Hugues Panassié

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Hugues Panassié (left) and Tiny Grimes (right), New York, N.Y., between 1946 and 1948.
Photograph by William P. Gottlieb.

Hugues Panassié (27 February 1912 – 8 December 1974)[1] was a French jazz critic and producer. His most famous works were Hot Jazz: The Guide to Swing Music and The Real Jazz, published in 1936 and 1942, respectively.

He is also remembered for financing a number of jazz records by artists such as Sidney Bechet and Tommy Ladnier.

Panassié was an admirer of the "hot" style of jazz music played by Louis Armstrong in the 1930s. He famously dismissed bebop as "a form of music distinct from jazz".[2] He looked down upon West Coast jazz as inauthentic, due to most musicians in the style being white.[citation needed]

Panassié was the founding president of the Hot Club de France (1932). During World War II he allegedly used records as a way to defy Nazi authority in France. His friend, American Mezz Mezzrow, describes one of Panassié's memorable achievements in his autobiography Really the Blues as follows:

"[The Nazi censor] was shown a record labeled La Tristesse de Saint Louis, and Hugues explained helpfully that it was a sad song written about poor Louis the Ninth, lousy with that old French tradition. What Cerberus didn't know was that underneath the phony label was a genuine RCA Victor one giving Louis Armstrong as the recording artist and stating the real name of the number: The Saint Louis Blues."

He is also known for the quote, "when [Charlie Parker] developed what was called 'Bop,' he ceased to be a real jazz musician".[2]

In 1956, RCA Victor published an LP record, Guide to Jazz (LPM 1393), a compilation including 16 recordings by prominent jazz artists with liner notes by Panassiè.


List of books Panassié wrote, or contributed to:[1]

  • Le Jazz Hot (1934)
  • La musique de Jazz et le Swing (1943)
  • Les rois du Jazz (1944)
  • La véritable musique de Jazz (1946)
  • Douze années de Jazz - Souvenirs (1946)
  • Cinq mois à New York (1947)
  • Jazz Panorama (1950)
  • Quand Mezzrow enregistre (1952)
  • Discographie critique des meilleurs disques de Jazz (1958)
  • Histoire du vrai Jazz (1959)
  • La bataille du Jazz (1965)
  • Louis Armstrong (1969, Nouvelles Editions Latines)
  • Dictionnaire du Jazz (1971)

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Biographie". 
  2. ^ a b Panassié, Hugues (1973) [1956]. Guide to Jazz. Westport CT: Greenwood Press. p. 41. ISBN 978-0-8371-6766-4.