Guy Lafitte & André Persiany – Les Classiques du Jazz · Complete Recordings


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In the 1950’s, tenor saxophonist Guy Lafitte (1927-1998) was considered one of the luminaries of European jazz. In his playing he integrated the harmonic and rhythmic contributions of modern jazz to a more classical style in the lines of Buddy Tate, Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis, Frank Wess and many others who were influenced by Coleman Hawkins and Hershel Evans.
For Lafitte, the emphasis of his playing was always in the strength of his sound, and in his swinging approach to the language of jazz, both qualities that earned him the Django Reinhardt Prize in 1954, the highest honor granted by the French Academie du Jazz. That same year he became the immovable tenor sax of the Parisian cabaret “Les Trois Mailletz”, where he played for almost four years in the company of his friend and pianist André Persiany “Pépé.” In him, Lafitte found his perfect partner, and their relationship was immortalized in these two volumes of “Classiques du Jazz,” gathered here for the first time.
They show Lafitte blowing with solid vitality and virility, carrying with his horn the bulk of these excellent sessions. Persiany doesn’t lag behind though: his piano is firm enough to keep up with Lafitte, and suave enough to counterbalance him. Furthermore, each tune gives him unrestricted opportunity for some eloquent soloing. As for the rhythm section it works gracefully and naturally, with Paul Rovère on bass, and Teddy Martin or Christian Garros on drums. All concerned enjoyed themselves thoroughly, a spirit that readily communicates here from start to finish.

Track Listing:
1. Down in Honky-Tonk Town - 2:00   2. Melancholy - 2:21   3. Savoy Blues - 2:46   4. I'll Never Be the Same - 3:07   5. At Sundown - 2:06   6. Careless Love - 2:30   7. Ole Miss - 2:55   8. Nobody Knows When I’m Down and Out - 3:45   9. Basin Street Blues - 3:24   10. Black and Blue - 2:51   11. Struttin' with Some Barbecue - 3:32   12. I’m Coming Virginia - 2:41   13. St. James Infirmary - 2:27   14. Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams - 3:40   15. Dear Old Southland - 3:12   16. When It's Sleepy Time Down South - 2:06   17. I Ain't Got Nobody - 1:46   18. Ain't Misbehavin' - 2:54   19. I've Found A New Baby - 2:19   20. Frankie and Johnnie - 2:50   21. Chicago - 3:07   22. Sugar Blues - 3:20   23. Baby Won't You Please Come Home - 1:52   24. Rockin' Chair - 2:45   25. Squeeze Me - 2:16

Tracks #1-11, from Columbia 10" LP “Les Classiques du Jazz” (FP 1074)
Tracks #12-25, from Columbia 12" LP “Les Classiques du Jazz Vol.2” (FPX 145)

Guy Lafitte (tenor sax) , André Persiany (piano) , Paul Rovère (bass) , Teddy Martin or Christian Garros (#12-25) (drums)
Recorded in Paris, October 20 (#1-6), December 2 (#7-11), 1955 and October 28 (#14,15,20,24), October 29 (#12,13,16-19,21-23,25), 1957


1. - George W. Harris - April 2, 2018

"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 are a pair of artists from France that show an influence of American swing and bop, but feature it in their own distinct style. The excellent liner notes give histories of the artists, putting their art into perspective of the time period.

Tenor saxist Guy Lafitte (1927-1998) had a big beefy sound akin to Coleman Hawkins and Buddy Tate, with a harmonic approach to the former, aptly displayed on this collection of mid 50s Parisian sessions co-lead with swinging pianist Andre’ Persiany. The remaining team of Paul Rovere/b and teddy Martin-Christian Garros/dr mix tradition with modern on this infectious collection of standards and war horses. Lafitte’s tenor growls with delight on “Savoy Blues” and oozes with lava warmth during “I’ll Never Be the Same.” Even on trad jazz themes such as “Basin Street Blues” and St. James Infirmary” he sounds modern and up to date, while Persiany shows an influence of  Erroll Garner two fisted stride when he takes the spotlight on “Nobody Knows When You’re Down and Out”  while soloing like he just came out of a saloon on “Careless Love” . The rhythm team is simpatico and snappy on “Chicago” while sophisticated and stylin’ on “Squeeze Me.” This one doesn’t disappoint!"