Unfortunately the information on these musicians is very skimpy. Biographical data are almost impossible to come by. The information contained herein has largely been gleaned from liner notes on various records, many of which I bought at foreign flea markets. Inquiries in Germany at Jazz societies, Jazz clubs or organizations of that kind have disgracefully fallen on deaf ears. Jazz lexicons have been next to useless
Bartton was born in the USA in 1890, but was musically active in the 1920’s Germany. He played as a sideman with a variety of German bands before embarking on his own band leading career. Some of the orchestras he played in were the Bernard Ette band and the Julian Fuhs orchestra. He was regarded in Berlin as a ‘musicians musician’, an enviable reputation indeed when considering the tremendous amount of fine, conservatory trained musicians who worked there. Barton’s band was one of the very first real Swing orchestras to play anywhere. His band participated regularly in a battle of the bands, called ‘Das Goldene Saxophon’ (‘The Golden Saxophone’), a spectacular which attracted thousands of fans.
It was this battle-of-the-bands which was the inspiration for the battle of the bands in the USA much later, particulalry the battle of the saxophones, a regular feature of Jazz At The Philharmonic concerts in the 1950’s.
Born in the capital of Silesia Breslau in the year 1912 reed player Bauschke was known for his wit and easy going nature, the latter not exactly an ideal characteristic for a band leader. His nick name was ‘Funny’ and few things could upset him. He had been a sought after musician on the Berlin scene throughout the late 1920’s and ’30’s and had played with a large number of prominent bands. When James Kok returned to Rumania, he took with him a number of excellent Jewish musicians so it was up to Bauschke to fill the voids which had been left. His easy-going nature made it a bit difficult, but he soon had the former Kok-band back together, albeit on a somewhat smaller scale and with largely different personnel. He also succeeded in re-activating the recording contract with Deutsche Grammophon, a contract which had become null and void, due to Koks absence. This recording contract served to a large degree to furnish a solid financial basis for the band which ended up being one of the most popular and successful ones on the scene in Berlin. He died on 10-10-1945 at Frankfurt a.M. Possibly he was murdered by neglect or starvation in one of Eisenhower’s death camps. For an excellent example of their music try to obtain ‘Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft’ LP; 2664 207 or cassette; 3578139.
Born in 1897 in Kiev with the name of Leon Goltzman, this Jewish violinist led a fine band in Berlin during the late 1920’s. This band featured amongst many excellent soloists the English trumpeter Howard Mc Farlane, the German-American guitarist-banjoist Harold Kirchstein who became a fixture on the German Jazz scene for many years and a man who later on in the 1950’s became successful as a German song writer of pop and film music – pianist Franz Grothe. The Bela orchestra won a musical prize of importance in 1931, ‘Das Goldene Saxophon’. He left Germany late in 1933 and died in Argentina sometime in 1978.
Freddie Brocksieper – Primo Angeli
Here we have an excellent drummer who enjoyed the nick name ‘Germany’s Gene Krupa’ and not without justification. He was born of a German father and a Greek-Turkish mother near Instanbul but grew up in the metropolitan atmosphere of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, Munich. His father, an engineer wanted him to follow in his footsteps, but Brocksieper decided to become a Jazz drummer instead, a risky decision anytime, anyplace. How and where he studied is anybody’s guess, but he ended up being a reral force in the vibrant entertainment scene of the Bavarian capital. Toward the end of the 1930’s he decided to go to where the real action was, Berlin and immediately after his arrival made contact with important personages in the incredibly active night club industry. It must be remembered here that Berlin was the place to be, whether a musician, an actor, a dancer, a commedian, you name it – this was the place. Soon Bricksieper was so much in demand that he could literally pick and choose, a rare luxury for a musician. He ended up forming his own groups hiring some of the finest musicians on the scene, including Jossee Breyere trombone, Primo Angeli harpsichord, Otto Tittmann bass and a variety of Italian trumpet players. Here we have Brocksieper doing what violinist Helmut Zacharias had done, including a harpsichord in a Jazz ensemble. Furthermore, Brocksieper dispensed with the usual reed section. In short, his groups were experimental, not that that did him any good later on. German and other Jazz encyclopaedias have either totally ignored Brocksieper, or transformed him into a mere footnote. He also hired the Belgian (Dutch?) pianist Hans Vlig van der Sys as an arranger. The rhythm group of Otto Tittmann bass, Primo Angeli piano and harpsichord as well as Freddie Brocksieper drums ranks amongst the best worldwide of that era.
