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Frans Poptie


1918 - 2010


country, entertainment, jazz, session musicians, swing


Gino Morelli, Sahu Pala, Vittorio Bardi

Frans Poptie

Frans Poptie (Leiden, 3 March 1918 - Zoetermeer, 31 December 2010) is a musician versed in all kinds of popular music, and also the most faithful Dutch representative of the hot violin: 'Tango, Viennese music, jazz, country… a violin can play anything. I have no preferences. They have put in ...
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Mentioned in the biography of

1949   Eddy Christiani
1956   Piet Noordijk
1980   Tonny Nüsser
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Biography Frans Poptie

Frans Poptie (Leiden, 3 March 1918 - Zoetermeer, 31 December 2010) is a musician versed in all kinds of popular music, and also the most faithful Dutch representative of the hot violin: 'Tango, Viennese music, jazz, country… a violin can play anything. I have no preferences. They have put in my mouth that I would prefer jazz, but that is not true. What I always like to do is swing. Regardless of the style I'm playing.' (Leeuwarder Courant/GPD, 1991)

1920 - 1925

The Poptie family moves from Leiden to Amersfoort where his father gets a job as furniture-maker. Frans Poptie hears a friend playing the violin and the instrument impresses him so much he wants to play the violin himself. He receives his first violin lesson at the age of seven.

1935 - 1939

Having taken private violin lessons for ten years he gains his first stage experience playing in a salon band. For financial reasons a conservatory education is out of the question, however. He takes clarinet lessons with the intention of joining a military band, but this plan fails since he is found medically unfit for the army. He then becomes a professional musician playing the saxophone in the bands of Louis Bannet, Harry Staphorst, and Enno Stan & his Blue Rhythm.

1940 - 1943

Until September 1940 Poptie plays in the band of trumpeter Louis Bannet (sometimes called the Dutch Louis Armstrong), who finds out Poptie actually plays the violin. From that moment on Poptie starts to play his favorite instrument again. He becomes a member of the tango orchestra of Jack Louis, in the Palais de Dance in Scheveningen. In the meantime the Netherlands are occupied by the Germans. After an engagement with the Argentinian orchestra of Jack Louis Poptie gets the chance to join the orchestra of Frans Wouters. Hij accepts the offer and soon he experiences his first radio broadcast with the orchestra, also contributing arrangements. The orchestra of Wouter consists of various prominent musicians, including singer and guitarist Eddy Christiani. With Cristiani Poptie develops a strong - and succesful - musical relationship which remains through the years.

Eddy Christiani


He is in Eindhoven when the allied forces liberate the city. With other musicians stranded there he joins a band called Cor Knuvers, Bob van Waasdijk and their Jam Sessions, still playing clarinet and tenor saxophone. The outfit performs in the southern part of the Netherlands and in Antwerp. He also learns to play the English repertoire that is highly popular with the military.


Frans Poptie again joins Frans Wouters's ensemble, which initially is without its leader. Wouters is banned from playing for a year and a half, since he performed for the German occupier.

1947 - 1951

Out of the Frans Wouters ensemble two other bands emerge: Vincentino (named after Wouters's son), in which Poptie now plays the violin, and the popular Accordeola, with three accordions, for which Poptie writes the arrangements. Both ensembles often perform for VARA radio. The AVRO, another broadcasting company, starts a similar ensemble, Harmonetto, and Poptie is asked to write their arrangements, too.

1952 - 1954

Frans Poptie forms a band around guitarist/singer Eddy Christiani and now has more room for soloing. Together with others he composes songs with Dutch lyrics for this band. 'There were wonderful swing tunes with great choruses. And we had seasoned (jazz) musicians in the line-up, like Willy Langestraat and Piet Noordijk. We burnt the candle at both ends, with five [radio] shows a week, and recording sessions in between.' (Jazz Inn-Fo, 1997) Poptie, who had also been playing country & western, is getting involved in playing a kind of kroncong, Indonesian style popular music.

Piet Noordijk

1956 - 1967

In April 1955 he forms his own combo. Interrupted only by a car accident this is the start of the Swing Specials. They make their debut with an engagement for six months in Cologne. Back in the Netherlands they perform for radio and television, also for Radio Luxembourg. Poptie leads a number of combos of various sizes, performing for the NCRV radio, which starts incorporating more Swing into their programming. He also performs in Sweden and on board cruise ships. In the jazz magazine Rhythme he wins the polls of 1958, 1959 and 1960.

1970 - 1979

He is a member of pianist Piet Zonneveld's orchestra. Collaborating with pianist/songwriter Harry Bannink he gets involved with a TV show featuring actress Wieteke van Dort as the Indonesian-Dutch character Tante Lien. With (jazz)singer Joke Bruys he tours Saudi-Arabia (1970). In 1978-1979 Poptie is the musical director of two Tol Hansse albums.

Harry Bannink Joke Bruijs Tol Hansse

1980 - 2000

With Malando's tango orchestra he undertakes five tours of Japan. He plays dinner music in a hotel in Nice with pianist Tonny Eyk. He occasionally guests with the Rosenberg Trio, the band Capelino and has his own trio, in which his old pal Eddy Sanchez plays vibraphone. In 1997 Poptie and Sanchez, plus Jean-Louis van Dam (piano), George van Deijl (double bass) and Fred van Opzeeland (drums) play in Max Teeuwisse's jazzclub Bij Max in Den Oever. One song from this concert, Undecided, can be seen on YouTube. The Nederlandse Toonkunstenaarsbond (Dutch Musicians Union) appoints Frans Poptie as an honorary member. Poptie remains modest however, telling the newspaper NRC Handelsblad in 1998: 'Don't praise me too much, I don't like that.'

The Rosenberg Trio Tonny Eyk


Frans Poptie receives a Dutch knighthood, as Officier in de Orde van Oranje Nassau. In July he can be heard playing for the very last time, on the occasion of singer Sanny Day's 80th birthday. After this his medical condition prevents him from playing.

2004 - 2006

Frans Poptie has reached the age of 86. He broke his hip twice, preventing him to walk long distances, so he mostly stays at home. He doesn't perform anymore, but sometimes he gives an interview, for instance for the book Muziek in Zwart Wit (Music in Black & White) by Cor Gout (Trespassers W).

Trespassers W


Because of his ninetieth birthday on 3 March the newspaper Algemeen Dagblad publishes an extended interview.


Since about four years Poptie stays at a nursing-home in The Hague, using a wheelchair. However, he is still healthy mentally. On 30 November another interview is published by Algemeen Dagblad, this time dealing with living in a nursing-home. 'I never had so much regularity in my life,' he says dryly.


On 31 December Poptie dies in a nursing-home in Zoetermeer, aged 92.

Discography Frans Poptie

In the discography you will find all recordings that have been released listed chronologically. We restrict ourselves to the title, the type of audio, year of publication or recording, label, list of guest musicians, plus any comments on the issue.

Photos Frans Poptie

Audio/Video Frans Poptie

Video Frans Poptie

Studio Hilversum: 100 jaa...
Studio Hilversum: 100 jaar Frans Poptie (1918-2010)
Frans Poptie - Eddy Sanch...
Frans Poptie - Eddy Sanchez - 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles'
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Frans Poptie - Eddy Sanchez - 'I'm Forever Blowing Bubbles'

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