Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Big Band

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Big Band (CBBB) was a big band of modern jazz . It was created in 1961 on the initiative of Gigi Campi around the American drummer Kenny Clarke and the Belgian pianist and arranger Francy Boland, initially as a pure studio formation in Cologne and existed until 1972. Initially the big band consisted of 13 musicians, and later 21 was internationally recruited she was one of the innovative big bands of the 1960s, gave 221 concerts and can be heard on more than 20 albums.


The namesake core of the big band were Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland. Clarke was one of the co-founders of the Modern Jazz Quartet , with whom he performed on November 6, 1957 in Gürzenich , Cologne . After the concert in Cologne, through the mediation of the jazz producer and impresario Gigi Campi, he met Boland, who was arranging for the Kurt Edelhagen orchestra at the time .

As early as 1959, Campi engaged a jazz combo led by Kenny Clarke and Francy Boland for a carnival evening in his ice cream parlor on Cologne's Hohe Strasse . Campi also produced this Francy Boland ensemble when it made its first recordings in April 1961 with sound engineer Wolfgang Hirschmann in the Elektrola studio, in which both musicians were named ("Kenny Clarke, Francy Boland and Company - The Golden 8"). In addition to Boland and Clarke, the musicians Carl Drewo , Dusko Goykovich , Derek Humble , Christian Kellens , Raymond Droz and Jimmy Woode were involved . Not Electrola released the LP, but Alfred Lions Blue Note Records . In 1961 further recordings were made with octets.

Studio productions

In December 1961 Campi wanted to make a big band album arranged by Francy Boland with Billie Poole , since the singer already had a club guest appearance in Cologne with Kenny Clarke, Lou Bennett and Jimmy Gourley . Campi formed the band; Benny Bailey (trumpet), Derek Humble (saxophone) and Åke Persson (trombone) took over the key positions as sentence leader . But before the scheduled studio appointment, Poole had to leave unexpectedly. Boland rewrote the arrangements as purely instrumental pieces, and Campi recorded the seven pieces in just four hours with the musicians who were to play alongside Poole; he was able to release the album as Jazz Is Universal on Atlantic Records .

On 25/26 January 1963 they were back in the studio for the LPs Handle With Care and Now Hear Our Meanin ' . The Clarke and Boland team also supported other formations in the following years, such as the Johnny Griffin Quartet (LP Night Lady ; February 13, 1964) or Sahib Shihab (LP Summer Dawn ; May 8, 1964). Both were also members of the Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Big Band . It was also active in the sextet. In February 1966 the big band met again to record the album Swing, Waltz, Swing for the Twen series by Philips , in which Carl Drewo was featured (this record also contains arrangements by Bora Roković ).

It was not until 1967 that productions increased: on April 15, 1967, the band with 16 musicians recorded the LP Jazz Convention Vol. II (in the Rhenus Studios in Cologne-Godorf ). The band went to Brussels for the follow-up LP Flirt and Dream (on May 28, 1967). The LP Sax no End followed on June 18, 1967 in the Rhenus studio with the two tenor saxophonists Johnny Griffin and Eddie Lockjaw Davis . On July 31, 1967, the idea for the LP Out of the Folk Bag was to write jazz arrangements for traditional folk music pieces. For the recordings for the LP Jazz-Convention Vol. I , which was released by Keith Prose, the band met again on August 26, 1967 in Cologne.

The band had two drummers since the summer of 1967, in addition to the Afro-American bebop legend Kenny Clarke, who had revolutionized jazz drums in the 1950s, the British Kenny Clare . In the opinion of Joachim Ernst Berendt he complemented “Clarke's musicality and sense of style in a captivating way through professional reliability.” Boland wrote arrangements and compositions for the band, although he gave the soloists freedom, but determined the musical processes more strongly than in the Big band scene was common. These arrangements were then considered the "most traditional contemporary big band arrangements".