Primo Angeli, the pianist had in the meantime married a German pop singer and had settled permanently in Berlin. Whether he played with Brocksieper after the Goetterdaemmerung I don’t know. He did stay in Germany and appeared in Berlin night clubs on and off as a pianist specializing in Boogie Woogie, even though he was essentially a Jess Stacey-type player. Angeli died sometimes in 2001. Brocksie, as his friends called him, managed to rebuilt a career in Munich during the 1950’s where he again became a force on the Jazz scene. He recorded with visiting Lionel Hampton in the early 1950’s and was a regular feature playing with visiting American Jazzmen.
Bursinski was a Berlin trumpeter and arranger almost unknown outside of the metropolis. He was born in Berlin in 1910 and died there as well on 4-26-45, probably fighting the encroaching Russian armies or during an artillery bombardment. The exact circumstances of his death are apparently not known. He formed a fine band in 1941 which included the Belgian trombonist Jossee Breyere, the Swede Folke Johansson on trombone as well, Omar Lamparter on tenorsax and others. His most famous sideman at the time was Otto Tittmann who was regarded to have been Germany’s finest bass player. Bursinski played throughout the war years in a style straddling straight dance music and Swing Jazz. His band did not feature any solists as such and the playing consisted of straight section play. Tittmann together with drummer Herbert Kysielka created a real swing-feel and drove the band along admirably well.
This unlikely name belonged to a Belgian band leader who appeared with his band in Berlin during the year 1942, an appearance which apparently marked the high point of his career. Candrix had been the most successful popular musican in Belgium, where he had worked throughout the 1930’s and had cut numerous records for the German Telefunken label. These records met with great success in all of Europe thrughout the latter 1930’s. Therefore, when Candrix appeared in Berlin he was a known entity with a fan-base in place. He played tenor sax, but rarely appeared as a soloist. His band was one of the leading Swing Jazz essembles in continental Europe.
Ette was a German of French Huegenot extraction, born and educated in Kassel. After the Gymnasium he enrolled at the Spohr Conservatory, receiving training as a concert violinist and concert master. What set him apart from other German conservatory trained violinists was his ability as a showman. He fell in love with the sound of the American Paul Whiteman orchestra and ended up leading a band of 22 musicians. His very first orchestra was founded at ‘The Kurhaus’ in the idyllic heart resort and spa city of Bad Nauheim, located at the foothills of the Taunus mountains. Bad Nauheim was one of the playgrounds of the International Set during the early part of the 20th. century. Its distinguished guests included Emperor Haile Selassie, newspaper magnate Hearst and family, actress Bette Davis, The Royal Russian family etc. To lead the official ‘Kur Orchestra’ in such a city was something musicians only dreamed of! He was one of the very first musicians world wide to employ the new medium, radio, to popularize his music. His band was thought of as a symphonic Jazz orchestra, there again, in deference to Paul Whiteman. Exactly when he made his move to Berlin I have been unable to determine. The precision and musicianship of his band was extraordinary, even by the Berlin-standards of the day and his appearances were regularly accompanied by enthusiastic applause lasting sometimes 5 to 10 minutes. One of his stars was the Canadian trumpeter Johnny Dixon, who had previously played in Paris and was a hot-Jazz soloist par excellence. Christian Wagner occupied the alto-sax chair, Peter Rasmussen from Danmark was the trombone soloist and the American guitar player Tony Morello (a forebear of Brubeck drummer Joe Morello 40 years later?) lend outstanding support to the rhythm section. After WW2, he ended up in obscurity as a dance band musician. He died in 1973.
