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Jean Omer
Information Discography
Instrument(s) Clarinet, Alto saxophone, Tenor saxophone, Soprano saxophone, Violin
Date of birth 1912
Place of birth Nivelles
Date of death May 30, 1994
Place of death Brussels
Born in 1912 in a musical family, he started playing the violin, then saxophone and clarinet.
He leas his first band at the age of 16. Professionnal at an early age, he joins "Billy Smith and his International Aces", band which plays in France, Italy.
Afterwards, he plays with "Leo Herman and his Red Hotters", and tours a.o. in Italy.

Jean Omer, back in Brussels, founds his own band, the "Hot Melodians".

He also plays with band of saxophonist Fud Candrix.

With poet and jazzfan Robert Goffin, he travels to the USA and makes many contacts in the jazz scene.

Back in Brussels, he opens his own club, the "Cotton Club", where he leads his own big band.

In 1937, he opens a cabaret in Brussels, the "Boeuf sur le toit", originally a dance hall, but jazz has an important presence in it. His orchestra features guests such as singers Annie Xhoffleer (Nl) and Joan Daniels (USA), and top Belgian and European jazz players such as Robert De Kers, David Bee, John Ouwerx, Ernst van ’t Hof , Harry Pohl, Gus Deloof, Jean Robert etc...

On November 5, 1938, at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, his orchestra invites US saxophone legend Coleman Hawkins.

In the dark years of World War II, he disbands his orchestra for a while, then rebuilds it in 1941 and remains active in the "Boeuf sur le toit" in Brussels, with musicians like Rudy Bruder and Gus Clarck, piano; Jean Robert and Victor Ingeveldt, tenor sax; Janot Morales and Louis De Haes, trumpet, Gaston Bogaerts, drums; Jean Delahaut, bass; Jo van Wetter and Frank Engelen, guitar; Nick Frerar, Albert Brinkhuyzen and Roger Squinquel, trombone.

He occasionally replaces Stan Brenders when he is busy, conducting the INR/NIR (radio) jazz orchestra.

He also plays in Germany in 1942 in the Delphi Palast, sometimes under his name, sometimes using another name for the band.

After World War II, he leads in 1946 and 1947 the "Grand Orchestre du Sporting" in Monte-Carlo, with 22 musicians and 2 singers.

In 1948, he reopens the "Boeuf sur le toit" with a new formula, including "revues" and "music hall" acts.

After many years of success, the cabaret closes its doors in 1967 and the building is demolished. Jean Omer then opens in the heart of Brussels another cabaret, "La Nouvelle Gaity". He will soon share the management with Paul Gotlieb, which led to a change of name into "Chez Paul au Gaity". May years of success follow, until 1982.

Jean Omer died in Brussels on May 30, 1994 at the age of 82.

He made more than 80 recordings with various big bands. One of his better known recordings is "Harlem Swing", composed by Gus Deloof. Peter Packay was one of his arrangers.
His recordings have been published by Columbia, Decca, Brunswick, Victory, Ronex. As a sideman, he recorded some sides with Gus Deloof (Pathé) and Rudy Bruder (Decca, Gramophon, Voix de son Maître).

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