Many well-known US jazz musicians of the bebop generation played in the formation, e. B. the saxophonists Johnny Griffin, Herb Geller and Sahib Shihab or the bass player Jimmy Woode. They were complemented by well-known European musicians such as the Swedish trombonist Åke Persson, the Turkish trumpeter Maffy Falay , his German colleague Manfred Schoof and the British saxophonists Ronnie Scott and Derek Humble. The band proved to be "musically clearly superior to the Kurt Edelhagen orchestra, with which there were numerous personal overlaps."

The Sketches from the ›Faces‹ suite was again leveled at Electrola on December 14, 1967, as was the next Selections From Guyson's Session in 1967 (December 15, 1967), which was not published until 1993. The LP All Smiles (May 13-14, 1968). Faces "with musical short portraits of all band members", however, was created on 28/29. June 1968 in the Sonopress Studios in Cologne. Studios in Rome were rented on July 17, 1968 for the LP More . The album Jazz-Convention Vol. III was recorded again on August 1, 1968 in Cologne. Lady Heavy Bottoms Waltz (August 27, 1968) and Latin Caleidoscope (August 28/29, 1968) followed at short intervals. The album Fellini 7 1/2 was established on 2 and 3 December 1968. After two live albums followed on 27 May 1969 in Cologne studio LP All Blues , a day later they stood for LP More Smiles again before the Microphones. The next studio LP of the jazz formation was At Her Majesty's Pleasure on September 5, 1969 (Electrola Studios). In 1968 Hirschmann came up with the idea of ​​bringing the Danish pop singer Gitte Hænning together with Boland in order to fulfill her wish for jazz recordings. The LP My Kind of World (later published under Out of this World ) was created on August 13, 1968 in the Electrola studio, with which she surprised the audience as an outstanding jazz vocalist.

On September 30, 1970, the LP Off Limits was recorded in the Cornet Studios in Cologne ; next album from this studio was the album Change of Scenes from June 14, 1971 with guest star Stan Getz , which was released by Verve . On January 14, 1972, 2 titles were created here, which first appeared on the CD Our Kinda Strauss (June 1998). In 1970 Gigi Campi had the idea to bring the CBBB together with Carmen McRae. On November 3rd, the Lansdowne Studios in London made the record entitled "November Girl", but it wasn't released until 1975.


The intensive recording activity led to LP releases, which initially remained the only medium. After five years of pure studio activity, Joachim Ernst Berendt invited the band for the first time on June 10, 1966, to perform publicly in the Mainz Liederhalle as part of the SWF jazz session. A concert in Prague followed on October 22, 1967, where the enthusiastic audience forced an hour-long extension. On February 4 and 28, 1968, the big band made their first guest appearance at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club in London. Despite the snowstorm, the opening concert in London's Royal Festival Hall attracted 3,000 spectators in February 1969, followed by two more concerts on February 11, 1969 at Ronnie Scott's Jazz Club. The club belonged to tenor saxophonist Ronnie Scott, who had been a permanent member of the Clarke / Boland Big Band since January 1963. With a capacity of 384 spectators, 927 fans crowded into the London club; the recordings were split between the live albums Volcano and Rue Chaptal . which were released in the same year. The formation's tours took them to the Berlin Jazz Days on November 6, 1970 . On May 5, 1972 they gave their last concert in the Meistersingerhalle in Nuremberg .

Record labels

For a long time the local record industry had no interest in the band. Although it was mostly recorded in the Electrola studios, other record labels took over the distribution, often changing at short notice. The labels changed frequently: Atlantic Records, Columbia Records , Philips, Polydor , Verve, SABA , MPS or Black Lion Records . The album Sax No End (June 1967) was distributed by Hans Georg Brunner-Schwers label SABA, which was renamed MPS in January 1968. The band was able to release three more albums on MPS from May 1968, the focus of which, at Brunner-Schwer's request, was again on the saxophone setting, the first one on 13/14. All Smiles recorded in May 1968 . But MPS was only able to organize a sales network slowly in Europe, not at all in the USA. According to Donald Clarke, that was the reason why the Clarke / Boland Big Band was almost unknown in the USA despite its excellent image; On the other hand, however, the American journal Down Beat commissioned Mike Hennessey to make a portrait of the band as early as 1966 . In the CD age Campi released numerous new recordings by the orchestra or for the first time in their own edition.

