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Bobby Jaspar
Information Discography
Instrument(s) Tenor saxophone, Flute, Bb clarinet, Composer
Date of birth February 20, 1926
Place of birth Liege
Date of death February 28, 1963
Place of death New York
Bobby JASPAR was a famous tenor sax player, with great improvisation abilities and a sound that could be soft like Stan GETZ's. He was accepted as a first class musician in the USA, where he played with the greatests : Miles DAVIS, J. J. JOHNSON, Walter FULLER, Toots THIELEMANS, Bill EVANS, Jimmy RANEY, etc...

His too short life put an end to his endless pursuit for the perfect sound. One of the great technicians of the tenor saxophone, he was a top flutist as well.

Robert JASPAR, born in Liege, city in the south-east of Belgium, in 1926, learned the piano and to play the clarinet in his teens. From 1945 he will perform with the 'BOB SHOTS' orchestra assembling some of the best Belgian Jazz musicians at their debut : SADI (vibraphone), René THOMAS (guitar), Jacques PELZER (alto sax)... In 1950 he went to Paris, where the Jazz scene is buoyant, due to the presence of top American players and good local players as well. Quickly Bobby JASPAR becomes one of the center figures of Modern Jazz in Paris. His incredible sax technique and his daring improvisations, his lyricism and his constant search for experiment made him one of the most acclaimed European Jazzmen of the fifties.

In the mid-fifties, Bobby JASPAR settled in the USA, where he was sure to meet the real core of talents for Modern Jazz. His strong Be-bop inspiration from the beginning was there influenced by other styles in the make and JASPAR tried to marry his soft sounding sax with techniques from Sonny ROLLINS and Warne MARSH, but always keeping his original creative talent for lyricism.

He was a very good Jazz composer as well, giving top creations to the musicians of the time. Bobby JASPAR was highly appreciated by the American musicians and casted there numerous recording sessions.

In 1961/62 he came back for one year to Europe giving many concerts in several countries, and making some of his last recordings. With his friend René THOMAS ( the Belgian guitarist who emigrated to Canada to be close to JASPAR) they formed a very successful quintet. In some sessions Chet BAKER, the American trumpeter, joined to make a high powered sextet. I personally remember incredible sessions by THOMAS and JASPAR in Brussels (The Blue Note) during this period, with the Italian pianist Amedeo TOMMASI, in a club held by the Belgian bassist Benoît QUERSIN ! Fortunately for Jazz lovers, there are Italian and English recordings of the quintet and sextet (with Chet BAKER)...

Bobby JASPAR died in New York on Feb. 28, 1963, he was 37 years old.

I would suggest the following recordings:

  • The Italian Session - recorded in 1962 by its quintet + Chet BAKER, in Italy during the last visit of JASPAR to Europe.
    His sound has evolved but his lyricism is still there in his moving interpretation. Belgian guitarist René Thomas is in a brilliant mood and casts some tremendous solos. As BAKER himself is in a good day the cohesion of the orchestra is first class ! With Benoît QUERSIN, Belgian bassist, Amedeo TOMMASI, Italian pianist and Daniel HUMAIR, talented Swiss drummer.
    A very good Jazz record with top rendition of excellent themes. One of the best by European musicians of the time. Highly recommended to Jazz fans. Re-issued on CD by : Bluebird-RCA.
  • Memory of Dick - session recorded in 1955 in Paris at the Club Saint Germain; very representative of the Modern Jazz made by Europeans in Paris at the time. Very good lines by JASPAR with a soft sax sound. With René URTREGER (piano), Sacha DISTEL (guitar). Re-issued on CD by : Emarcy/Polygram.

  • Phenil Isopropyl Amine - Chemical title for this typical recording of JASPAR playing the flute on all the numbers. Small orchestra wherein two vibraphonists relay (SADI and Michel HAUSSER). With Jimmy MERITT (bass) and Kenny CLARKE (drums). (Re-issued on CD by: Emarcy/Polygram or in 2002 under the title "Jeux de Quartes" on Universal/Emarcy in their "Jazz in Paris series".

    Text by Etienne Borgers, all rights reserved


    DISCOGRAPHY :

  • Bobby JASPAR's incomplete discography by Mr MANRI (Japan) : HERE.
  • See a discography on Pierre Dulieu's site.
  • More infos on Bobby Jaspar are available from the MAISON DU JAZZ (Liège Jazz Museum).
  • A discography can be found here : http://antiek.telenet.be/bobbyjaspardiscography.htm

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