Fuhs was a German-American pianist who led a credible band in Berlin during the middle 1920’s, a band which qualifies as a Jazz band due to its popularization and specialization of the ‘new Jazz-dance’ from the US, the Charleston. He was born in Berlin, went to the US in 1916, became an American citizen in 1919, but returned to Berlin in 1921. He studied at the famed Stern Conservatory in Berlin. In 1933 he left and settled to a life of obscurity in Miami Beach where he died in the 1970’s. Fuhs’s band played in a highly syncopated style, which differentiated it from the more ‘sweet’ orchestras of the times. He held forth in one of Europe’s most elegant venues, the Eden Hotel and featured a fine (English?) solo trumpeter by the name of Wilbur Curtz. It was this orchestra which was the very first one worldwide to cut a record using the latest Telefunken-invented recording technique, the electric recording system which paved the way for later recording advances and spelled the end of the excellent American, mechanical system. Fuhs was the first band leader to employ a sax-section with three saxophones, indicating the future development of Swing.
Lud Gluskin. – George Haentzschel
Lud ‘ Ludwig’ Gluskin was another German-American, this one however a drummer from New York who had played for some years in Paris. Since Berlin was the undisputed mecca for musicians in Europe, he established himself there at the very popular and elegant ‘Barberina’ night club.
One thing must be remembered here -night life in Germany was characterized not only by free-living, but also by unusual luxury. There were no dives, absolutely none. One of the things the public demanded was elegance and sophistication. One must see the photos of the era to understand the invariable class of the people . It makes todays nigh-clubs look less than pedestrian. Even the most elegant social bash today seems tacky at best in comparison with the every-day night club scene in Berlin in the 1920’s and 30’s where elegance and sophistication reigned supreme.
Gluskin had brought with him outstanding American musicians such as Gene Prendergast, formerly occupying the alto-sax chair in the Jean Goldkette Orchestra, Spencer Clark, a fine bass saxophone player and Emile Christian, the trombone player of ‘The Original Dixieland Jazz Band’. In addition, he hired top German musicians such as George Haentzschel. Haentzschel developed into a ‘presence’ on the German music scene not only as a pianist and arranger, but later as writer of movie scores. As such he worked throughout the war years and during the 1950’s.
Even though Haentzschel was highly successful during the Hitler era, he managed to rebuilt a fine career during the 1950’s, only one of a handful of ‘Nazi’-musicians to be able to do so. The others who come to mind was the drummer Freddie Brocksieper, trumpeter Hurt Hohenberger, trombonist Willie Berking and violinist Helmut Zacharias. It must be remembered here, that anyone who was successful at anything during the Hitler era was branded as a ‘Nazi’ and discriminated against after the war, not just Jazz musicians.
Gluskins success was not only limited to Berlin, but he travelled widely through all of Europe, always returning to his home base at the Barberina night club. Again, what happened to him is anyone’s guess.
Die Goldenen Sieben.
‘The Golden Seven’ was a unique group not only in terms of their musical excellence, but also because they never appeared in public but rather only on Radio broadcasts and on records. As such it was one of the most sucessful groups in Europe during the 1930’s, having established a solid radio-listening audience. They were formed in the early 1930’s and consisted of the following musicians: Kurt Hohenberger (who also starred in the Oscar Joost Band) trumpet, Harold Kirchstein guitar-banjo and nominally the leader, one of Germany’s finest guitar players Hans Korseck, Franz Thon tenor sax, George Haentzschel piano, Adalbert Luczkowski violin and Bruno Saenger, also on violin. The group recorded prolifically and was featured in many movies. Another thing about this group was that it was the incubator for many of Germany’s outstanding band leaders, such as Hohenberger, Willy Berking and Franz Thon. One of the most popular German singers of the time, Rudi Schuricke also benefitted hugely from being associated with this aggregation.
