Rare records of John Gelder with Bill Coleman and Albert Nicholas in Brussels (1955/1957)

Sometime, in the mid 50s, the trumpet player Bill Coleman (or was is Albert Nicholas on clarinet - both played with us at that time) was in concert at the Brussels University - ULB - with Johnny GELDER & his New-Orleans Jazz Band.

Some German students came over specially from Frankfurt or München and recorded the full concert. Who are they, are they still, where are they ? Does this original document still exist ?

We are interested in any information or tips concerning those hours of a top Jazz moment with these rare musicians.

John Gelder Jazz Band
John Gelder with Albert Nicholas performing in Brussels at the Jazz Club, La Rose Noire, +Blues for Duke - in the late-mid fifties.
(on trombone: Claude George - on trumpet: Henry Carels).

Here is a sample of John on soprano sax on a RTB session (with Jean Fanis piano, Jean-Jacques Laydu trumpet, Bob Colmant banjo, Benoît Quersin bass  & "Bodache" Léon Demeuldre  drums).

Brief history of Jazz in Brussels

La Rose Noire

The great Jazz period started in the 40s in Brussels.
1950: Louis Laydu opened "La Rose Noire" (inspired by the parisian "La Rose Rouge", meeting point of the top emerging French and confirmed American Jazz stars). Louis’ brother, Jean-Jacques, started the first New-Orleans jazz band in Belgium with John Gelder at the banjo. A well known family, the Laydu’s, at that time; a third brother, Claude Laydu had his fame as an actor in Le Journal d’un curé de campagne of Robert Bresson. When Jean-Jacques left, John Gelder - who in the meantime had adopted the clarinet and the soprano saxo -, founded his New-Orleans Jazz-band with J. Phanis at the piano, L. Bodache at the drums, H. Carels at the trumpet, Claude George at the trombone, R. Colmand at the Guitar, Benoît Guersain at the Bass, offering a full Old style repertoire (the then popular Louis Armstrong’s Hot-Five & Hot-Seven) and middle-jazz. They toured in Belgium and France, with hosts like Bill Coleman and Albert Nicholas.

The Rose Noire, Petite rue des Bouchers, in the centre of Brussels, two steps ahead from the "Grande Place", was during a decade the meeting point of Jazz, rallying and initiating a growing young public. Many international Stars who performed in Brussels in concert came to the Rose as free guests : members from the crew of Ellington, Basie, Dizzy, Clifford Brown, Parker… Some exclusive nights, occasional guests, like Roy Elridge, Django Reinhardt and the now (inter)national star Toots Thielemans joined the Gelder-Band for jam sessions.

Early-fifties, at the small "Grenier" on the first floor of La Rose Noire, a young Belgian "Chanteur-compositeur", started modestly his career : Jacques Brel. At three or four tables, groovy couples where flirting and sipping wine without much attention for that guy with his rough voice singing one of his firsts songs, Quand on n’a que l’amour. He grumbled, because of what he called the horrible noise our group made on the ground-floor, says Gelder.
Late fifties : Brel was on his way to become an international star, La Rose Noire closed its doors, Bop Jazz and Rock made their coming-in… and replaced the dixieland period.


If you have any additional information, or recordings pertaining to La Rose Noire or John Gelder from that period, contact us:

Email: lacunar.org@gmail.com