Low Reed - Complete Small Group Sessions 1949-1956
  • Swing SW. 239 Swing SW. 239
  • Decca EFS 450.511 Decca EFS 450.511
  • Ducretet Thomson 250V001 Ducretet Thomson 250V001
  • Michel de Villers Michel de Villers

Michel de Villers

Low Reed - Complete Small Group Sessions 1949-1956

Fresh Sound Records

Personnel:
Michel de Villers (as, bs), Claude Dunson (tp), Charles Verstraete (tb), Hubert Fol, André 'Teddy' Hameline (as), Jean-Claude Fohrenbach, Maurice Meunier, André de Bonneville (ts), André Persiany, Jacques Denjean (p), Geo Daly (vib), Jean Bonal, Harry Montaggioni (g), Georges Hadjo, Alf 'Totole' Masselier, Alix Bret (b), André Baptiste 'Mac-Kac' Reilles (d, vcl), Georges Martinon, Bernard Planchenault, Roger Paraboschi, Paul Rovere, Kenny Clarke (d)

Reference: FSRCD 951

Bar code: 8427328609517

Michel de Villers (1926-1992) was one of the most influential French reed players in modern jazz, known by most of his fellow musicians by his nickname: “Low reed.” From a very young age, de Villers excelled on alto sax and clarinet. After gaining the attention of fans and musicians as an amateur, he was hired by Django in 1946. Shortly afterwards he began recording as a leader, improvising with cohesive drive and swinging passion, with a clear tone and vocabulary straight from the leading swing alto players—Benny Carter, Willie Smith and Johnny Hodges.

Looking to achieve a more modern sound, he adopted the baritone as his main instrument in 1949, swinging authoritatively with a muscular fullness of tone, but with the initial fierceness of his attack tempered by the cool influence, of Bird first, and Mulligan later. His skill as a soloist and improviser put him among the best European baritonists when Jazz-Hot awarded him from 1950 onwards first place in their annual readers’ poll. This led to calls from American jazzmen on their way through Paris. His fame spread to the United States when in 1956 he was voted one of the best new baritone players by the Down Beat international critics’ poll.

This CD set contains all his small-group recording sessions as a leader during his most prolific years (1946-1956). The way he makes his sounds swing so naturally may lead one to believe that perhaps others possessed better technique or ideas; but the truth is few surpassed Michel de Villers in soul and feeling. In his own words: “I get bored deeply when it does not swing.”


Tracklisting:
01. How High the Moon (Morgan Lewis) 2:58
02. Sweet Lorraine (Parish-Burwell) 2:42
03. Shufflin' at the Hollywood (Lionel Hampton) 2:48
04. Blues at Eleven (Michel de Villers) 2:51
05. Lover Man (Davis-Sherman-Ramírez) 3:10
06. The Small Bag (Michel de Villers) 2:45
07. I'm Sorry (Michel de Villers) 3:04
08. Working Eyes (Tyree Glenn) 2:58
09. Stuffy (Coleman Hawkins) 2:49
10. I Surrender Dear (Barris-Clifford) 3:27
11. Fisher's Wife (Michel de Villers) 3:55
12. I Can't Get Started (Vernon Duke) 3:33
13. Over the Rainbow (Arlen-Harburg) 4:23
14. Indiana (MacDonald-Hanley) 4:03
15. Let's Try Again (Michel de Villers) 3:28
16. 'Round Midnight (Thelonious Monk) 4:14
17. These Foolish Things (Marvell-Strachey) 2:42
18. Cat on the Stairs (Michel de Villers) 2:04
19. I Only Have Eyes for You (Warren-Dubin) 2:15
20. Penitas de amor (Claude P. Armand Artur, aka “Arture”) 2:33
21. Somebody Loves Me (Gershwin-MacDonald-DeSylva) 2:30
22. Portrait of Django (Jean-Pierre Sasson) 2:28
23. Happy Flying Carpet (Michel de Villers) 3:00
24. Don't Blame Me (McHugh-Fields) 3:14