Herzog was a fine, one can say, excellent hot-Jazz trumpeter who had been an integral part of the Teddy Stauffer, James Kok and subsequently Erhard Bauschke bands. Like so many soloists, he decided to form his own swing essemble, which he did in early 1938. He performed successfully until the beginning of the war, when he was forced to disband. His sidemen included amongst others the fine Italian clarinetist Lubo d’Orio, Kurt Abraham on tenor sax and Willibald Winkler on string bass. Herzog found a heroes death while fighting for his fatherland on the eastern front in 1942. He was a mere 30 years old at the time of his death.
Kurt Hohenberger – Rosita Serrano
He is one of the grand old men in German, nay European Jazz circles. A good trumpeter and highly effective band leader, he worked thrughout the war years and again in the 1950’s with great success. His band consisted of some of the finest players around, such as clarinetist Ernst Hoellerhagen, guitar player Hans Korseck and others. He was one of the original stars with Teddy Stauffer’s band. As an interesting aside, it was Hohenberger who blew the Olympic anthem at the Berlin Olympics in 1936. Hohenbergers band singer was ‘The Chilean nightingale’, Rosita Serrano, who like practically all big band singers of the time was more of a pop star than a Jazz musician. She not only was an excellent singer but a great looking lady as well and made several highly successful tours throughout Europe during the war years with the Hohenberger band. Serrano had lived and worked in Germany for many years and felt perfectly at home. Despite this she ran afoul of German authorities (she was accused of being a spy, an utter absurdity) during a concert engagement in Sweden in 1942 and never returned to Germany. She died totally forgotten in Hollywood Ca. (or possibly in Santiago de Chile?) in the middle 1990’s.
Michael Jary – Evelyn Kuenneke.
Jary was an arranger and song writer of note who had made a name for himself in German film. In 1939 he was commissioned to form a studio band for the recording company Odeon, a very important company in those days. The band he put together consisted of, amomgst others, Willie Berking trombone, Heinz Berger various reed instruments and ever present Italian pianist Primo Angeli. As his band singer, he decided on cute, young and talented Evelyn Kuenneke who was the daughter of a minor Berlin Operetta composer. This orchestra ended up being one of the most popular aggregations amongst the axis troops during the war. Evelyn Kuenneke had a coquettish voice and used Schoenbergian Sprechgesang technique similar to Marlene Dietrich, but not as frequently as the latter and almost exclusively during the ending of a tune. She became the darling of German soldiers who would gather around their little Volksempfaenger radios whenever they could to hear her sing. Her phrasing was pure Jazz and truth be told, Kuenneke was a world class Jazz singer of the times having a rock-solid sense of harmony. The Michael Jary orchestra featuring Kuenneke recorded until late in the war years and can easily be considered to have been one of the premier bands of the time.
The ‘Melody Maker’, Englands number one music magazine, called Oscar Joost one of the most distinguished German big band leaders of the era. So important was he on the European Jazz-Dance music scene, that his appearance at the newly re-opened ‘Femina’ club, was reported by the English publication. He played the violin, however how well I do not know and where he had studied is also unknown to me. I have been unable to obtain any data on him or on his orchestra, merely that he was extremely popular, straddling the fence as it were of straight dance music and Swing Jazz. Apparently he was a man of the world and a Don Juan, a charmer and a gentleman of the first order loved and admired by all who knew him, particularly the ladies. One of the most outstanding musicians of his essemble was the trompeter Kurt Hohenberger who successfully rebuilt a career in occupied Germany in the 1950’s. Another one of his fine soloists was the reed player Erich Kludas, who had previously been with James Kok and Erhard Bauschke. Joost included in his band a Bandion, for he also played Argentine Tangos, incidentally as well as an Argentine orchestra. The extraordinarily competent bandion player was Walter Poerschmann, surely one of the very few none-Argentine bandion players in music history. Poerschmann also doubled on the piano when called upon.
