Jos Aerts

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Best-known for his association with the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, this Belgian drummer began performing as a child in revues, and as a teenager played in local combos in both Antwerp and…
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Best-known for his association with the great jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt, this Belgian drummer began performing as a child in revues, and as a teenager played in local combos in both Antwerp and Ostend. In the late '20s he was hired to play drums in the big band of Charles Remue, his first inkling that he might have what it takes for what is considered the hardest of jazz drumming assignments, the big band. He continued in this context and played in orchestras led by Gus Deloof in 1931 and Jack de Vries the following year. In 1936, Stan Brenders grabbed the drummer for his new big band, which later became the official jazz orchestra for Belgian radio, a position it held until the end of World War II.

The postwar drumming art of Aerts arose behind leaders including Fud Candrix and Jean Omer as well as a continuing relationship with the somewhat aloof Deloof. Gigs with Candrix continued in the early '50s, as did a stint with the Peter Sisters, reedman Louis Billen, and finally the busy bandleader David Bee in 1956. Aerts was in and out of recording studios beginning in the late '20s, accompanying many of the bandleaders he worked with such as Remue, De Vries, and Candrix as well as freelance assignments for pianist Johnny Jack and the formidable Eddie Tower. None of these tracks have gotten the attention given to the collaborations, Aerts on the drum throne, between Reinhardt and bandleader Brenders in the early '40s.