Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Millers: Dutch jazz sextet dir. by Ab De Molenaar (1945-1961) - Gone ....

Popular postwar DUTCH Jazz sextet reissued from early in the evening until the wee small hours of the morning, night after night, it threw a party (source: liner notes De 28 Beste van de Millers (1982)) 
Hans Koert

The Dutch Doctor Jazz Magazine, recently released its nineth album dedicated to the Dutch jazz band The Millers, directed by Ab De Molenaar: The Millers 1945-1961 onder leiding van Ab de Molenaar: Gone .... ( DJ 009)

The Millers onder leiding van Ab de Molenaar (1945-1961) - Gone... (DJ 009)(cover design: Egbert Luijs)

The Millers or Miller Sextet was founded by De Molenaar brothers ( Miller is the English word for the Dutch word Molenaar), Ab and Jochem, late 1930s as The Two Millers and during the Second World War period they performed as The Miller Quartet. That first quartet featured Ab De Molenaar on guitar, Jochem De Molenaar on bass, Joop Maten piano and Sanny Day as the vocalist.
Sanny Day, her name sounds like a pseudonym, but it isn't: she was born July 1921 as Sanny Elizabeth Day, labels the Millers, as a ritmesectie die muziek maakte, (= a rhythm section that makes music) - something rather unusual in those days. She had made her debut in the Amsterdam Sheherazade club with Manke Nelis, Maria Zamora and Jan Blok - the first two would become vaudeville artists and the latter a sought after accompanist on his guitar. At a concert by Freddy Johnson, who worked for some months in the Negro Palace in Amsterdam 1939, she was invited to sing: Please Be Kind ... Sanny Day, who had married Ab De Molenaar, can be heard on nine tracks.  After her divorce from Ab she left the Millers  mid 1950s, to make room for Suzie Møller, a vocalist Ab had met in Garmish-Partenkirchen - she can be heard on three tracks ..... Jochem De Molenaar, Ab's two years older brother, left the band in 1942 after a hell of a row, Sanny told Cor Gout.  (source: Muziek in zwart-wit - Cor Gout)

 The Millers ca. 1960 ( f.l.t.r.: Frans Van Bergen - Paul Ruys -  Arend Nijenhuis - Suzy Møller - Ab De Molenaar - Coen Van Nassau) ( photo courtesy: Wouter van Gool) ( source: Rhythme nº 42 July 1961)

During the German occupation of The Netherlands the quartet was extended with musicians like Coen Van Nassou, who played the vibraphone and Willy Van Der Mandele ( aka Jan Doedel) on violin. This Miller Sextet was very succesfull in The Hague and Scheveningen, the beach resort near the Dutch coast. They were invited to play in dance clubs, where they played their popular dutchified swinging music, Junglemuziek, as an inspector from the DutchNazi Kultuurkamer labeled the music at a concert in the Gebouw van Kunsten en Wetenschappen.  Late 1943 the band visited the Van Der Wouw studio where they debuted on a series of glass based acetates, which were released on four Sonante Records, exclusively distributed by The Bijenkorf, the well known Dutch department stores. Two songs from that series became hits: Zomernachtfeest and Als sterren fonk'ren.
 Millers-mood altijd goed!  ( sitting: Ab De Molenaar and Suzy Møller. standing f.l.t.r.: Eddie Doorenbos - Herman Schoonderwalt, Cees See, Rob Madna and Coen Van Nassau) ( source; Rhythme nº 103 April 1958)

The album Gone ..!., compiled by Skip Voogd, grand old man of Dutch jazz journalistics for ages, responsable for the liner notes and Ben Kragting jr., chief editor of Doctor Jazz Magazine, open this compilation with two tracks recorded on glass based acetates at the GTB ( = G.T. Bakker) studios, March 1945: Wenn Der Weisse Flieder Wieder Blüht and Angelina.
This reissue of Miller originals, contains reissues of 1946 Decca, Telefunken ( 1953) or Columbia ( 1958-1959) records, but also numerous unreleased recordings, like air checks for the US troups in Charleroi (Belgium) (1945) and a concert for the Nederlandse Strijdkrachten (1948), the Dutch soldiers. 
 The Miller-sextet listening to its recording of the Millers Mixture (11th of September 1957): f.l.t.r.: Ab De Molenaar - Suzie Møller - Herman Schoonderwalt - Cees See and Eddie Doorenbos ( source: Rhythme nº 97 - October 1957)

