Fats Sadi: Sadi’s Vibes

Vibist who 'transitioned' from Hamp follower to Bags-type bopper, even to West Coaster, is heard at work in 50s-60s Europe


This retrospective on vibraphonist Fats Sadi covers the years after he had relocated, with close friend and fellow member of the Bob Shots in the mid 40s, Bobby Jaspar, from Belgium to Paris where they were to become mainstays of the Paris jazz scene in the 1950s.

Sadi had moved away from the influence of Lionel Hampton towards the bebop of Milt Jackson, although elements can be heard in the uptempo passages in the first tracks, from 1953, including a modern take on the Lil Hardin Armstrong classic, Struttin’ With Some Barbecue.

In contrast, tracks 4-11 have a West Coast feel and come from the Vogue album Fats Sadi’s Combo, arranged by Francy Boland and released in the States on Blue Note (BLP5061), getting good reviews. The playing by this eight-piece is first rate, especially on the two Boland compositions, Ad Libitum and Sadisme, and the ballads Karin and Sweet Feeling. Sadi’s playing is relaxed and lighter, but without losing any intensity.

Sadi shows his proficiency as an arranger for Jaspar’s Nonette on Early Wake, Honky Tonky and Jeux De Quartes. There is tight work from the horns, which included trumpeters Roger Guerin and American Buzz Gardner, later to return to the States and play with Zappa’s Mothers of Invention in the late 60s.

Taken from the album Bobby Jaspar Quartet (Barclay 84063), Le JAMF and Doxology (Memory Of Dick – written as a tribute to the late Dick Twardzik, following the pianist’s tragic death in 1955), both feature Jaspar’s flute. Top notch support is from Jazz Messenger bassist Jymie Merritt and drummer Kenny Clarke, who became a permanent fixture in Parisian jazz.

Tracks 17-20 come from an EP Sadi’s Vibes, trumpeter Jimmy Deuchar and pianist Roland Ronchaud supporting well; Sadi’s expansive solo and Deuchar’s tight incisiveness stand out on Gigi’s Pad.

Sadi was to return to Belgium and the final three tracks were recorded in Brussels at the start of the 60s, a change in his delivery detectable, especially on Hegor – lively drumming from Freddy Rotier – and Hittin’ The Road, which has solid solos from Sadi, guitarist Rene Thomas and Francy Boland on piano.

Thanks once again to Jordi Pujol and Fresh Sound for another intriguing release, with the usual highly informative booklet.

(1) Strike Up The Band; I Only Have Eyes For You; Struttin’ With Some Barbecue; (2) Ad Libitum; Laguna Leap; Karin; Big Balcony; Sadisme; Sweet Feeling; Ridin’ High; Thanks A Million; (3) Early Wake; Honky Tonky; Jeux De Quartes; (4) Doxology (Memory Of Dick); Le JAMF; (5) Ridin’ In; Don’t Blame Me; Gigi’s Pad; If I Had You; (6) Hegor; Dear Old Lady; (7) Hittin’ The Road (77.36)
Sadi (vib) with:
(1) Bobby Jaspar (ts); Henri Renaud (p);Jimmy Gourley (g); Benoît Quersin (b); Jean-Louis Viale (d). Paris, 22 May 1953.
(2) Roger Guérin (t, tu); Nat Peck (tb); Jean Aldegon (bcl); Jaspar (ts); Maurice Vander (p); Jean-Marie Ingrand (b); Jean-Louis Viale (d); Francy Boland (arr). Paris, 8 May 1954.
(3) Buzz Gardner, Roger Guérin (t); Nat Peck (tb); Jean Aldegon (as, bcl); Jaspar (ts); Armand Migiani (bar); Pierre Michelot (b); Gerard “Dave” Pochonet (d). Paris, 14 October 1954.
(4) Jaspar (f); Jymie Merritt (b); Kenny Clarke (d). Paris, 20 December 1958.
(5) Jimmy Deuchar (t); Roland Ronchaud (p); Maurice Salvat (b); Stuff Combe (d). Cologne, 22 May 1959.
(6) Roland Ronchaud (p); Jean Warland (b); Freddy Rotier (d). Brussels, 1961.
(7) René Thomas (g); Francy Boland (p); Roger Van Haverbecke (b); Wallace Bishop (d). Brussels, 1962.
Fresh Sound FSRCD1123