Parenthetically, the Bandion is a German invention which for inexplicable reasons took hold in Argentina and became an integral part of the mostly outstanding Tango Orchestras of that country.
Oscar Joost, an active member of the National Socialist party and an outspoken supporter of German music planned to form a special orchestra as an entertainment unit for German troops during WW2, but was prevented from doing so by ill health. He died in Berlin in 1942.
Franz Teddy Kleindin.
Reed player Kleindin was one of the finest Jazz soloists anywhere worldwide during his active career. He could solo with the best of them. His band leading career began during the early war years with a quartet which included the fabulous Italian pianist Primo Angeli. Walter Dobschinsky, trombonist, bassist and arranger extraordinaire played contrabass and Heinz Glagau played drums in the very best Swing-Jazz tradition reminiscent of the great George Wettling. Anyone who ever advanced the idea that German Jazz musicians during the Hitler era didn’t swing or were not permitted to play as they wanted is proven totally wrong and ill-informed by listening to Kleindin recordings, of which disgracefully only a meager handful survive. Later during the war years he expanded his quartet to a septet. Previously, during the 1930’s he played with a variety of bands, including Teddy Stauffer. He was also a featured player with Kurt Hohenberger. His career as a leader lasted throughout the war during which he recorded for Telefunken and Tempo records. His various groups played first rate Swing jazz as is evidenced by the few recordings still extant. He hustled for a living after the war like everyone else and ended up in obscurity being disgracefully ignored in Germany and absent from the jazz encyclopedias extant, despite the indubitale fact that he was on a world class level as a reed player, particularly the clarinet. His last public appearance was during a Jam Session with guitarist Coco Schumann, another forgotten German Jazz man of the Hitler era, in Berlin in 2001.
Kok was a violinist, not a soloist but a capable section player from Rumania, who had settled and worked in Germany since the very early 1920’s. After having been a sideman in a number of bands and having business acumen a la Benny Goodman, he formed his own orchestra in the spring of 1933. His original inspiration was the American Casa Loma Orchestra, whose hit ‘White Jazz’ he performed in 1935. This tune is regarded a milestone in German Jazz. Its performance was dramatized insofar as the stage went dark and each indicidual soloist was highlighted by a stage light as he was performing.
Apparently the now common light shows originated, not surprisingly in Berlin!
Kok’s soloists were some of the finest in German Jazz circles of the day consisting of Fritz Schultz or Edgar Schroeder piano, Kurt Grienbaum and Rudi Ahlers trombone, Bela Vollgraf trumpet and Kurt Wege on clarinet and Baritone sax as well as Erhard Bauschke on various reeds. Appartently Bauschke was also a sort of concert master of the band. One of the greatest hits of the orchestra was a tune entitled ‘Jazznocrazy’ which had been arranged by Sigismund Petruschka and features a brilliant alto sax solo by Kurt Wege. Another hit was ‘I only have eyes for you’, which featured a singer whose name I have been unable to ascertain, a sort of German Rudi Vallee. Whoever had translated the lyrics into the German had done an admirable job. Kok was half-Jewish and typically Jewish-confrontational, butting heads with the authorities. His constant ‘middle finger’ attitude toward German authorities resulted in his being prohibited from appearing in public. In 1935 he returned to Rumania where he founded a new band with which he travelled to Switzerland where he spent the war years.