Big band disbanded

Alto saxophonist Derek Humble was there from the start, but was so badly injured in a fight in Cologne after August 1968 that he could no longer fully perceive his part in the band. Although he was still involved in recordings and performances, the recordings for the LP November Girl (London, November 3, 1970) were his last for the band. Humble, whose health was ailing, made his last appearance with the band on November 6, 1970 at the Berlin Jazz Days . Tony Coe , who had joined the band for the Austrian tenor saxophonist Carl Drewo, took over Humble's place as set leader.

After twelve years of productive studio activity with 24 albums, the Clarke-Boland Big Band disbanded in May 1972: a US tour through 55 cities was originally planned; but the two leaders refused to sign the contracts because of financial risks. Campi was so annoyed with her indecision that he gave up. That happened just as the orchestra was "beginning to 'reach' a larger audience" and negotiations were even underway with Miles Davis to perform with the orchestra.


  • Reiner Kobe: Big Bands in North Rhine-Westphalia: Edelhagen, Clarke-Boland and JugendJazzOrchester. In: Robert von Zahn (ed.): Jazz in North Rhine-Westphalia since 1946 . Emons-Verlag, Cologne 1999, pp. 158-173
  • Robert von Zahn: Jazz in Cologne, concert culture and cellar art . Emons-Verlag, Cologne 1997, ISBN 3-924491-81-X .

Web links

References and comments

  1. The live recording was published in April 2011
  2. Tom Wohlert: Musicians, doers, machos, mafiosi: From amateur musicians to the Cologne studio scene . 2010, p. 71
  3. ^ Previously, Don Byas on tenor saxophone was featured on 25 February 1960 in Cologne in a septet line-up with Christian Kellens (trombone), Eddie Busnello (alto saxophone), Francy Boland (piano), Jean Warland (bass), Fats Sadi ( Vibraphone) and Kenny Clarke (drums) made three recordings. Recordings with a similar octet, the Dusko Goykovich (trumpet / flugelhorn), Derek Humble (alto saxophone), Carl Drewo (tenor saxophone), Bubi Aderhold (baritone saxophone) were also made under the name Dusko Goykovich-Kenny Clarke International Jazz Octet on February 14, 1961 ), Heinz Kretzschmar (bass clarinet) and Jean Warland (bass) along with Clarke and Boland. In the session they also picked up on Cologne peculiarities - the Blues for Koebes . Gigi Campi was honored with the title La Campimania .
  4. Already on 23/24 May 1961 the band re-entered the Electrola studios to record another LP under the title The Golden Eight - Encore! record.
  5. ^ Robert von Zahn: Jazz in Cologne. Cologne 1997, p. 115
  6. Here the band already consisted of 19 members
  7. a b c d Joachim Ernst Berendt: Das Jazzbuch . Frankfurt am Main 1987, p. 410
  8. a b c d Robert von Zahn: Jazz in Cologne . Cologne, pp. 118f.
  9. Kenny Clarke / Francy Boland Big Band on Allmusic (English)
  10. a b Jazz . In: Der Spiegel . No. 15 , 1969, p. 194 ( online ).
  11. The recording of this concert was shown in 1971 on ARD at prime time. On TV this week . In: Der Spiegel . No. 5 , 1971 ( online ).
  12. Hans Georg Brunner Schwer: The "Clarke Boland Big Band" at MPS. In: Robert von Zahn (Ed.): Campiana: a piece before the beat . Verlag Dohr, Cologne 1998, pp. 47-49
  13. ^ Donald Clarke: The Penguin Encyclopedia of Popular Music . 1998, p. 237
  14. Mike Hennessey: The Art of the Impossible . In: Robert von Zahn: Campiana: a piece before the beat . Cologne 1998, pp. 41-46
  15. ^ A b R. Kobe: Big Bands in North Rhine-Westphalia: Edelhagen, Clarke-Boland and JugendJazzOrchester. In: R. von Zahn (ed.): Jazz in North Rhine-Westphalia since 1946 . 1999, p. 168