Saturday, December 06, 2008

Gus Viseur - Accordion Player (1915-1974)


During the 1930s Oscar Alemán recorded as a side men in several vaudeville groups like Jean Jac et Jo and l'Orchestre Musette Victor with accordion player Gus Viseur. Georg Lankester posted an article about this almost forgotten accordion player Gus Viseur as Gus Viseur - Accordionist Player ( 1915-1974) ( also in the French and Dutch language). I've posted a small discography with the Gus Viseur - Oscar Alemán recordings below the article.
GUS VISEUR: “The Django Accordion Player” Georg Lankester
This accordion player, composer and band leader was born on the 15th of May 1915 in the Walloon city Lessines, aboard a barge of his parents. As a kid he learned to play the accordion, fascinated by this instrument as played by his father and two brothers. Raised in Paris on board the ship, anchored since 1921 in the river Seine, he played, with his father and their accordions, at the bars in the northern part of the city. This small family band is named “JoJoJazz”. At the age of ten he accompanied vocalists in Parisian restaurants – Music has become definitely a part of his life. During the 1920s, after his father passed away, he played in cafés in Belleville and Ménilmontand and plays the bandoneon in a tango-orchestra. He also performed in cabarets. Music on three levels with the bands of Reinhardt, Viseur and Ekyan (Paris 1941) ( source Les grands orchestres de Music Hall en France - Jacques Helian)
In 1930, up to 1932, he became part of Les Deux V’s ( = the two V’s (Vaissade and Viseur)) at the Canari-bal together with accordion player Jean Vaissade, known for some early Django Reinhardt recordings. He also performed on some other bals-musettes. In the 1930s Gus played with Louis Ferrari and he becomes, nicknamed as Tatave, a sought after musician, fascinated by the manouche music of musicians like Django Reinhardt and black American jazz players.
Gus Viseur
In October 1938 Charles Delaunay produced his first SWING records, although Gus also made records for Columbia as a member of the Orchestre Musette Victor, featuring Gus on accordion, Oscar Alemán at the solo guitar, Pierre Baro Ferret on the rhythm guitar and Maurice Speilleux on bass.
JOSEPH! JOSEPH! - ORCHESTRE MUSETTE VICTOR: with Oscar Alemán and Gus Viseur (Columbia DF-2574) (9th of March 1939) ( collection Hans Koert)

Thanks to the Hot Club de France, Gus developed his music from musette and java to jazz He is one of the first, together with Louis Richardet and Gorni Kramer, to play jazz on the accordion. Gus became a great improviser on his instrument.
In 1938 Gus performed in clubs with his own quintet, featuring guitar players like Sarane- Challin- and Baro Ferret ( Matelo too now and then) and bass player Maurice Speilleux and performed in the ‘Nuit du Jazz’.
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Challin Ferret - Baro Ferret - Maurice Speilleux - Gus Viseur - Jean Matelo Ferret. ( Scot Wise collection en Django, The life and music of a Gypsy Legend by M. Dregni)
He played together with saxophone player André Ekyan and guitar player Django Reinhardt in clubs like the Moulin Rouge, Normandie and Olympia and made, thanks to Delaunay, who recognized a great swing accordion player in Gus, more records for the Swing label. Listen to his ‘Swing Valse’, a tune, still performed, one of the first jazz musette-waltzes.

During the last years of the Second World War Gus played a kind of “mainstream” swing, as hot jazz wasn’t allowed by the occupiers. A German officer, who likes his music, offers him a series of concerts in Germany, but Gus refuses, afraid for the consequences. He goes into hiding. When the war is over, August 1944, he appears again, but doesn’t play an active roll in the upcoming new jazz music as played by the dozens of Americans in Europe. And the public isn’t fascinated by the accordion music any more. No more concerts and but few gigs remain.
In 1955 he starts, together with his wife, a small shop in Le Havre, but without success.They decide to leave for Canada in 1960, where he performed in a weekly TV-program in Montreal. In the late 1960s he returnes to La Douce France, but it seems that his music has been forgotten, although he makes some LPs, for Barclay and Vogue and plays together with Jo Privat.
Gus Viseur passed away on the 25th of August 1974 leaving us some great recordings, that show that he was a great swing accordionist.
Thanks to his improvisations he learned us that the accordion could be developed into a jazz instrument.
At the height of his career people compared him with Django Reinhardt ….. A great homage to Gus Viseur.


