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Fri, August 10, 2012
$20, $26, $32, $36
"He did more for the guitar than any other man in jazz. His way of playing was unlike anyone else's, and jazz is different because of him. There can be many other fine guitarists, but never can there be another Reinhardt." -- Stéphane Grappelly
“Django: the guitar with a human voice.” -- Jean Cocteau
The greatest of the European jazz bands, La Quintette du Hot Club de France emerged in 1933 from a series of backstage entre-set jam sessions by 4 members of the house band at Le Claridge Champs-Elysées: Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt, Parisian violinist Stéphane Grappelly, rhythm guitarist Roger Chaput, and bassist Louis Vola. Concert promoters Pierre Nourry and Charles Delaunay, who were co-founders with Hugues Panassié of the jazz appreciation society, Le Hot Club du France, urged the group on, convinced a new record company, Ultrasound, to record it, and gypsy jazz, France's unique, hugely influential contribution to jazz was born.
The all-strings Quintet operated in one form or another, until 1948, always around the extraordinary, if often volatile, partnership Reinhardt-Grappelly partnership, except during the War years, which Grappelly waited out in England. Reinhardt, who spoke no English, returned to France from the Quintet's London tour when war broke out in 1939 and continued to perform mostly under the Quintet name, with clarinetist Hubert Rostaing. Reinhardt's most famous composition, "Nuages" ("Clouds", 1941) is from this period.
Reunited after the War, Reinhardt, Grappelly and the Quintet performed together for several years, although this period was undermined by Reinhardt's notorious unreliabilty. Both continued to perform independently throughout the remainder of their lives, Reinhardt in 1953 and Grappelly (who changed his name to "Grappelli" in the early '60s) in 1997.