Co-chaired by legendary bop drummer Kenny Clarke
and Belgian-born pianist/composer Francy Boland
, the Clarke-Boland Big Band
ranked among the top European orchestras of the '60s and early '70s. The group formed in 1960 following Clarke's relocation to Paris; originally, he and Boland
-- fresh off a stint as an arranger for Kurt Edelhagen
's German-based orchestra -- teamed in a sextet setting, quickly followed by an octet; the roster continued to grow, however, and soon a big band comprised of other American expatriates and top European players was in place. After earning a reputation as a major live force, the Clarke-Boland Big Band
finally made their recorded debut with the 1962 LP Jazz Is Universal; over a dozen more albums followed prior to the group's 1973 dissolution.