Sources:
Tracks #1 & 3, from Swing SW. 239
Tracks #2 & 4, from Swing SW. 246
Tracks #5 & 6, from Swing SW. 276
Track #7, from Swing SW. 290
Track #8, unreleased Swing recording
Track #9, from Swing SW. 282
Track # 10, from Swing SW. 290
Tracks #11-16, from "Jazz for Dance, Vol. 1" (Ducretet Thomson 250V001)
Tracks #17-20, from Decca EFS 450.511
Tracks #21-24, from Decca EFS 450.605

Personnel on tracks #1-4:
MICHEL DE VILLERS et son Quintette
Michel de Villers, alto sax; André Persiany, piano; Jean Bonal, guitar; Georges Hadjo, bass; André Baptiste “Mac-Kac” Reilles, drums, vocals on #4
On #4: Georges Martinon, drums, replaces “Mac-Kac”
Recorded in Paris, October 16, 1946

Personnel on tracks #5-7:
MICHEL DE VILLERS et son Quintette
Michel de Villers, alto sax; Jean-Claude Fohrenbach, tenor sax; André Persiany, piano; Georges Hadjo, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.
Recorded in Paris, March 12, 1948

Personnel on tracks #8-9:
MICHEL DE VILLERS et son Orchestra
Claude Dunson, trumpet; Michel de Villers, alto sax; Jean-Claude Fohrenbach, tenor sax; Jacques Denjean, piano; Harry Montaggioni, guitar; Alf “Totole” Masselier, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.
Recorded in Paris, May 5, 1948

Personnel on track #10:
MICHEL DE VILLERS et son Quintette
Michel de Villers, alto sax; Jacques Denjean, piano; Harry Montaggioni, guitar; Alf “Totole” Masselier, bass; Kenny Clarke, drums.
Recorded in Paris, May 5, 1948

Personnel on tracks #11-16:
MICHEL DE VILLERS Swingtet
Michel de Villers, alto & baritone sax; André Persiany, piano; Jacques “Popoff” Medvedko, bass; Bernard Planchenault, drums.
Recorded in Paris, Spring of 1954

Personnel on tracks #17-20:
MICHEL DE VILLERS et son Orchestra
Charles Verstraete, trombone; Hubert Fol, alto sax; Maurice Meunier, tenor sax; Michel de Villers, baritone sax; Geo Daly [as L. Jackson], vibes; André Persiany, piano, arrangements; Alix Bret, bass; Bernard Planchenault, drums.
Recorded in Paris, 1954

Personnel on tracks #21-24:
MICHEL DE VILLERS et son Orchestra
André “Teddy” Hameline, alto sax; André Debonneville, tenor sax; Michel de Villers, baritone sax; André Persiany, piano, arrangements; Paul Rovere, bass; Roger Paraboschi, drums.
Recorded in Paris, April 13, 1956

Photos from the FSR archives
Recordings compiled for CD release by Jordi Pujol

Hi Fi / Mono · 24-Bit Digitally Remastered
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Review:

"The great feature of Spain-based Fresh Sound Records is that they find obscure artists of the 50s-80s that deserve a second (or even first) listen. Here is an artist from France that show an influence of American swing and bop, but feature it in his own distinct style. The excellent liner notes give histories of the artist, putting his art into perspective of the time period.

Michel “Low Reed” de Villers played both alto and baritone sax, mixing the swoon of Johnny Hodges on the former and the warmth of Gerry Mulligan on the latter. These sessions from 1946-1956 mix hot and cool sounds in settings ranging from hip quartets to moderate sized orchestras.

On alto, de Villers’ lilting horn is drop dead gorgeous on the Old World “Blues at Eleven” and sounds like Rabbit with Bird tendencies on “How High the Moon” and “Sweet Lorraine” while dripping with passion on “Lover Man” and the ballad “I’m Sorry.” He bops with the best on “Stuffy” and is lovingly modern on “I Surrender Dear.” For his baritone sax, he sweetly swings on “Fisher’s Wife” and gets a Kansas City feel on “Indiana.” Some 1954 Orchestra settings have him in the midst of a velvety sax section, not dissimilar to Woody Herman’s “Four Brothers” Band, with soft and sensuous harmonies on “These Foolish Things” and “I Only Have Eyes For You” while showing some muscle on “Somebody Loves Me.” A discovered fresh water pearl!"

George W. Harris (April 2, 2018)
http://www.jazzweekly.com
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Price:

$13.46  (tax incl.)

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