Piano Jazz · Trio Sessions (2 LP on 1 CD)
  • Vega V45 P1611
    Vega V45 P1611
  • Vega V45 P1613
    Vega V45 P1613
  • Vega V35 M721
    Vega V35 M721
  • Bel Air 7025
    Bel Air 7025
  • Musidisc CV 1180
    Musidisc CV 1180
  • Maurice Vander (A.k.a. Steve Anderson)
    Maurice Vander (A.k.a. Steve Anderson)

Maurice Vander

Piano Jazz · Trio Sessions (2 LP on 1 CD)

Fresh Sound Records

Maurice Vander (p), Benoit Quersin, Pierre Michelot (b), Jacques David, Kenny Clarke (d)

Reference: FSRCD 974

Bar code: 8427328609746

Maurice Vander (1929-2017) epitomizes the golden age of 1950s Paris, when clubs and cabarets where full of live jazz—and many other things, too. His debut as a jazz pianist came in early 1948, and it wasn’t long until he started playing as a sideman with such greats as Django Reinhardt, Don Byas, Bobby Jaspar, Clifford Brown, and Jimmy Raney. It took him a few years, but in the fall of 1955, he was finally offered to record under his own name, leading a trio with Benoît Quersin and Jacques David. The result was an album of standards highlighting all the best sides of Vander’s style: his clear and delicate attack, round sound, intelligent  inspiration and flawless technique.

His work on piano became much in demand, and could be heard in groups led by Chet Baker, Joe Newman, Stéphane Grappelly, Barney Wilen, Kenny Clarke, Art Simmons and Sarah Vaughan. In 1960, after two years touring the Middle East, Vander returned to Paris to work at the Blue Note club, where he formed a trio with Pierre Michelot and Kenny Clarke. Their repertoire was based on well-known standards, and even though the trio did not usually play originals, their recordings show Vander at his best, relying on his talents as an improviser, and proving that he was a swinging pianist capable of communicating gentle warmth and reflective tenderness with equal aplomb.

Even though he may not have had the virtuosity of Martial Solal, the sensitivity of René Urtreger, or the versatility of Georges Arvanitas, Maurice Vander displayed an ability, like no other, to sustain interest without unnecessary harmonic complexity, and without straying unnecessarily far from the melody. He was 87 when he died, and he will be remembered by generations of musicians as one of the most esteemed French pianists in the history of jazz.

01. Pennies from Heaven (Rodgers-Hart) 3:29
02. I'll Remember April (Johnston-Raye-De Paul) 3:29
03. The Nearness of You (Carmichael-Washington) 3:25
04. Strike Up the Band (Gershwin-Gershwin) 2:19
05. How About You? (Lane-Freed) 2:33
06. There Will Never Be Another You (Warren-Gordon) 3:07
07. Everything Happens to Me (Dennis-Brent) 4:18
08. Get Happy (Arlen-Koehler) 2:22
09. Fascinating Rhythm (Gershwin-Gershwin) 2:42
10. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers-Hart) 3:08
11. One Bass Hit (Brown-Fuller-Gillespie) 1:55
12. Autumn in New York (Vernon Duke) 3:14
13. Cheek to Cheek (Irving Berlin) 1:59
14. Embraceable You (Gershwin-Gershwin) 2:20
15. A Star Fell on Alabama (Perkins-Parish) 2:47
16. Because of You (Wilkinson-Hammerstein) 1:58
17. Stella by Starlight (Young-Washington) 2:53
18. Love For Sale (Cole Porter) 2:29
19. Our Love Is Here to Stay (Gershwin-Gershwin) 2:42
20. Night and Day (Cole Porter) 2:43
21. Dream (Johnny Mercer) 2:10
22. Mack the Knife (Weill-Brecht) 2:41
23. Over the Rainbow (Arlen-Harburg) 3:21
24. My Funny Valentine (Rodgers-Hart) 2:12
25. Body and Soul (Green-Heyman-Sour-Eyton) 2:51
26. Ebb Tide (Robert Maxwell) 2:33

Album details

Total time: 72:39 min.

Tracks #1-8, from the 10” LP “Piano Jazz” (Vega V35 M721)
Tracks #2,5,7 & 8 also on the 7” EP Vega V45 P1613
Tracks #9-12, from the 7” EP Vega V45 P1611
Tracks #13-26, issued as Steve Anderson “Piano for Dance” (Bel Air 7025)
Subsequently reissued on Musidisc CV 1180

Personnel on #1-12:
Maurice Vander, piano; Benoit Quersin, bass; Jacques David, drums.
Recorded in Paris 1955 [#1-8] and February 2, 1956 [#9-12]

Personnel on #13-26:
Maurice Vander, piano; Pierre Michelot, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.
Recorded in Paris, 1961

Liner notes: Jordi Pujol
This compilation produced for CD release by Jordi Pujol

Mono / Stereo · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
Blue Moon Producciones Discograficas S.L.

