Fred Dompke, bandoneón virtuoso and jazz bandoneón pioneer. Fred Dompke, bandoneón virtuoso and jazz bandoneón pioneer.

Fred Dömpke

Pioneer of bandoneón in jazz

The bandoneón is conquering a significant role in jazz. Many bandoneón players are exploring this genre and are enriching it with interesting sounds and musical feelings, especially from tango.

Thanks to an assiduous German reader of this blog, I discovered a mysterious and unknown musician from the '30s and' 40s that played with a clear jazzy style: Fred Dömpke.

I have already written about an almost unknown German bandoneón virtuoso, Walther Porschmann. If in the case of Porschmann the information is scarce, in the case of Fred Dömpke it is practically zero.

78rpm, polka by W. Porschmann played by F. Dompke.
F. Dömpke playing a polka composed W. Porschmann: did they know each other?

All I was able to find are some YouTube videos, citations in books and documents, and a collaboration mention with the Alfred Arnold factory (today he would probably be considered an endorser).

Fred Dompke mentioned in Radio Barcelona program, 1948.
Dömpke mentioned in Radio Barcelona program, 1948

By listening to the available recordings, it is clear that he was also a virtuoso and that he played the Swing style. Moreover, it was not so strange that in those years the bellows instruments complemented the Swing orchestras: some coeval formations of Duke Ellington could be an example.

Cornell Smelser, fisarmonicista che suonò con Duke Ellington.
Cornell Smelser, accordion player in early Duke Ellington orchestras.

Unfortunately, the information I have been able to find on Fred Dompke stops there. I invite all those who have more information to share it, it will be published here on the blog.

I leave you with a selection of two songs from the several ones that are available on YouTube.
Happy listening!


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