This is not the place to introduce
you to famous and popular bands such as Benny Goodman's
or Glenn Miller's (there is enough
on the internet already), but to present the classical
"greenhorn" (no offense meant)
or those who are only familiar with American bands with some of
the less known
European swing- and dance orchestras
from the 30s and 40s.
Taking their orientation from American idols
the "swinging dance music" in Europe
developed its own style which was more likely
to appeal to European taste.
It was rhythmically more accentuated, livelier
and less "sweet" than US swing of the 40s.
Fud Candrix Orchestra
|Belgian Fud Candrix (tenor sax) and his orchestra
enjoyed their great success in the 30s and 40s. From April to August 1942
the band was playing for members of the "Wehrmacht" in Delphi Palace (Berlin).
The 14 instrumentalists and their singer could handle all common American
Jazz-numbers in modern arrangements.
Midnighte in Harlem
The Oldest Swinger in
James Kok Orchestra
|Between 1929 and 1932 Rumanian James Kok founded
one of the hottest big bands in Germany. The orchestra consisted mainly
of German musicians (e.g. Fritz Schulze: piano, Erhard Bauschke:clarinet,
Piano, Scat-vocal and Kurt Wege: Saxophon, Clarinet). Bandleader Kok attracted
negative attention from the "Reichsmusikkammer" (Reichs-music-board) because
of his outspoken public support of the British Jack Hylton Orchestra, which
was rather unpopular with the Nazis. This incident led to the discovery
of his "half-Jewish" origin and resulted in his work ban. Kok escaped to
England, survived the war and afterwards lived in Switzerland. Eberhardt
Bauschke continued his work leading the "Aryanized" band from summer 1935
The "Jack Hylton Orchestra"
|Funny British showman Jack Hylton excited
the Germans since his premiere in Berlin in 1928. From 1933 onwards their
reputation of being the best and most popular jazz band in Europe was vanishing
step by step because they "turned too tame".
Do the runaround
That's you, baby
The "Goldene Sieben"
|The "Goldene Sieben" (golden seven), founded
in 1934 as a band working solely in studio, was meant as a countermovement
to popular Anglo-American dance music. Their style was supposed to be "modern
German dance music". The band was put together with members from Berlin's
first class orchestras and soon celebrated success. Some of its members
like Kurt Hohenberger, Willi Berking, Franz Thon und Freddie Brocksieper
became famous bandleaders. They played German compositions as well as movie
tunes and international hits. Accompanying well known German singers (Igelhoff,
Schuricke, Hildebrand, ...) they had up to 14 members. Although they were
supposed to present the "mainstream (pun on golden middle)" Goebbels
had intended, their style turned too much to hot swing to let them go on,
and so they were not allowed to be broadcast anymore after 1935. After
several reprimands and periods of broadcast bans the final work ban
hit them in 1939. However, their records were still available on the market
and played on the radio.
Das solistische Orchester
(The solistic dance orchestra)
Weil der D-Zugführer
heute Hochzeit macht
(Because of the conductor's wedding
Nat Gonella and his Georgians
|British Nat Gonella, idol of the swing-youth,
enjoyed his great success because of his funny way and tomfoolery.
The Nazis mistook him for a black because of his voice and forbid his band
accordingly as a ''nigger-jazz-band'' in early 1939. He first participated
in various bands ( Billy Cotton, Roy Fox, Lew Stone) and founded his own
formation in 1935 as a ''band in the band'' of Lew Stone, called ''Nat
Gonella and his Georgians''.
Their signature tune "Georgia on my mind"
established the name of the band. Trumpeter Gonella had gigs not only in
England but also in Sweden, Holland and America, until he was called to
arms in 1941. After the war he continued playing Rock 'n' Roll and Jazz
until the 70's.
The Skeleton in the
Mr. Rhythm Man
!! See also an article about Nat Gonella in
Teddy Stauffer and his Original Teddies
|The most successful big band sound in Germany
of the late 30s was played by Swiss saxophonist Ernst "Teddy" Stauffer
(from Bern) with his Original Teddies. They were called Teddies because
of the bear residing in the coat of arms of Bern. They enjoyed great popularity
with their gigs in 1936 during the Olympic Games in Berlin by their presentation
of original American swing music in the style of Benny Goodman. Without
scruples Stauffer turned the "Horst Wessel Lied" ( National Socialist anthem)
into a jazz number in 1938 - something he wasn't really punished for because
of his popularity. In 1939 he returned to Switzerland. Some time
and several failures later he emigrated to Mexico, where the known womanizer
(who was also married to the actress Hedy Lamarr), turned Acapulco into
a holiday resort.
The Original: Big Apple
|Starting as a "pre-movie-band" in England
the orchestra also went on tour through Germany in 1930 as "Harry Roy and
the RKOlians". They celebrated their highest popularity in 1934 as
a hotel band in the Mayfair-Hotel (London). Harry Roy was known for his
high-pitched voice, and his band played mainly hot- and ragtime-titles.
Frequent appearance on broadcasting in England and a few parts in movies
enhanced his popularity.
Kurt Widmann Orchestra
|Berlin band leader and swing-expert Kurt Widmann
(drummer, later accordion, then trombone) was the star of the hotel "Imperator"
The band started in 1933 as an ensemble of
five members and received repeatedly warnings because of their Jewish repertory.
First recordings followed in 1938, partially under English pseudonyms like
Billy Blackmoore, John Weepster or John Webb. When England joined in the
war in 1939 those alias were forbidden by the Nazis. During the war the
band was used for entertaining the "Wehrmacht". His amazing jumps in the
air, which almost endet in the splits, gave the "16-stone-man" the nickname
"bouncing ball". Shortly after the end of war he starred in occupied Germany
with a new orchestra in American clubs run by GI's.
Das ist nun mal
(That's my rhythm)
Haben Sie schon mal
im Dunkeln geküßt?
(Have you ever kissed in