Press reviews

"I’m sure I’m not the only person who has never heard of Maurice Vander before, but I am so glad Fresh Sound has introduced us at last. Vander (1929–2017) epitomised 1950s Paris jazz, where a club and cabaret pianist could make a stylish impression.

Vander made his debut in 1948 and was soon playing with Django Reinhardt, Clifford Brown, and Bobby Jaspar, his recording debut as leader – tracks (1) – occurring in 1955 when he was supported by a trio of Benoît Quersin on bass and Jacques David on drums. He was soon in great demand to support visiting musicians such as Chet Baker and Sarah Vaughan, as well as working with home-grown talent such as Stéphane Grappelly and Barney Wilen.

He toured the Middle East for two years before returning to Paris in 1960, where he worked at the Blue Note club, this time with a trio of Pierre Michelot on bass and the expat bebop drummer Kenny Clarke, caught here live but without an audience on tracks (3) from 1961.

With both trios, Vander played only standards, each one showcasing his characteristically clear yet delicate attack, his easy-on-the-ear sound, and flawless technique. His improvisations were inspired, his effortless swing capable of communicating both great warmth and a reflective tenderness. True, he didn’t stray far from the melody, but he always sustained interest without any great harmonic complexity. He didn’t have the virtuosity of, say, his contemporary Martial Solal or the sensitivity of René Utreger, but he had his own stylish integrity.

In total he recorded a total of 20 albums as leader and more than 70 as a sideman, latterly playing with French pop stars and regularly working as a studio artist. When he eventually died in 2017, aged 88, he was fondly remembered as one of the most esteemed French pianists of his generation. This fine set – an object lesson in how to reissue recently neglected material – is a fitting tribute."

Simon Adams (May 9, 2019)

"Fresh Sound poursuit la réédition des mines enregistrées en France dans les années 1950-60, c'est à dire au cours d'un âge d'or. Maurice Vander (1929-2017) fut chez nous un incontournable sur lequel nous avons écrit l'essentiel dans Jazz Hot nº679 (printemps 2017). A son propos, le livret est très bien documenté. Disons que Maurice Vander a fait ses débuts de pianiste de jazz en 1948. Il a une activité de sideman étoffée pour Noël Chiboust, Hubert Rostaing, Django Reinhardt, Don Byas, Pierre Gossez, Bobby Jaspar, Clifford Brown, Jimmy Raney, Fats Sadi, Aimé Barelli et Tony Proteau avant de se lancer comme leader et en 1955 enregistrer ces premiers disques sous son nom. Nous avons là 26 titres, tous des standards, dont deux versions de «My Funny Valentine» (exercice obligé à l'époque et personne ne s'en plaignait) qui sont la réédition du LP Jazz Piano (Véga V35 M721), du 45 tours Véga V45P1611, du LP Piano for Dance sous le nom de Steve Anderson (Bel Air 7025/Musidisc CV 1180). Ce CD peut avoir une utilité pédagogique pour montrer l'approche bop issue de George Shearing («Everything Happens to Me», 1955) et surtout de Bud Powell («Strike Up the Band», «How About You?», 1955; «Over the Rainbow», 1961).

Maurice Vander compte parmi les meilleurs pianistes français de sa catégorie avec Martial Solal, René Urtreger, Bernard Peiffer, Raymond Fol, Georges Arvanitas. Il joue les ballades avec beaucoup d'élégance et de musicalité («Autumn in New York» où il n'oublie pas l'empreinte initiale d'Art Tatum; «Stella by Starlight» et «Love for Sale», brefs clins d'œil à Erroll Garner, 1961). Ses développements improvisés sont logiques servis par une élégance de phrasé et un toucher délicat. Le choix des tempos est parfait («Fascinating Rhythm» par exemple). Le piano est roi. Donc peu de solos par ses complices: Benoît Quersin dans «Pennies From Heaven», Pierre Michelot et Kenny Clarke dans «Mack the Knife», une alternative avec Jacques David dans «Strike Up the Band» et une très courte avec Kenny Clarke dans «Night and Day». Evidemment, la séance de 1961, très bien enregistrée, nous monte d'un cran. Elle permet aussi d'apprécier les lignes de basse rondes de Pierre Michelot et le drumming d'exception de Kenny Clarke («Cheek to Cheek», «Love for Sale», «Dream», etc). Cette équipe fut enregistrée sous le pseudonyme de Steve Anderson pour toucher un public plus large d'où cette couleur à la Erroll Garner que Vander adjoint judicieusement à son jeu pour notre bonheur. Cette séance avec Clarke et Michelot rend cette réédition indispensable. Si un seul disque de Maurice Vander est souhaité, celui-ci fera l'affaire."

—Michel Laplace © Jazz Hot 2019


9,95 €  (tax incl.)

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