Together since 2011, the high skilled and delicious 14 musicians of UMLAUT BIG BAND first met thanks to Umlaut Records, a musicians’ collective for improvised music based in Paris, Berlin, and Stockholm. With backgrounds in jazz, classical, and contemporary music, they are also very active in the new jazz scene and/or the European improvisation avant-garde.

(c) Dominique Hamot

(c) Dominique Hamot

Under the direction of Pierre-Antoine Badaroux, the band works with jazz arrangements of the 1920’s and 1930’s, some of which are quite rare. After a meticulous period of musical research, transcription and rehearsal, the band brings this music back to life, both on stage and on record.

Adding to the ensemble’s uniqueness is the energetic, festive atmosphere the band creates, providing a joyous acoustical experience that recalls the good ol’ swing bands of almost 100 years ago. The big band happily invites their audience from all walks of life to come enjoy, and simply let go and dance to the sounds of swing!

The UMLAUT BIG BAND interprets arrangements from such American jazz luminaries as Fletcher Henderson, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Jimmie Lunceford, Casa Loma Orchestra, Duke Ellington, Chick Webb, and many others… but also from early swing European conductors, among other: the big bands’ repertoire of the British pianist Jack Hylton, the Belgian saxophonist Fud Candrix or the French violonist Jo Bouillon.

These arrangements also bring back to life an impressive collection of vintage dance moves, including the Jive, the Charleston, the Big Apple, Trucking, Swing, the Lindy Hop, the Shag, the Balboa, the Foxtrot, Bebop, and on and on!

La section trombone du Umlaut big band joue “Three’s company”

Recorded by Ken Yoshida le 27/02/2015 at the Luisant.

  • Fidel Fourneyron – Trombone
  • Michaël Ballue – Trombone
  • Nicolas Grimonprez – Trombone
  • Bruno Ruder – Piano
  • Sebastien Beliah – Double bass
  • Antonin Gerbal – Drums
  • Pierre-Antoine Badaroux – Transcription

The orchestra has performed in international music festivals (in Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, etc.), for ballroom dance parties (including the Spirit of Lindy in Paris), and most frequently for popular dancing events.

For their new record, the band chooses to focus closer to home, on early Jazz in Europe (1926-1940). After amusical arhceological research, Pierre-Antoine Badaroux and his orchestra built a new repertoire based on the work of European musicians who discovered and took over jazz. These 17 tracks and a fascinating booklet tell us the amazing story of the jazz birth in this new territory at a very special time, and brings to life a music that made our jazz history.

The big band’s first record Nelson’s Jacket (2013) was a tribute to five American arrangers of the 1930’s: Gene Gifford, Will Hudson, John Nesbitt, Benny Carter and Mary Lou Williams.

Both albums were released on the Umlaut Records‘ label.


Photo – Simon Lambert