Incidentally, he returned to his country with all of his belongings, bank accounts etc., totally unmolested. Japanese and German people in the US who had done nothing whatsoever, weren’t as lucky. Roosevelt, that paragon of democratic values, honesty and virtue put them into concentration camps after confiscating all of their belongings and essentially destroying their lives. The Germans thusly abused have never been acknowledged, have never received an apology, much less compensation. Pathologically German hating Roosevelt even had the FBI scour the South American countrysides in order to imprison Germans whose crime it had been to have been proud of Germany. The South American countries, totally dependent on the goodwill of their northern neighbor predictably caved in and Brasil even experienced cases of German settlers being lynched. Despite the German settlers having been incredibly beneficial for Brasil and representing its most productive community, the German language was prohibited in Brazil and has only recently been revived in the form of the Hunsrueck dialect.
Koks band in Berlin was taken over by his concert master, Erhard Bauschke. Kok returned to Berlin in the 1950’s remaining there in seclusion until his death.
Stauffer, a Swiss national who was active in Germany. He did not play any instrument himself, but was one of the great organizers on the German Jazz scene of the 1930’s. His group, ‘The Original Teddies’ garnered tremendous success in the Delphi-Palast during the Berlin Olympic Games in 1936. This success led to a number of European tours during which he played to full houses wherever he went. His tours culminated in a tour of England, during which he played to critical and popular success at the gigantic Variety Theater Colloseum. This is the more surprising, since English arrogance was such, that it effectively prevented any continental bands to appear in London.
The English suffered not only under the illusion of ruling the waves, but were also convinced of the superiority of their own Swing Jazz orchestras. This little tidbit of information stems from the English Jazz critic Albert McCarthy.
Not to digress, Teddy Stauffer was tremendously successful in London. While there, he discovered the singer Betty Toombs, who accompanied him to Berlin to participate in some recordings made by Telefunken. His sidemen were invariably outstanding section players and soloists such as the trombone player and arranger extraordinaire Walter Dobschinsky, who also doubled on string bass, Ernst Hoellerhagen, an excellent alto-saxist from Cologne and the accomplished drummer Polly Guggisberg. In 1941 Stauffer emigrated to Mexico, where he met and married gorgeous film star Heddy Lamar. Together with Lamar, he was responsible for building Acapulco into the vacation paradise it became.
Stech was an idealistic musician, arranger and organizer who managed to create and work with a band which must be regarded as one of the very finest and certainly the most elegant in the world. His band included some of the very best musicians not on active military service during the war. Because of the dearth of German musicians, many foreigners played with Stech, making his band a truly international one.
Why is it, that every time one mentions ‘international’ in terms of Big Bands, it’s the Germans of the Hitler era who had them! during and before wartime. Never an English band, or a French band, or God forbid! an American band, always a German band. And how is this possible, since we Germans were always so incredibly hostile to foreigners, so in-tolerant?, well at least as far as we are incessantly being told! Am I the only one here who sees something very wrong with this picture? Could it be we’ve been lied to? My God, what a concept! Must be my latent Nazism!!
It was this band which apparently served as inspiration for Harry James when James, many years later added a string section to his excellent orchestra. The string section of the Stech band actually swung hard, the entire esemble being absolutely cohesive. Willi Stech gave several concerts during the war at the Berlin Philharmonic Hall, his orchestra being featured as a Dance-Symphonic essemble. In the middle of 1944, when the incessant bombings of German civilian population centers began to interfere in every day live too much, Stech was given the responsibility of leading the Reich Dance and Entertainment orchestra, which was transferred to the city of Prague, from which he made regular broadcasts until early 1945. Whatever happened to him I have been unable to determine.
