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Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Gus Viseur born 15 May 1915


Gus Viseur, born Gustave-Joseph Viseur (15 May 1915 – 25 August 1974) was a Belgian/French button accordionist. Gus Viseur was a virtuoso in the musette genre, during the swing era in the 1930s. He is the only jazz accordionist who is a member of the famous Hot Club de France, conducted by Charles Delaunay.

This accordion player, composer and band leader was born in the Walloon city Lessines, aboard a barge of his parents. As a child 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 was named “JoJoJazz”. At the age of ten he accompanied vocalists in Parisian restaurants. During the 1920s, after his father passed away, he played in cafés in Belleville and Ménilmontand and played the bandoneon in a tango-orchestra. He also performed in cabarets.

From 1930 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 was nicknamed "Tatave." He was a sought after musician, fascinated by the manouche music of musicians like Django Reinhardt and black American jazz players.

 Here's "Jeannette" by Gus Viseur & His Ensemble from the above album.Recorded 20 December 1938 and released on Columbia CL6893.

In the late 30's Gus made records for Columbia as a member of the Orchestre Musette Victor. Thanks to the Hot Club de France, Gus developed his music from musette and java to jazz He was 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, performing in clubs with his own quintet.He played together with saxophone player André Ekyan and guitar player Django Reinhardt in clubs like the Moulin Rouge, Normandie and Olympia and made more records for the Swing label. He recorded all the genres of the musette repertoire: valse, tango and paso doble. Gus also accompanied Édith Piaf in 1940.

During the last years of the Second World War Gus played a kind of “mainstream” swing, as hot jazz wasn’t allowed by the 
occupying Germanans, so Gus goes into hiding until the end of the war but doesn’t play an active roll in the upcoming new jazz music as played by the dozens of Americans in Europe. Unfortunately the public wasn't fascinated by the accordion music any more. Gus did no more concerts and only played in a few local gigs.

In 1955 he started, together with his wife, a small shop in Le Havre, but without success. They decided to leave for Canada in 1960, where he performed in a weekly TV-program in Montreal. In the late 1960s he returned to La Douce France, but it seems that his music had been forgotten, although he made some LPs, for Barclay and Vogue and played 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. (Info mainly translated from a Georg Lankester bio)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For Gus Viseur – Compositions 1934-1942 go here: