Fud Candrix had the best known Belgian band. In 1928, he made his debut as a soloist with tenor sax on a Berlin recording.
Formed his big band in 1936 and was active, and extremely popular for 20 years.
From April to August 1942, his band was resident at Berlin's famed Delphi Palace,
where Fud's band entertained members of the German armed forces member.
It is interesting to note that the 14 instrumentalists, plus singer, played all American Jazz Standards in modern
arrangements to the Nazi soldiers all during WWII. Fud had a very good Swing oriented band.
Listen to them playing Introducing Mr. Basie,
which was recorded on Nov. 22. 1940. That was so good, you may wish to hear
Fud playing "Midnight In Harlem" for an encore He recorded for Telefunken and others.
The Belgium bandleader and saxophone player Marie Alexis “Fud” Candrix was born on July 17th, 1908 in the idyllic countryside of the village Tongeren. After school, he started to study violin and music composition at the conservatory of Luik (Liège). During his studies Fud Candrix tried to start a career like his elder brother Jeff, who used to be a successful bandleader and saxophone player in Brussels during the Twenties. He followed his brother to the Belgium capital to learn clarinet and saxophone in the style like his famous idol Coleman Hawkins, whose records both brothers collected.
After a while Fud Candrix became such a virtuous player on the tenor sax that he was able to give concerts in France, Algiers and Morocco. Due to his aggressive style of blowing the saxophone he was nicknamed “Fud” after the Red Nicholls saxophonist Fud Livingston. Back in Brussels in 1930, he was hired by the bandleader Charles “Chas” Remue and toured with his band to the Netherlands. In 1932 Fud Candrix made his first attempt to found a Jazz band. He hired the black saxophone player Willie Lewis and the Belgium trumpet player Gus Deloof, with whom he continued working for many years.
In 1933 the Candrix Brothers’ Orchestra was founded. The band was inspired by the repertory and playing of the famous American Dorsey Brothers’ Orchestra. Their co-operation ended after only one year due to Fud’s military service.
After the service Fud Candrix started leading a new dance band and they had the chance to play in the “Lac aux Dames” Café in Belgium’s summer spa Oostende. Throughout the winter the young and successful orchestra performed in the “L’heure Bleue” dance club in Brussels.
Felix Faecq, a Belgium talent scout, encouraged Fud Candrix to record the jazz tune “The Oldest Swinger In Harlem” and sent it to the German record label “Telefunken”. They offered him a six year contract and started a series of American Swing tunes with the Candrix Band. They were a great supplementation to the labels exclusive Jazz dance orchestras: Heinz Wehner’s Swing band and Teddy Stauffer’s “Original Teddies”. BBC substantiates Candrix’ high standard by broadcasting “this fantastic European Swing discovery” in December 1937.
Although Fud Candrix is known as a saxophone player, in the summer of 1938 he made one single recording that is very exceptional: he played the old standard “I’ve Found A New Baby” on the violin. By using the same phrasing as he did on the saxophone his improvisation is very unique. The great jazz violin players of the Swing era Stéphane Grappelly and Joe Venuti used their own techniques so that Fud Candrix created a personal handwriting even by playing on strings.
Another non-typical recording is “Teasing The Piano” by “Coco”: Colignon on piano and just the Orchestra’s rhythm section. Colignon plays in a single note style like Count Basie who inspired many other Swing pianists with his own minimalistic style.
In the summer of 1938 the Candrix Band was reorganized to perform at the Blankenberge spa: the singer Tony “Young” Jongenelen replaced Wally Sluyzer, Gaston Backaert took over the guitar. Until World War II normally the band played in this casting of a ten musicians orchestra. In the spring of 1939 the band’s soloists formed a Swing Septet to make one recording with the Belgium jazz singer Anny Xhofleer, “Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea” .
With the beginning of the war in the fall of 1939, the Candrix Band broke up. For a few months Fud Candrix lead an entertainment orchestra for the troops’ special services.
In 1940, during the German occupation in Belgium, Fud Candrix was allowed to establish a new band. Apart from some of the former musicians like Gus Deloof on solo trumpet, Lou Logist on sax and Louis Melon on second trombone joined the band. Maurice Giegas and Lucien Devroye were added to the brass section, Jeff de Boek, himself a bandleader, took over the drums in the new Candrix Orchestra. Tony Jongenelen sang a little German, and the Japanese singer Jane Miller, who sang solely in English, joined the band.
In the summer of 1942 the Candrix Big band performed in Berlin’s “Delphi-Palast” for two months. The orchestra showed all its know-how by not only playing German songs in hot arrangements, but also Swing compositions written by members of the Candrix band. Original titles were translated to harmless German names: “Harlem Swing” became “Moderner Rhythmus” (“Modern Rhythm”) and “Metro Stomp” became
“U-Bahn Fox” (“Subway Fox”).
Fud Candrix suffered from Nazi censorship. His recording of “U-Bahn Fox” from May of 1942 was forbidden, his singer Jane Miller was sent back to Belgium and the whole orchestra was forced to play just “good German dance music”. In June of 1942 a few German “Schlager” (pop songs) were recorded, featuring the retired singer Paul Dorn. This seemed to be a kind of “excuse” to the political system, but this was the lowest Swing Music level the Fud Candrix Orchestra ever recorded.
After the war, Fud Candrix continued playing with several combos and tried a comeback during the Dixieland revival in the Fifties. He was finally respected as one of the biggest Belgium Jazz musicians shortly before his death on April 11th, 1974 in Brussels.