Friday, February 25, 2011

Song of the week: Bobby Jaspar - Memory of Dick

Adolphe Sax invented the saxophone,
but never lived to see the invention of jazz.
The saxophone was invented in 1841 by Adolphe Sax from Dinant in Belgium. The greatest Belgian to master this instrument was arguably Bobby Jaspar (1926-1963).

Bobby Jaspar was a cool jazz and hard bop saxophonist, flautist and composer born in Liège. He learned to play piano and clarinet at a very young age. Later, he took up the tenor sax and flute. His first band was called the "Bop Shots". In 1950, he moved to Paris, playing and recording with some of the best musicians of the era. Here he met his future wife, American jazz singer Blossom Dearie (1924-2009).

In 1956, Jaspar relocated to the United States, where his reputation had preceded him. He played and recorded with the quintet of J. J. Johnson, with Kenny Burrell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Donald Byrd, and many others.

In 1961-62, Jaspar returned to Europe for a year of touring and recording. Together with René Thomas, a Belgian guitarist, he formed a successful quintet. In some sessions they were joined by American trumpeter Chet Baker.

Bobby Jaspar died suddenly from a heart attack in New York City in 1963. He was 37 years old.

Bobby Jaspar. (NME)

"Memory of Dick" is a tribute to Dick Twardzik (1931-1955), an American jazz pianist who died in Paris from a heroin overdose while on tour with Chet Baker. The song was recorded in France shortly before Jaspar moved to the United States, and was first released to the public in 1988.

Knowledge: Wikipedia


  1. Cool :) I know very little about jazz, so thanks for telling this story ^_^