Started to learn the violin at the age of five, led a small band at the age of 15 and became a professional musician after two semesters of Law studies. He met pianist George Haentzschel who awoke in the young Steinbacher a love for ‘light’ music, that is to say dance music, which later ended up as a love for Swing style Jazz. He had in the meantime picked up the tenor saxophone which he played as a member of the Bernard Ette band in the early 1930’s. Steinbacher ended up being one of the most accomplished tenor sax players in the Berlin scene who played in numerous bands and appeared on many recordings. In 1938 he formed his own band with which he secured a recording contract with Victrola Records.This venture however was short lived due to the outbreak of WW2 during which he played for Willie Stech and made numerous recordings for short-wave radio, presumably for the various military entertainment radio stations. Toward the end of the 1930’s he wrote a hit song which was played by many different bands of the time, ‘Lampenfieber’, which means ‘Stage Fright’, a condition which has been the bane of many a musician or performer. Steinbacher’s sidemen included the following musicians of note; George Busse trumpet, Erhard Krause trombone, Walter Leschititzky violin, Heinz Weiss piano, Kurt Abraham tenor sax and the Armenian rhythm guitarist Meg Tevellian. Tevellian had lived in Germany since the early 1920’s and was in my opinion the finest rhythm guitartist in Europe. After the end of WW2, Steinbacher re-settled in Karlsruhe where he began as a music publisher and local dance band leader. When he disbanded that particular orchestra, some of the members continued on and formed the Jochen Brauer Sextet, a modern Jazz group in 1950’s Germany on which I have been unable to obtain any info.
[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsPOKoNKii4″ color=”white” theme=”light” hd=”1″]
Charlie And His Orchestra. – Lutz Templin
This was an aggregation put together by Lutz Templin, a band leader, tenor saxophonist and organizer of apparently great talent. It seems Templin led one of the government approved orchestras which of course makes him a Nazi at once according to the politically correct powers-to-be.
‘Charlie’ was a highly talented German singer and lyricist who wrote many cynical anti-English lyrics. He would take an American or English hit song and write some of the more outrageous lyrics to them, all in perfect English, none ever with dishonesty, filth, or in any manner demeaning to the English speaking world. His cynicisim, in a foreign language no less!, was fabulous. This guy was a class act when it came to propaganda! This is no doubt one of the reasons that his fate appears to be unknown and his name isn’t to be found anyplace.
Templin hired Meg Tevellian for the guitar chair, Benny de Weill clarinet, Franz Mueck piano, Eugen Henkel tenorsax and Freddie Brocksieper, the ‘German Gene Krupa’ on drums. This band played pure Jazz and was wildly successful during the early war years. Later in the war Lutz Templin led the official dance band of the Third Reich in, I believe Stuttgart. After the military collapse of Germany he led an orchestra in Stuttgart under the auspices of the American occupational forces. However what happened afterward seems to be an unknown factor. It is a safe bet he was denounced as a ‘Nazi’, imprisoned and prohibited to practice his craft, as was customarily done by the forever ‘democratic’ and freedom dispensing American occupation forces under orders of their Jewish apparatchiks. And yes, THAT is verifiable history!
Exactly that happened to the song writer of Lili Marlene, whose song was stolen from him by Jewish publishing firm (why doesn’t that astound me?) which made millions of it, without ever giving the author a penny. This fine song writer, honest and decent to the marrow of his bones man, was reduced to working as a street sweeper in Berlin after the war!
Tevellian was an Armenian guitar player and banjoist of note. He had played all over Europe, but had settled not surprisingly in beautiful Berlin in the early 1930’s. There he had appeared with a number of bands and had made a name for himself as an excellent, rock-solid rhythm guitarist of the very first order. Aside from his having been a sideman of note in a variety of German jazz bands of the era, he made a name for himself during the war leading a band on and off. In 1941, the German record label ‘Televox’ engaged Tevellian to make several recordings, for which he used a pick-up band composed of Belgian musicians from the Ernst van t’Hoff band which was playing at the Delphi Palast. The whole idea had originated with a German sound technician and jazz lover, Gerd Piek who worked for Televox, which interestingly enough was a branch enterprise of the most luxurious record store in Europe, the Televox Plattengeschaeft on the Tauenzieher Strasse in Berlin. Imagine, a record store having a recording studio as a sideline! After that, he appeared as a sideman again with amongst others, Helmut Zacharias.
