Biguines Pour Vous

by Orchestre Typique Transatlantique

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Martinique 03:03
Tes Yeux! 02:59
Cherie 03:38
El Vagabundo 03:05
Miranda 03:02
Rate La 03:16
Renée 03:21


In this album, we present our versions of 13 Biguines, Valses, and Mazouks from some of the great dance orchestras of Martinique and Guadeloupe from the 1920s-1950s. This music was one of the many creole forms of music which evolved throughout the world in the early 20th century as a result of colonization and its aftermath. The somewhat unlikely combination of French ballroom dance forms and African rhythms in these Caribbean islands gave birth to this exciting and rambunctious style of music in the early 20th century. Musicians such as Alexandre Stellio brought the style to Paris in the 1920s and 30s and sparked an international Biguine sensation that predated the later international crazes for other Caribbean and South American music styles such as the mambo, tango, calypso, and bossa nova. The music's strong percussion sections, unusual swooping clarinet and trombone melodies, and undeniable tropical aesthetic survive today on the great recordings by Stellio, Eugene Delouche, Alphonso, and many others.


After the coronavirus pandemic wiped out all of our gigs this spring, I started working on the "House Bound Jazz" project, overdubbing hot 1920s and 30s style jazz with my colleagues around the world. One track we put out was a Stellio biguine, "Renee," spearheaded by Michael McQuaid, my long time friend and musical colleague. The tune turned out so well, we decided to record a whole overdubbed album in the style, with everyone recording our individual parts at home during the quarantine.

It was Michael who introduced me to this amazing style of music several years ago, having studied Martinican clarinet styles from the old records for many years. We enlisted Nicholas Ball and Martin Wheatley, our bandmates from the Vitality Five, for the project. Nick is not only an expert on 1920's drumming but also an extremely versatile percussionist heard here on a variety of drums, shakers, bells and other instruments. Martin is likewise an enthusiast of many styles of acoustic music from around the world and a virtuoso on a wide range of plucked instruments. In addition to his regular guitar, he brought out several banjos and a resonator tenor guitar to fill out the sound of the many instruments played in Martinican orchestras of the 20s. We are also very excited to feature the great New Orleans trombonist Charlie Halloran, who has been playing a variety of biguine and calypso music with his band in New Orleans for many years, and has really figured out the key to the searing and exciting trombone playing in this style.

We've re-arranged these songs somewhat to fit our instrumentation and the constraints of the overdubbing process, and as musicians primarily specializing in 1920s and 30s jazz, we've added a bit of that flavor to the proceedings. Jazz and Biguine were very close cousins in their historical mix of influences and certainly in the Parisian nightclub scene of the 20s and 30s, and we hope you enjoy a bit of that atmosphere in this album!


released August 7, 2020

Michael McQuaid - clarinet and alto sax
Charlie Halloran - trombone
Martin Wheatley - guitar, tenor guitar, banjo, plectrum banjo
Andrew Oliver - piano
Nicholas D. Ball - drums, percussion

Recorded individually at home March-June 2020 in London (McQuaid, Wheatley, Oliver, Ball) and New Orleans (Halloran).

Edited, mixed and mastered by Andrew Oliver

Cover art by Nicholas D. Ball

Original compositions/recordings by:
Tracks 1, 2, 4, 7 - Eugene Delouche et l'Orchestre Del's Jazz Biguine
Tracks 3, 11 - Alphonso et son Orchestre
Tracks 5, 8, 10, 12, 13 - Orchestre Antillais de Alexandre Stellio
Track 6 - Orchestre Typique Martiniquais Charlery-Delouche
Track 9 - Lionel Belasco
Transcribed and arranged by Michael McQuaid (1, 2, 4, 5, 7-10, 12) and Andrew Oliver (3, 6, 11, 13)


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Andrew Oliver Portland, Oregon

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