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The Ondioline Orchestra feat. Dick Hyman & Jean​-​Jacques Perrey - Cigale

from Jean​-​Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline by Jean-Jacques Perrey

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‘Cigale’ is one of the few pieces of music penned by Georges Jenny, inventor of the Ondioline. Accounts of others exist - ‘La Berceuse à l’enfant qui ne vivra pas’ (‘The Lullaby for the Child Who Will Not Live’), written just before WWII, and later ‘Fou de Vence’ (‘Crazy About Vence’) - though recordings of these tunes remain elusive. Perrey recounts that Jenny had the melody for some time before asking him to flesh it out into a complete song.

Carroll Bratman was very taken with the melody of ‘Cigale’, as he was with the sound of the Ondioline too, so - looking for avenues to get the instrument heard by a wider audience - he commissioned the recording session that resulted in this and one other marvelous piece of Ondioline music.

The other song from the session was ‘North Beach’, written by Dick Hyman, a jazz pianist, organist, arranger and composer who later, like Perrey, took an interest in the Moog modular synthesizer. Perrey and Hyman had previously performed together on multiple Ondiolines on Arthur Godfrey’s radio show to promote the little electronic instrument that was still entirely new to American ears.

Hyman helmed the three hour recording session at A&R Studios, New York with six other musicians on June 2, 1964, the ensemble dubbed The Ondioline Orchestra. Listening to the richness and musicality of textures and performances across these two tracks it’s remarkable to think they were recorded in such a quick session; it’s testament not just to the incredible level of musicianship of New York’s session players of the mid 1960s, but also the studio engineers that could record great performers with sensitivity and detail.

Notes from Dick Hyman’s archive show that none of the major record labels pitched the tracks took an interest in releasing the recordings.

‘Cigale’ is released here for the first time.


from Jean​-​Jacques Perrey et son Ondioline, track released June 2, 1964
Georges Jenny - composer
Dick Hyman - producer, arranger
Jean-Jacques Perrey - Ondioline


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Jean-Jacques Perrey Switzerland

Jean-Jacques Perrey (1929-2016) was an alternative pop visionary, pioneer of rhythmic tape-edit sampling techniques, and virtuoso of the rare French electronic musical instrument, the Ondioline.

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