The Miller Sextet was, with the Ramblers, the Dutch Swing College Band (still alive an kicking all around the world) and the Pia Beck Trio ( Pia was a member of The Millers too, during the second half of the 1940s) one of the most popular bands of The Netherlands. The music they played was a mix of swing á la the Hot Club de France, Light Music up to the more modern mainstream jazz styles of the 1950s and 1960s. I remembered that I was fascinated by its sound, its swing, the voice of Sanny Day, the vibraphone of Coen Van Nassau, but, above all,  that music was ......  fun, real fun in the hands of The Millers. Jazz as hard to understand music was not the Millers way. I still associate tunes like Take A Letter Miss Smith and I Told Ya I Love Ya to this band and this period. They had some hits during the 1940s, like Liefde in Rhythme (1947), Chickery Chick (1946) and the forementioned 's Avonds bij het licht der sterren ( 1944)
 Ab De Molenaar, Eddie Doorenbos and Suzie Møller (11th of September 1957) ( source: Rhythme nº 97 - October 1957)

The album Gone contains 24 tracks by the Miller Sextet and a bonus track of a meeting by the vocal group The Mellow Mills, which featured Sanny Day, Pia Beck, Eddy Doorenbos and Paul Schwippert with the Seymour Östervalls Orkester in Stockholm (Sweden), March 1948.

 Het Millers Sextet: f.l.t.r.: Ab De Molenaar - Tonny Nüsser - Paul Schwippert - Rob Madna - Herman Schoonderwalt and Coen Van Nassau at a concert in De Wiek - Rotterdam ( ca. 1958) (photo courtesy: Cor Aaftink) (source: Rhythme nº 112 - January 1959) 
Skip Voogd offers very informative liner notes ( in Dutch only) which tells the story of The Millers, with a lot of information about the bands strength and its successes. He looks in the liner notes for a psychological explanation for the fact why so many people raised in the 1940s and 1950s stil love this music, this Miller sound. Volgens psychologen gaat het muziekvenster bij mensen open rond hun veertiende jaar en sluit het om en nabij het bereiken van de vijfentwintigste verjaardag (= Psychologists believe, that the musical window of each person opens at our fourteenth birthday and closes at our 25th birthday), Skip says. Daarna ontwikkelt de muzikale smaak zich niet of nauwelijks meer en blijft muziek voor iemand de muziek die in zijn of haar jeugd populair was. ( = After that period your musical taste won't change any more and the music, popular in your youth, will stay the music you like most.)
A Dutch reissue LP album, entitled De 28 beste van de Millers, confirms this  theory in its liner notes:  De teeners (sic) van toen, zijn de vijftigers van nu (= 1982), de mensen die hun muziek steeds moeizamer kunnen bemachtigen. (= The teenagers from the 1940s are in their fifties now (1982) and this music is nowadays hard to find in record shops.) Weet u nog waar de Millers jarenlang te zien en te horen waren? (= Do you still remember the places where the Millers played?) 's Zomers in de Kakatoe op het Gevers-Denootplein in Scheveningen en 's winters in De Wiek in Rotterdam. (= During the summer season they played in the Kakatoe-club at the Gevers-Denootplein in Scheveningen ( the beach resort of The Hague) and in winter at De Wiek in Rotterdam.)  Van vroeg in de avond tot in de kleine uurtjes was het daar avond in, avond uit lettelijk feest. ( = From early in the evening until the wee hours of the morning, night after night, it threw a party .... ). Helaas die heerlijke tijden zijn voorbij, maar wat blijft zijn de herinneringen en de onvergetelijke sfeervolle  muziek (= It's all gone now, but the memory lingers on  ........: Gone .... The Millers (1945-1961) onder leiding van Ab de Molenaar ( DJ 09)

Audio engineer Harry Coster, one of the compilers of this disc, is responsable for the transfers of this rare material. He did a good job, as the sound is excellent.

This great album can be ordered at the website of the Doctor Jazz Magazine,
 but also in the record shops of FAME, (Amsterdam) and the Bijenkorf in Rotterdam and Amsterdam
Hans Koert
Twitter: #keepitswinging  Facebook grouep Keep (it) Swinging ( register)

The Dutch Millers band, or The Miller Sextet, belonged, together with the Ramblers and the Dutch Swing College Band to the most popular traditional jazz and swing bands of the post war period. Its music had swing and its sound was easy recognizable and accessible. Do you remember its concerts? the liner notes of a 1982 Dutch LP-album reads: During the summer season they played in the Kakatoe-club at the Gevers-Denootplein in Scheveningen ( the beach resort of The Hague) and in winter at De Wiek in Rotterdam. From early in the evening until the wee hours of the morning, night after night, it threw a party .... - "Gone ..!", It's all gone now, but the memory lingers on........ Doctor Jazz Magazine revives these sweet memories with: The Millers onder leiding van Ab de Molenaar (1945-1961) - Gone ...!   
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