Alix Combelle was the hottest tenor player in pre-war Europe..and respected by the American musicians who brought jazz to Europe. ..The French nicknamed him: “Le premier négre du jazz, made in France” (= The first “black” French jazz musician)..Articles in Downbeat and Hot Jazz (paris) speak highly of his playing ability.. The blog KEEP SWINGING includes a recording.. We came across an Alix Combelle 78 issued on the old Columbia Label and pressed in Dum Dum Calcutta …and wondered why this recording was released in India..Later on , in interviews with old timers in Calcutta we heard that Alix may have played in Calcutta around 1950.. We just heard from his son Phillippe, a jazz musician , who confirms this.. “dear sir i think my father alix combelle was in calcutta india in 1947 /1948 with his band thats what my mother says but i am not sure ; ; ;if i find some news about it i tell you latter i am a jazz musician too and i like to go to india to play in jazz concert i am on my space/philippe combelle take a look if you want i wish you good success for your work on the story of jazz in india sincerely philippe alix combelle” It would be interesting to find out where he played..we hear that it was a 6 month or longer stint.. Calcutta must have been a swinging city ! FOLLOW UP : See DOUG PETERS COMMENTS (below) ..WHERE HE VERIFIES THAT ALIX COMBELLES CALCUTTA GIG WAS IN 1951/52 at PRINCES, THE GRAND HOTEL..
What a wonderful surprise to see and hear Alix Combelle once again. I was in Calcutta in 1951/52 and had to pleasure of meeting Alix, through a mutual friend, at Prince’s that was the night club of the Grand Hotel in Calutta. He led a six-piece band that comprised three tenors, three rhythm and a crooner. His swinging style was just a joy to listen to with three tenors even harmonizing at times. His second tenor man was a fantastic jazz artist, I used to know his name but it escapes me right now, while the third horn was there mostly for the combo arrangements. Alix was keen to listen to our amateur group but final arrangements didn’t work out. We visited the night club many times for the pleasure of listening to these great French musicians.
thanks Doug !.. Doug Peters played tenor in Calcutta and Bombay , as an amatuer, but clearly good enough to play in various bands.. He has corrected us on the Alix Combelle Calcutta years..