Born in Brussels, September 20 1938, Freddie DERONDEis a self taught guitar player since age 9.
It is on this instrument that he performed in 1955 in the Hot Club de Belgique
competition and wins the Django Reinhardt prize.
From guitar, he moves gradually to electric bass and then to contrabass
following the inspired advice of Benoît QUERSIN.
His first opportunity to become professional is offered to him by
trumpeter Al GOYENS who takes him along with his big band for a tour around
American bases in Germany and so he follows in the steps of another great
Belgian bass player:Jean WARLAND.
Baritone sax Lennart JOHNSON discovers him in 1958, which results in new
round of tours around Germany and the rest of Europe with the International
Back in Brussels at the early sixties, he settles at "la Rose Noire"
where he jams extensively, a.o. with Bud POWELL and Clifford BROWN.
He finds Lennart JOHNSON there and during many nights, the musicians of the
musical "Free And Easy" : Phil WOODS, Clark TERRY, Sahib SHIHAB, Jerome
RICHARDSON, Melba LISTON and Quincy JONES who is the composer/arranger.
The comedy runs for two months; two months during which Freddie has the opportunity to share the stage with all these great jazzmen.
In 61, Dutch pianist Jack VAN POLL discovers him. With his trio, he plays from the Atlantic to the Oural : Austria, festivals of Antibes
(1963), Prague, Warsaw and Bucharest.
By mid sixties, Freddie DERONDE assimilated Red MITCHELL, Percy HEATH,
Paul CHAMBERS (his 1st master). Always guided by Benoît QUERSIN who runs
the Blue Note in Brussels, he discovers Scott LA FARO (with the Bill EVANS trio)
and it his an earthquake in his musical universe.
It is in this line that he will best define himself and it is this manner of
playing : velocity, off-tempo, singing, that will stick to him for good.
During the following decade, he will frequently be associated with René
THOMAS (gt), Stu MARTIN (dm) and Chet BAKER (tp), in the Belgian clubs, but
also in tours.
He accompanies : Joe HENDERSON, Lee KONITZ, Stuff SMITH, Al
COHN, Zoot SIMS, Don BYAS et Hank MOBLEY (Festival of Yvoir - summer 67).
In 68 and 69, he is present at Montreux with Philip CATHERINE and in 70:
with Stu MARTIN. That same year, he recorded "Stream" with CATHERINE, Jiggs
WHIGHAM (tb), Marc MOULIN (p)
Soon after that, he was with Philip CATHERINE (gt), Joachim
KUHN (p), Oliver JOHNSON (dm) in Jean-Luc PONTY's Experience (a remarkable concert at La Pierre
Levée in Liège).
With Chet BAKER he tours Italy.
African tour with
US saxophonist Robin KENYATTA, in quartet wih Michel HERR and US drummer Oliver JOHNSON.
In Brussels at the now defunct J. Club he accompanied Clifford JORDAN (ts).
In 1972, a newcomer pianist was to impose himself as a key figure in
Belgian jazz : Michel HERR.
Around 1973, Michel creates his fusion band SOLIS LACUS with Richard ROUSSELET (tp), Robert
JEANNE (ss,ts) and Félix SIMTAINE (drs) and Freddie will be the bassist of the first years.
Following the footsteps of the Bill EVANS trio or the Chick COREA trio sessions, Michel HERR formed a trio with Freddie and Féix SIMTAINE (drs). They recorded
"Ouverture Eclair" (LP/CD Oryx 001), still a reference album in Belgian jazz, on which HERR signed all the compositions. The trio also accompanied several soloists, a.o. Joe HENDERSON, Pepper ADAMS, etc...
Up to 1980, Freddie DERONDE appears about everywhere on the Belgian scene in
company of fellow Belgians or passing Americans like: Lou Mc CONNELL (ts,ss,
fl), Phil RAPHAEL (p), Art TAYLOR (dm), Ted CURSON (tp) with whom he
recorded, Jon EARDLEY (tp), Pepper ADAMS (bar. sax), J.R. MONTEROSE (ts, ss) who is to become his most faithful companion in music.
He also appeared with jazz-rock group of Philip CATHERINE and Marc MOULIN, CASINO RAILWAY, and even pop/rock band WALLACE COLLECTION co-led by another jazz figure: Marc HEROUET (p).
In 1981, it is under his name that he performed at Cascais Jazz festival (Portugal) with Michel HERR (p), Ferdinand POVEL (ts) et John ENGELS (dm).
From 83 to 87, Freddie DERONDE, gravely ill, remains off scene until J.R.
MONTEROSE (also recovering from serious health problems and a car accident) calls
He tours with the the American tenor sax during few weeks in the state of New York,
replacing Teddy KOTICK.
In 1989, Freddie achieved a magistral come-back with the recording
of his own album, "Spontaneous Effort" (Igloo IGL 081) which united MONTEROSE, CATHERINE,
Herr and Jan DE HAAS ( dm). Three compositions by Freddie, featuring the contrabass are on it : Fitch's Field, Feux Follets and Tune for Angie, three standards : What's New,
All The Things You Are, Concerto and not less than four original
compositions of his faithful friend, J.R. MONTEROSE : Alone Again, A Little
Pleasure, Ready For Freddie, Phyllis The Queen Of Heart.
Until the death of MONTEROSE from cancer in September 1993, Freddie
DERONDE led a career mainly tilted toward the U.S., where he did at least
two tours per year.
In Belgium he performed in trio with Diederik WISSELS or
Michel HERR (p), Dré PALLEMAERTS or Jan DE HAAS (dm).
In October 91, J.R. joined him in Belgium for a tour of great quality
with pianist Michel HERR and drummer Dré PALLEMAERTS during which they performed at the Brussels
Travers club, at la Ferme de la Madelone in Gouvy and at Jazzkave of Lauwe.
For his last public appearances, Freddie DERONDE proposed groups featuring Erwin VANN (ss,ts),
Bert JORIS (tp) (1992), Peter HERTMANS (gt) (1993) and Jan DE HAAS (drs).
For the new 94-95 season, Freddie DERONDE put together a pianoless quartet which is reminiscent of the marvelous exchanges which united Chet BAKER and René
The quartet is composed of guitarist Jacques PIROTTON, trumpeter Gino
LATTUCA and Jan DE HAAS on drums.
In 2004, Freddie played a concert of which the theme was a tribute to his master Scott LA FARO.
The following years, after a stroke, he was forced into inactivity.
He died on January 6, 2012 from liver cancer.
Photos : Jacky Lepage