*8.10.1911 – †26.2.1986, Czech conductor
The Karel Vlach Orchestra is a leading Czech dance and swing orchestra of the second half of the 20th century, mainly active in the areas of swing, pop music and popular dance music.
The formation of an independent orchestra was preceded by several groupings. They are mainly Blue Music, Charles Happy Boys and Blue Boys in which Karel Vlach worked.
In 1939, Karel Vlach renamed the Blue Boys orchestra to Karel Vlach’s orchestra. The orchestra performed in the Hall of Private Officials at Francouzská Street in Vinohrady.
Later he performed on the terraces of Střelecký Island where Inka Zemánková sang with them.
In 1940 they moved to the Alhambra on Wenceslas Square. Here the orchestra performed in the cast: Ladislav Habart, V. Růžička, Karel Vlach – saxophones, F. Klimt, J. Novák – trumpets, J. Echtner – trombone, Leopold Korbař – piano, V. Soukup – guitar, F. Hanzlík – bass and Jan Rychlík – drums. As a singer and entertainer he worked in the Arnošt Kavka orchestra.
The female vocal trio Sisters of Allan also performed with the ensemble in 1940.
By the end of World War II, the orchestra had recorded more than 120 films on record labels. The first gramophone record contained the song Ráda zpívam hot with Inka Zemánek and saxophone solo by Karel Vlach.
In 1945 Karel Vlach disbanded the original orchestra and began to build a new one.
After liberation, Karel Vlach sought inspiration from American Army orchestras. At that time, Glenn Miller was a very popular orchestra. This orchestra was extraordinary by moving away from improvisation, by strengthening the role of arranger and by very precise joint phrasing.
Karel Vlach joined his efforts to build a new band with Miloslav Ducháč, who originally wanted to set up his orchestra. Part of the members of the new orchestra thus came from the original Vlach line-up (Vladimír Kloc), part from the circle of M. Ducháč (Vladimír Tomek, Jarda Král, Josef Poslední, Vladimír Tymich) and some were new members.
Great support for the orchestra was Karel Krautgartner, Milan Ulrych and Vladimír Raška, which Karel Vlach acquired from Brno.
The orchestra ensemble settled on: Vlastimil Kloc, Jiří Jelínek and Miroslav Kloc – trumpets, Vladimír Raška, Vladimír Petržilka and Zdeněk Kopecký – trombones, Karel Krautgartner, Zdeněk Klíma, Milan Ulrych, Vladimír Tymich and Jiří Kovář – saxophones, Leopold Korbař – piano , Vladimír Tomek – guitar, Jarda Král – bass and Josef Poslední – drums.
Sisters of Allan sang, soloist Jiřina Salačová.
The new orchestra began its activities on July 14, 1945 at Lloyd Café (though not in full line-up).
In addition to playing in a café, the orchestra also started collaborating with Jan Werich. The first theater play was Fist to the Eye in 1947. The Divinor Pot followed.
After February 1948, the orchestra found an ever stronger background in the theater. The new regime tried to destroy the orchestra by promoting the Western way of life. Public performance, radio and recording activities were then very limited.
In 1950, trumpeter and singer Richard Kubernát joined the orchestra and became the head of the trumpet section.
In the years 1953-1954, the orchestra was a national enterprise of the Czechoslovak Circus, Variety Show and Funfair.
Since 1954, the orchestra has returned to the theater on Vodičkova Street. Here in March 1955 he played the play “Lemonade Joe” or “Horse Opera” (in 1964 he got a film version, see “Lemonade Joe” or “Horse Opera”). Gradually, the orchestra also applied to film music The Circus Will! (1954) and Music from Mars (1955) with the music of composer and drummer from the first orchestra of Jan Rychlík. The animated film Creation of the World followed.
The Czechoslovak Radio Dance Orchestra (TOČR) was founded in 1960 and Karel Krautgartner was in charge of his leadership. Along with him, Milan Ulrych, Richard Kubernát, Jiří Jelínek, Ladislav Pikart and Vladimír Tomek left for the new orchestra.
The management of the saxophone section was taken over by Jaromír Honzák. The orchestra started working with singer Milan Chladil and singer Yvetta Simonova.
Since 1961, he has been accompanied by a TV contest “Songs for Tomorrow” moderated by Vladimír Dvořák. They accompanied Karel Gott, Karel Hala, Waldemar Matušek and others.
In 1986, the founder and bandleader Karel Vlach died.