The violinist Heinz Wehner started in the very early 1930’s with a small band in northern Germany working his way ‘down’ the Rhine appearing in nearly every city of consequence. He ended up in 1934 in Berlin where he soon became well known as a presence on the music scene. He soon led one of the most popular Jazz-dance groups in Berlin ending up being the band which ruled the Delphi-Palast night club. Starting in the summer of 1941, he led the entertainment unit of the military radio station in Oslo, Norway, a position he held until late 1944.
When Germany was in the final hours of her epic struggle, Heinz Wehner ended up as a common soldier on the eastern front, where he found a hero’s death in late February 1945 defending his fatherland.
Wolff must be mentioned, not so much because he was a Jazz musician (which he wasn’t), but rather because he was an important part of the large, sophisticated Berlin entertainment scene, a scene which included musical enssembles of every coloration. He enjoyed an international reputation and his appearances were regularly commented upon by the British Melody Maker magazine, sort of the barometer of the European entertainment music scene. His orchestra was a combination of hot and sweet, similar to the American Paul Whiteman band. His orchestra worked throughout the war years as an entertainment unit for the troops fighting for their fatherland. At the end of the war, he was captured by Russian troops and spent three years in a Russian prison camp. After his return to Germany in 1948, he and his wife pop singer Marlene Mathan started anew, only to drop out of music in 1954. He passed away in Berlin in 1961.
Zacharias is one of the very few pre-war musicians who enjoyed a successful career during the 1950’s, ’60’s, 70’s and even ’80’s. As a matter of fact, his career after the war can be called spectacular even if none-Jazz related. Despite his being extremely popular in Germany, Europe and South America, success in North America largely eluded him even though musicians world-wide knew and respected his work. It is no exaggeration when one says he was Stephane Grappelly’s equal, even though his taste was more commercial. Zacharias made a huge amount of money in the years after the war as a ‘sweet’ violin player being featured with a bunch of string orchestras which had absolutely no relationship to jazz music – but in the late1930’s and especially during the war years he was a jazz musician of the first order. When searching the internet for information regarding Zacharias one interestingly finds only listings of his purely commercial work of the after-war years . He was born in 1920 and started studying the violin early on in life, ending up being enrolled at the prestigious Berliner Hochschule Fuer Musik where he studied with amongst others, the violin virtuoso Fritz Kreisler. His interest in Jazz music was aroused when he heard recordings of the great Joe Venuti. During the early war years he formed a jazz group with which he appeared all over Berlin to rousing success. His group was initially patterned after the Quintet of the Hot Club de France. Soon however he changed not only the instrumentation but the character of his band totally, including a harpsicord.
It was this band which inspired the American clarinetist Artie Shaw to form his ‘Gramercy Five’ quintet in 1947, even though Jazz critics have predictably avoided mentioning this. We can’t have an American icon being influenced by a ‘Nazi’ musician!
Zacharias played and recorded thrughout the war years with his group which was entirely made up of foreign musicians. That much for all that ‘Nazi’-intolerance we are incessantly being told about.
How he spent the years 1945 to 1950 appears to be somewhat shrouded in mystery, which means he probably spent them in some prison being ‘de’nazified and subsequently hustling for something to eat, since BUYING things to eat was practically an impossibility in the years immediately after the war due to General Eisenhower’s policy of starving the German civilian population as well as murdering about a million POW’s by induced and planned starvation, disease and neglect, while the rest of Europe was drowning in food and medical supplies. Eisenhower has been alleged to have had German blood in his veins. This appears to be incorrect. His year book at West Point identifies him as ‘That Swedish Jew.
‘As mentioned at the beginning, in the 1950’s he embarked on a highly successful career as a violin player in a purely commercial setting reminiscent of the (extremely fine) Andre Kostelanez orchestra. He died in 2002.
Author: Gerry Frederics
Edited by: k0nsl (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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