La Belle Epoque | Volume 4

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Volume 4

by La Belle Epoque

An anthology of Haitian Music of the early 1950s.
Genre: World: Caribbean
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Contre-danse #1
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3:27 $0.99
2. Cheche
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3:10 $0.99
3. Redi redi
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3:13 $0.99
4. Marabout de mon coeur
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3:03 $0.99
5. Souvenir d'Haiti
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2:54 $0.99
6. Angélico
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3:04 $0.99
7. Manzè Rosa
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2:45 $0.99
8. Tarlatane
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3:03 $0.99
9. Fè chemen ou
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3:13 $0.99
10. Mwen kwè nan sa
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3:31 $0.99
11. Mathilda
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3:14 $0.99
12. Gabélus
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3:30 $0.99
13. Monkapitèn
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2:42 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
The tracks featured on the present CD all testify to the big ears of Issa El Saieh. Issa had a rare gift for
musical talent which he kept using during his years as an orchestra leader and record producer, making
a point of recording not only his own band but in addition whatever budding Haitian talent he happened
to listen to and like. His musical standards were high. He was the first Haitian orchestra who procured
good professional scores from renowned foreign arrangers like Bobby Hicks and Bebo Valdés, and he
used them to change the standard of what was good Haitian music, in whichever way he saw fit.

The association of Wébert Sicot with Issa El Saieh must have been one of fellow sax player to sax player,
since Wébert did not play in the Super Orchestre Issa El Saieh. Arguably the greatest Haitian saxophonist
of all times, fame was to come to him through his rivalry with Nemours Jean-Baptiste for about a decade
beginning in 1957, when his kadans ranpa competed fiercely with Nemours' konpa direk, for the national
musical leadership during a period of redefinition of popular dance music - a polemical rivalry which
culminated in a celebrated football game in 1964 between the two bands. The four tunes included in the
present album date from the period when Sicot was struggling to establish himself on the Haitian music
scene. Issa had listened to the twenty-five year-old youngster and decided to feature him as nominal
leader for a gramophone group built on the remnants of Issa's old orchestra.

Billy Taylor is one of the greatest of all jazz pianists, with the unique gift of being almost as good with
his left hand as with his right one. He was a member of the first bop combo, under the leadership of
Dizzy Gillespie, and he made the first records under his own name already in 1945. Four years later he
was the house pianist at Birdland. Billy came to Haiti in 1950 as a member of the first bop orchestra that
visited the country, a band assembled by Budd Johnson which also featured Kenny Dorham on trumpet,
for the Bicentennial of the foundation of Port-au-Prince. The year after he recorded for Issa in New York
with Ti Marcel, Ti Roro and Guy Durosier, all on tanbou. The present CD features Billy's bop treatment
of Souvenir d'Haïti and Angélico, two very traditional Haitian songs.

Guy Durosier began his career as a child prodigy. He is one of treats on Issa's records, always in great
shape. The contemporary observers of Haitian music are unanimous: Guy is one of the all-time greats,
a natural musician for whom everything was easy, a multi instrumentalist always at ease, playing
various reed instruments, mainly alto and tenor sax, and in addition piano, bass and drums - whatever
the occasion called for - composing and arranging. The present CD features Guy in great company -
Billy Taylor and Bebo Valdés - and he certainly rises to the occasion, accompanied by Billy on Manzè
Rosa, probably recorded in New York at the same time as the two instrumental Billy Taylor numbers
(together with Gonaïvienne, on La Belle Époque, Volume 1), and by Bebo Valdés on four tunes where
Guy also plays alto sax. His version of the Harry Belafonte flag waver Mathilda leaves absolutely
nothing to be desired. Guy's superior musicianship, appropriately backed by Bebo, definitely relegates
Belafonte to second place. The last two tunes of the album feature Guy Durosier outside the Issa context,
on his way towards national recognition, with his Ensemble du Riviera with which he appeared at the
hotel with the same name.

Mats Lundahl and Louis Carl Saint Jean


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