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Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Viva - Francis Bay


Mambo No. 8

Francis Bay And The Big Dance Band
Epic Stereorama CSRP 561
Columbia Special Products
Special Archives Series

From the back cover: Francis Bay's ability to play practically every important wind instrument in virtuoso fashion make him a particularly authoritative orchestra leader, and it is no surprise to learn that when he won the International Song Festival in Venice his orchestra had then existed merely 175 days.

This Belgian musician's career began early, for at the age of seven he was already playing the clarinet in local orchestras, at the age of fourteen he was busily getting down to composition, at fifteen he was fast becoming an intense jazz addict, and at the age of sixteen he won a first prize in clarinet playing at the Conservatoire of Malines. From then on he broadened his technical accomplishments by learning to play the other reeds and saxes, and gained valuable orchestral experience buy playing the ensembles of Paul Godwin (1936) and Boyd Bachman (1939). From then until 1952 he was to be found playing in orchestras of many nationalities (Swiss, Dutch, Swedish, German and Belgian), writing, arranging and composing film music and interesting himself in "trick" recordings and jazz of an advance nature.

More recently, he has led the I.N.R. Dance Orchestra (this was the team which won the Golden Gondola in Venice) in co-operation with producer Bob Boone. This orchestra, as you would expect, contains some true virtuoso soloists, among whom are the tenor saxophonist Benny Couroyer, the "high blower" Edmond Harnie, the "bop" soloist Charlie Knegtel, the alto saxophonist Francois l'Elise, the astonishing drummer Armand van de Walle, and the pianist Jean Evans. Francis Bay has been lately causing quite a stir with his versions of "Tequila" – proving that a Latin-American melody in a swingy vein can be played with as much gusto by a Continental band as by any of its transatlantic counterparts. On this record he continues in this vein, presenting hi ideas in his inimitable style, combining a Latin beat, a hard-driving swing, and that flawless precision which is his hallmark.

O Cangaceiro
Mambo No. 5
Rico Vacillon
El Millonario
Rumba Negra
Mambo No. 8

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