Georg Lankester
Translation Hans Koert


George Lankester is the writer of several articles about the French 1930s music tradition. He published last year in Dutch De geschiedenis van de (Swing) Musette en de rol van gitarist Django Reinhardt. He plays the guitar in the Quatre Tickets Du Swing.
OSCAR ALEMÁN - GUS VISEUR
a small discography
HONEYSUCKLE ROSE / WHISPERING = L'ORCHESTRE MUSETTE VICTOR
Columbia ( 28th of September 1938)
J'ATTENDRAI* / PLEURS ET LARMES* / LE GALLIPÉTANTI / ON N'A PAS BESOIN DE LA LUNE / SUR LES QUAIS DU VIEUX PARIS / COEUR VAGABOND = L'ORCHESTRE VICTOR Columbia (*rejected) ( 8th of February 1939)
ON N'A PAS BESOIN DE LA LUNE / SUR LES QUAIS DE VIEUX PARIS / LA SERENADE A LA MULE / JOSEPH!, JOSEPH! / J'AI JURÉ DE T'AIMER TOUJOURS / LA VALSE AU VILLAGE / LA VALSE DE MINUIT / MA GUITTE = ORCHESTRE MUSETTE VICTOR Columbia ( 9th of March 1939)
CHANT HINDOU / TWILIGHT IN TURKEY / L'OMBRE S'ENFUIT / LA NUIT QUI VIENT / I CAN'T GIVE YOU ANYTHING BUT LOVE / OH, LADY BE GOOD / L'IMPRÉVU = ORCHESTRE MUSETTE VICTOR sous la direction de Boris SARBEK Accordéon: Gustave VISEUR Columbia ( 21st of April 1939)
BEL-AMI / COULD BE / SÉRÉNADE SANS ESPOIR / SÉRÉNADE SANS ESPOIR (vocal version) / LE CARAVANIER / SOIR INDIGO / HONEYSUCKLE ROSE / WHISPERING= L'Accordéoniste moderne GUS VISEUR et l'ORCHESTRE VICTOR sous la direction de BORIS SARBEK Columbia ( 1st of June 1939)
(source: Oscar Aleman Discography - Hans Koert )
You find more information about the personel in the online Oscar Aleman Discography on the St. Louis Stomp page and the Doing The Gorgonzola site
If you do have a collection of these original Columbia records from this period you could help me to complete the record label pictures of this online discography.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Waldo said...

Hola amigo Hans, mis felicitaciones es muy interesante la entrada de Gus.
En Buenos Aires hay una asociación de acordeonistas nuy importante y Un Museo del acordeón de la Familia Anconetani http://www.anconetani.net/, a quien mi amigo Ramón Pisos luego de su visita a Italia donde visito un museo del acordeón hizo un importante acopio de fotografias y material fílmico que luego trajo a Buenos Aires para colaborar con dicho Museo, por otra parte hay un dato curioso y es que en ese lugar le hacian los uñeros a Oscar Alemán ya que como sabrás Oscar no tocaba con púas en breve me entrevistare con ellos ya que mi amigo Ramón me invito a conocerlos, te tendré al corriente. Un abrazo. Waldo

9:21 PM  
Blogger Oscar Grillo said...

What joy to discover this blog!!!!...Oscar's brief solo in LA VALSE DE MINUIT is in my humble view one of the most beatiful pieces in recorded music, comparable to Armstrong's cadenza in "West End Blues" and Bird's "Parker's Mood"
Keep up the good work, bloggers!

5:32 PM  
Anonymous Hans said...

Thanks Oscar for your nice words. I'm sure you'll like the http://keepswinging.blogspot.com too. Click on the subject line to enter. Contact me at keepswinging at live dot nl

Hans

1:29 PM  

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