Maurice Cullaz

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Maurice "Smoothie" Cullaz (born April 1912 in Annecy ; † October 30, 2000 ) was a French jazz critic.


Cullaz was a co-founder of Jazz Hot magazine in 1935 and long-time president of the Académie du Jazz . In France he was regarded as the doyen of jazz critics, became known through radio broadcasts and was known or even friends with many famous jazz and soul musicians. Many of them have their say in the 1992 documentary Smoothie by Jean-Henri Meunier ( Nina Simone , BB King , James Brown , Dee Dee Bridgewater , Dizzy Gillespie , Max Roach , Archie Shepp , Phil Woods , Etta James , Ray Lema ). He got his nickname "Smoothie" from Louis Armstrong because of his open-minded, sociable character.

With his wife Yvonne Chalant (called Vonnette), whom he married in 1934, he translated, among other things, the autobiographies of Sidney Bechet , Billie Holiday , the crime novels by Chester Himes and wrote books such as the Guide des Disques de Jazz and Gospel , which he as well as made the blues known early on in France.

His son Alby Cullaz , who died in 1998, was a jazz bassist, his son Pierre Cullaz a jazz guitarist.


  • In 1996 (and again posthumously in 2001) he received the Django d'Or special award

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