Petite Fleur was introduced in 1952 by clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Sidney Bechet during his years in France. Bechet recorded the song twice that year, first with the Sidney Bechet All Stars and then with Claude Luter and his orchestra.
Despite two more recordings by Luter and several performances by Bechet, Petite Fleur did not create much interest among musicians until 1959. British trombonist and bandleader Chris Barber recorded the song in 1955 and 1956. The second version was included on the album Chris Barber Plays – Vol. 3. in 1958 and also issued as a single, featuring Monty Sunshine on clarinet and Chris Barber on string bass. Although the single initially failed, it was reissued in 1959 when it finally became an international success and Petite Fleur a much covered solo clarinet classic.
The first Brazilian recording was probably by Sol Stein on his album Boite em Sua Casa Vol. 1 – Encontro no au Bon Gourmet in late 1958. In 1959, Petite Fleur was released on at least six singles, including three A-sides by Roberto Luna, Booker Pittman and Guylaine Guy, as well as about a dozen albums.
Performed as an imposing soulful bolero, Roberto Luna recorded the only vocal version with lyrics provided by Fred Jorge.
Despite these versions, the one by Bob Crosby, youngest brother of Bing Crosby, became the most successful one in Brazil, finishing the year-end charts of 1959 at number 19.
Selected recordings of Petite Fleur:
1. Roberto Luna from the single Pequena Flor (Petite Fleur) b/w Aquece-me Esta Noite (Regalame Esta Noche) (1959, RGE RGE 10.163-a)
2. Maurílio Santos from the album Convite Para Dançar Vol. 2 (1959, RCA Victor BBL 1043)
3. Renato Tito from the album Chorinhos em Hi-Fi (1959, Discobrás DLP 2007)
4. Chaim Lewak from the album Para Ouvir Amando No. 3 (1959, Copacabana CLP 11107)
5. José Menezes & Quinteto OK from the album Dançando o Sucesso No. 2 (1959, Sinter SLP 1786)
6. Orlando Ferri from the album Baile das Debutantes (1959, Chantecler CMG 2025)
7. Betinho from the album Dançante No. 1 (1959, Copacabana CLP 11130)
8. Léo Peracchi aka Os Violinos Mágicos from the album Os Violinos Mágicos No. 2 (1960, Musidisc XPL-2)
9. Willy King from the album Grande Baile No. 1 (196?, Discastro GED – 1001)
10. Booker Pittman from the album Booker Pittman + Sax Soprano = Sucesso (1965, Musidisc Hi-Fi 2118)
Selected medleys including Petite Fleur:
1. Sylvio Mazzucca from the album Baile De Sucessos (1959, Columbia LPCB 37050)
2. Octeto Columbia & João Leal Brito ‘Britinho’ from the album Sambas e Boleros (1959, Columbia LPCB 37079)
Comparative recordings of Petite Fleur:
1. Sidney Bechet with Claude Luter and his orchestra from the album Jazz Festival Concert Paris 1952 Vol. 2 (1952, Blue Note [USA] LP 7025)
2. Chris Barber’s Jazz Band from the album Chris Barber Plays Vol. 3 (1958, Pye Nixa Records [UK] NJT 505)
3. Bob Crosby & His Bobcats from the album Petite Fleur (1959, Dot [USA] DLP-3170)