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Roger Asselberghs
Information Discography
Instrument(s) Clarinet, Baritone saxophone
Date of birth May 13, 1925
Place of birth Antwerp
Date of death October 26, 2013
Born in Antwerp, May 13 1925, to a family well acquainted with the musical scene, members of the Hot Club of Belgium, he starts playing the flute, harmonica and tries his hand at the piano.
His first contacts with jazz are through listening to records of Benny Goodman, Count Basie and Artie Shaw. He decided to purchase a clarinet which he learns to play as a self-taught musician.

In 1944 he has his 1st job with the well known orchestra of guitar player Marcel Bossu.
After few months with the orchestra, follows another stint in the Benny Goodman style quartet of Coco Colignon.
He befriends Jack Sels, who was not yet a musician at that time, and transmits him his passion for music.

Together, in 1945, they meet Mickey Bunner, a bandleader who hired them to form his famous octet which also included a.o. Jean Fanis, Rudy Frankel.
The octet made a tour for the American army.

Back in Belgium he meets Sadi, Toots Thielemans, Herman Sandy, Francis Coppieters, Christian Kellens, Benoît Quersin and other names of that period.

In 1946 -47 he plays a lot in Liège with René Thomas, Bobby Jaspar and Jacques Pelzer.

Thereafter, he is doing his military service, '48-'49, where he meets Fernand Terby, Nicolas Fissette, Jean Carnin and Jean Blaton, his first experience of big orchestra.

At that same period, Jack Sels sets up his large orchestra " BOP-AFRO-CUBAIN" similar to that of Dizzy Gillespie, where he plays the baritone sax.

End 1949 he is hired to play with the "Jump College" orchestra.
Later on he accompanied American celebrities such as Sydney Bechet, Roy Eldridge, James Moody, Kenny Clarke, Bud Clayton... as well as many known Europeans of the time.

In 1952 he tours with Dizzy Gillespie following with a tour with singers/songwriters Jacques Brel and Sacha Distel.

Member of the "Chamber Music Orchestra" of Jack Sels, as a baritone sax player, he meets Alex Scorier, Paul Dubois, Johnny Dover, Roger Vanhaverbeke.
Also, during many years he is a member of the Antwerp orchestra, of his friend, pianist Paul Vanhecke, playing the clarinet.

Between 1952 1954 he tours around Europe with the Jack Sels orchestra, plays at the Madrid Ritz with Léo Souris.

1957 he joins the R.T.B. (Belgian radio) orchestra under the direction of Léo Souris, followed by a tour of "Les jeunesses Musicales" around Africa, accompanied by Léo Souris, Benoît Quersin, Jacques Pelzer, Herman Sandy and Johnny Peret.

Meanwhile, he became interested in photography and undertakes studies in Germany and the US, and as consequence reduces his musical activities. Nevertheless, he becomes a backbone of the "Rose Noire" during the world expo of '58 and meets Philip Catherine, Jean-Louis Viale, Daniel Humair and many others.

"Haunted' by jazz, in 1979 he decided to focus on the clarinet again, took lessons at a music academy, where he spent 4 years.

Thereafter, he likes to be surrounded by young musicians with whom he performed (Charles Loos, Bert Joris, Paolo Radoni, Philippe Aerts, Jean-Louis Rassinfosse, Tony Ghyselinck, etc...).

His favorite clarinet players were Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw and Buddy De Franco.

He died after a long illness in October 2013.

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