Alix Combelle

Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli continue to be popular, but Alix Combelle is not yet recognized for his unwavering contributions to the establishment and development of Gypsy swing. Combelle, a skilled saxophonist and clarinetist, was an arranger, bandleader, and a key figure in the development of European Jazz during the 1930s. He recorded dozens of records with Reinhardt and other members of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France. It was with Reinhardt that Combelle’s reputation was established. Combelle, unlike Django, remained faithful to simple swing and did not feel the need to adapt to the style or methodology of bop. His best recordings were made between 1935 and 1943, when they were released on the Swing label. Francois Combelle was his father, a classical saxophonist who was a featured soloist with the Band of the Republican Guard. He was born in Paris on June 15, 1912. Alix started his career as a drummer in the late ’20s. He also learned his woodwind skills in the Parisian orchestra pits. In 1932-1933, he was accompanied by Krikor “Gregor” Kelekian, an Armenian bandleader. He was also a member of the bands of trumpeter Arthur Briggs, violinist Michel Warlop and Patrick et Son Orchestre (tromboneist Guy Paquinet). Beginning with a historic multinational session led by Coleman Hawkins in 1937, Combelle’s unwavering devotion to jazz brought him into close contact with many visiting and emigrating U.S. swing masters, including multi-instrumentalist Benny Carter, clarinetist Danny Polo

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