949
CD 1, track #18: All Star Français after the 1950 “Jazz-Hot” Référendum
Aimé Barelli, trumpet; Benny Vasseur, trombone; Hubert Rostaign, clarinet; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Jean-Claude Fohrenbach, tenor sax; Michel de Villers, baritone sax; Leo Chauliac, piano; Geo Daly, vibes; Jean Bouchety, bass; Roger Paraboschi, drums; Jo Bartel, vocals.
Recorded in Paris, December 15, 1949
CD 1, track #19: Hubert Fol Quartet
H.Fol, alto sax; Raymond Fol, piano; Pierre Michelot, bass; Pierre Lemarchand, drums.
Recorded live at unidentified location, Paris, 1950
CD 2, tracks #1-3: Hubert Fol and His Be-Bop Minstrels
Hubert Fol, alto sax; Raymond Fol, piano; Pierre Michelot, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.
Recorded in Paris, March 3, 1950
CD 2, tracks #4-7: Raymond Fol and His Orchestra
Christian Bellest, Guy Lognon, trumpets; Nat Peck, Bernard Zacharias, Benny Vasseur, trombones; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Raymond Fol, piano & arranger; Pierre Michelot, Roger Dagneres, bass; Roger Paraboschi, drums.
Recorded in Paris, June 28, 1950
CD 2, tracks #8-9: Hubert Fol-Sacha Distel Quintet
Hubert Fol, alto sax; Sacha Distel, guitar; René Urtreger, piano; Pierre Michelot, bass; Baptiste “Mac Kac” Reilles, drums.
Recorded live at the Apollo Théâtre, Paris 12, 1954
CD 2, track #10: Hubert Fol Sextet
Christian Bellest, trumpet; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Jay Cameron, baritone sax; René Urtreger, piano; Benoit Quersin, bass; Jean-Louis Viale, drums.
Recorded live at the Apollo Théâtre, Paris 12, 1954
CD 2, tracks #11-13: Hubert Fol Quartet
Hubert Fol, alto sax; René Urtreger, piano; Jean-Marie-Ingrand, bass; Jean-Louis Viale, drums.
Recorded in Paris, January 11, 1956
CD 2, Bonus tracks #14-18: Moustache and His Jazz Seven
Guy Longnon, trumpet; Benny Vasseur, trombone; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Geo Daly, vibes; Raymond Fol, piano; Roland Bianchini, bass; Moustache, drums.
Recorded in Paris, 1954
Swing recordings produced by Charles Delaunay
Philips recordings produced by André Francis & Marcel Romano
Barclay recordings supervised by André Francis
Pathe recordings / uncredited producer
Tracks 13 & 19 from concerts produced by Charles Delaunay
Booklet liner notes: Jordi Pujol
This CD release produced by Jordi Pujol
Thanks to Yves Sportis at Jazz-Hot and Christian Dangleterre
Hi Fi · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
"Even the most ardent jazz fan may not know of how strong the bebop movement was in post WWII Paris. Usually, sounds from Sidney Bechet or Django Reinhardt are associated with the French jazz scenet, but alto saxist Hubert Fol was one of the first European musicians to get the Charlie Parker bug, and he puree’d it into his own style with likeminded artists such as Raymond Fol-Andre’ Persiany-Rene Urtreger/p, Pierre Michelot/b, and ex pat protobopper Kenny Clarke to create a Gaullic interpretation of modern jazz. This two disc set, with intriguing annotation and studio listings, covers Fol’s recordings from 1947-54, and it is a fascinating collection of the steaming sounds that came out of the Left Bank.
Hubert Fol’s alto has a sweeter sound than his inspiration Parker, yet still steaming hot like an early morning baguette in settings ranging from quartets to tentets, mixing bebop standards with originals. With Alan Jeffreys or Dick Collins on the trumpet, the band sizzles with the leader on “Night in Tunisia” and “Boppin’ and Oilskin” while the team does a gorgeously relaxed intro to “Lover Come Back to Me.” Sparks fly during “I’ve Got Be-Bop” and sway during “Robbin’s Nest.”
Fol gets time in the spotlight during quartet sessions with brother Raymond/p, Pierre Michelot/b and Pierre Lemarchand/dr on a dreamy “Everything Happens to Me,” “These Foolish Things” and “Out of Nowhere” mixing modern sounds with a suave tone while floating like a smoke ring during “You Go to My Heard,” whereas he windsurfs through a breezy “I’ll Remember April.”
The team flexes their collective muscles on a quintet read of “Half Nelson” and a richly arranged two parter “Ivory BlacK” while pieces such as “I Only Have Eyes For You” and “Always” with Fol as a sideman are rich bon mots. While bebop and the subsequent genres in its wake have been with us to this very day, there was something about the first generation of boppers that delivered the message with excitement and commitment of discovery, like the difference between hearing tales of heroes of the past and actually living during the time of Sir Lancelot. This one is going to surprise you with how modern these guys sound; no hint of imitation as much as inspiration."
George W. Harris (June 25, 2018)