Saturday, July 7, 2012

Eddie, René and Kenny: A Once-in-a-Lifetime Trio

© -  Steven A. Cerra, copyright protected; all rights reserved.

French, Hammond B-3 organist Eddy Louiss, Belgian guitarist René Thomas and American drummer, Kenny Clarke, may have jammed occasionally at Chat-qui-Pêche, a legendary Jazz club on Paris’ Left Bank, but their only recording together took place in 1968 thanks to the foresight and “… goodwill of Yves Chamberland, a respected sound engineer whose mind was well set on sharing his crazes.”

Along with Francois Dreyfus of Dreyfus Jazz Records, Yves has made it a lifelong passion to document modern Jazz in France in the second half of the 20th century and beyond, in particular, Jazz created by Frenchmen [in the all-inclusive sense].

Alain Gerber, the author of Portraits in Jazz [Paris: aux editions Renaudot et Cie, 1990] quoted Stan Getz in his insert notes to Eddy Louiss Trio [Dreyfus Disques FDM 36501-2] as acclaiming: “Eddy Louiss is a genius!”

Alain characterizes René Thomas as “Quite lonely. Quite Fragile. Quite marvelous.”

And “as to Kenny Clarke, he just taught us to forget. To forget drums for the benefit of the music … the benefit of life.”

Alain concludes his remarks [all of which have been translated into English for the insert notes booklet by F. Le Guilloux] by declaring:

“With Jazz as with anything else, the most difficult and the easiest are one and the same: the whole thing is to play as you breath. The secret of it? Just listen again and again to the six numbers by Eddy, René, and Kenny: they contain it all.”

You can listen to one of these six “secrets” in the form of the trio’s version of Bill Carey and Carl Fischer’s You’ve Changed which forms the audio track on the following video tribute to Eddie Louiss [ Don't be put off by the randomly selected YouTube thumbnail which shows another legendary trio performing at Chat-qui-Pêche: Eddy Louiss with violinist Jean-Luc Ponty and drummer Daniel Humair.]