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Funky Czech-In

An introduction to Czech and Slovak pop music from the sixties, seventies and eighties with a touch of funk, soul, disco and jazz.

A rose in the window

2007-06-21

Miroslav Koželuh & TOČR/JOČR – Růže v okně
b-side of the 7 inch split single “René Glaneau – Le petit Gonzales”, 1963, Supraphon 013221
conducted by Karel Krautgartner

a TOČR/JOČR recording session in the early 1960s

a TOČR/JOČR recording session in the early 1960s

After visiting the vernissage of the Karel Krautgartner exhibition* at the Popmuseum* in Prague last week, I think it’s appropriate to add a corresponding “soundtrack”. But I’m still in Prague right now, so the choice is somewhat limited to what I have already recorded to MP3 and stored in my laptop, since my record collection happens to be in Switzerland. Hence a track which actually features another soloist of Krautgartner’s orchestra, not the leader himself.

Karel Krautgartner (1922–1982) began his music career in the 1940s as a clarinetist in various groups and orchestras in Brno, among others in an early line-up of the Gustav Brom Orchestra. In 1945 Krautgartner became member of the renowned Karel Vlach Orchestra, so he moved from Brno to Prague. Under Vlach’s leadership he became a versatile soloist on clarinet and sax, composer and arranger. In 1956 he formed his own quintet. This group eventually grew up to a nonet, building the nucleus of the future radio big band and performing with the Czech first lady of jazz Vlasta Průchová as well as with a talented young singer named Karel Gott, who in fact has been discovered by Krautgartner in the first place.

Krautgartner founded the Dance Orchestra of The Czechoslovak Radio (TOČR) in 1960. The circumstances have already been briefly described in my JOČR post from last November. After the conceptual split of the orchestra to TOČR and JOČR in 1963 Krautgartner remained its chief conductor and artistic leader. In 1967 the big band has been officially renamed (and reunited) as the Karel Krautgartner Orchestra. Then came the 21st of August 1968. Krautgartner with his family emigrated to Austria on the very same day and he never came back. In Vienna he worked as the conductor of the ORF Big Band. In the early 1970s he moved to Cologne, Germany, where he began to study musicology and taught at the Cologne conservatory until his early death in 1982.

Růže v okně (A Rose In The Window) originally was a Czech waltz, composed by Alfons Jindra for the Karel Vlach Orchestra with the singer Jiřina Salačová in the 1940s. It’s even possible that Krautgartner already was a member of the Vlach ensemble when the song was first released on an Ultraphon 78 rpm record then. TOČR’s 1960s instrumental revamp on the other hand connects the melancholic melody with a fashionable and danceable cha-cha-cha rhythm. The soloist was the trombone maestro Miroslav Koželuh. Other band members at the time of the recording (probably 1962 or 1963) might have been Ladislav Pikart, František Kryka, Bedřich Kuník, Milan Ulrich, Pavel Vitoch, Jiří Jelínek, Richard Kubernát, Václav Hybš, Arthur Hollitzer, Vladimír Tomek, Kamil Hála, Luděk Hulan and Ivan Dominák.

This track appeared as the flip side of the smash hit Le petit Gonzales (Speedy Gonzales), sung by Frenchman René Glaneau with the Sláva Kunst Orchestra. Coincidentally, I have another copy of this 7 inch for sale: check out my web shop and search for item no. 276.


* Technical note:
If you’re using a Mac you’d better view the Popmuseum site in Firefox. It doesn’t seem to render well in Safari.

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Disclaimer

The audio samples are presented as a “specimen” to encourage readers to buy the artists’ albums. Many of the tracks presented herein are available for purchase in MP3 or FLAC format at supraphonline.cz.

Copyright

All written content is © 2006– by Lukáš Machata (Lou Kash). Unauthorized use is strictly prohibited. If you’d like to use portions of my articles, please contact me first.