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Co-chaired by legendary bop drummer Kenny Clarke and Belgian-born pianist/composer Francy Boland, the Clarke-Boland Big Band ranked among the top European orchestras of the '60s and early '70s. The group formed in 1960 following Clarke's relocation to Paris; originally, he and Boland — fresh off a stint as an arranger for Kurt Edelhagen's German-based orchestra — teamed in a sextet setting, quickly followed by an octet; the roster continued to grow, however, and soon a big band comprised of other American expatriates and top European players was in place. After earning a reputation as a major live force, the Clarke-Boland Big Band finally made their recorded debut with the 1962 LP Jazz Is Universal; over a dozen more albums followed prior to the group's 1973 dissolution.