Who was Bobby Jaspar?
Bobby Jaspar (20 February 1926 – 28 February 1963) was a cool jazz and hard bop saxophonist, flautist and composer born in Liège, Belgium. He was married to the jazz singer Blossom Dearie.
As a child Jaspar learned to play piano and clarinet. He then took up the tenor sax and flute. Playing with the “Bop Shots” band was some of the first work in the jazz business. Jaspar moved to Paris in 1950, playing and recording with the best musicians of that time. He met his wife “Blossom Dearie” while in Paris.
In the mid-fifties after much consideration and encouragement from his friends and peers, Jaspar decided to try playing in the United States. This was a turning point in his career as he ended up playing and cutting records with the quintet of J. J. Johnson, with Kenny Burrell, Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Donald Byrd to name a few.
In 1961/1962, Jaspar returned to Europe for a year and played in concerts and made several recordings. Jaspar formed a successful quintet with the Belgian guitarist René Thomas. In some sessions, Chet Baker was added to form a great sextet. One of those sessions was immortalised on the record Chet Is Back, recorded in 1962.
Bobby Jaspar died from a heart attack in Febuary 1963, he was only 37.