Glyn Paque

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The geographical location of this artist changed a great deal from his birthday to the day of his death, from a small Missouri town to a busy border metropolis in the shadow of the Swiss alps. The date…
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Artist Biography by

The geographical location of this artist changed a great deal from his birthday to the day of his death, from a small Missouri town to a busy border metropolis in the shadow of the Swiss alps. The date itself changed not a bit, other than obviously the year: Glyn Paque died of a heart attack on his birthday, some 38 years after he learned his first instrument, the piccolo. He packed an amazing amount of ensemble activity into the next three decades, participating in many key developments in the early history of syncopated music.

When he became an expatriate in the second half of the '30s, remaining in Europe with the members of the Bobby Martin Orchestra after Martin himself had gone home, Paque was just the kind of player young jazzmen in countries such as Switzerland needed to have around. By then Paque's musical background was as rich as a buttery Swiss potato "rosti."

His professional career began in the mid '20s in New York City, the clarinetist and alto saxophonist gigging in the reed sections of many orchestras and dance bands. Presumably this got him ready for the demanding bandleaders he would encounter in the next decade: King Oliver, Luis Russell and especially Jelly Roll Morton.

He eventually renamed his European group the [RoviLink="MN"]Cotton Club

Serenaders[/RoviLink], living in Switzerland but also working with French bandleaders such as Phillipe Brun and Jerry Thomas. Paque scaled his own group down to a sextet in the '40s, gigging regularly in all the major Swiss cities.