Fortunately for us, the festival's producer had invited the owner of Saturne Records. He dragged the group off to a studio and recorded them after their performance. Renaud's band featured Bobby Jaspar (ts), Sandy Mosse (ts), Jimmy Gourley (g), Pierre Michelot (b) and Pierre Lemarchand (d). Saturne recorded them together and broke them up into small groups for the date.
Of course, Mosse and Gourley were Americans. Gourley came to Paris earlier that year and was gigging at the Boite a Sardines (The Sardine Can), a club near the Arc de Triomphe. Mosse arrived in Paris a few months after Gourley. France didn't have much in the way of American jazz on record yet so Gourley brought over a batch of Roost and Triumph 78-rpms of Jimmy Raney, Al Cohn and others. Mosse toted Charlie Parker with Strings." [Pictured above, left to right: Hernri Renaud, Jimmy Gourley, Clara Mosse, Ny Renaud and Sandy Mosse]
Why did American musicians hang out so long in Paris? There wasn't much work in the States, Paris was comparatively inexpensive and its inhabitants' love of art and life was intoxicating and stimulating. But perhaps most important, French and Belgian jazz musicians could
What's beautiful about this session are the musicians' compelling harmonies and lyrical solos. Their agility and dexterity also are admirable. One can only conclude that French jazz artists in the 1950slike those in Britainreally haven't been given their proper due for their prowess and contribution. The soulful, poetic approach to jazz by musicians in Paris had a certain hipness and grace that rubbed off on Americans who lingered there.
The French jazz experience is clearly worthy of further study. For now, Henri Renaud's Saturne sessions offer us a snapshot of musicians' uncertain of jazz's future but eager to hedge their bets.
JazzWax tracks: This album doesn't seem to be in print on CD or available as a download. The CD is out there but at ghastly prices. Hopefully a label like Fresh Sound will re-issue this material. It's tremendously important.