Monday, November 29, 2010

Georg Lankester writes about Jazz and Entertainment in Paris during the 1930s up to the 1950s

De successen van Django Reinhardt-Stéphane Grappelli en Jean Sablon: Georg Lankester ( Nederlands) - Georg Lankester writes about Jazz and Entertainment in Paris during the 1930s up to 1950s. (English)

A triptych in Dutch about Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and Jean Sablon.
GEORG LANKESTER writes about JAZZ and ENTERTAINMENT in PARIS during the 1930s up to the 1950s
Hans Koert

You can't have missed it - In 2010 jazz fans from all over the world loved to commemorate the fact that Django Reinhardt was born 100 years ago in a caravan in a shantytown in Liberchies, near Charleroi in Belgium, January 1910. Special meetings were organized, new records were made, like the Django! - A Tribute - 100 Years Django Reinhardt by Koen De Cauter, Fapy Lafertin & Group and old ones reissued ( Django with his American Friends), concerts scheduled ( like the 100 jaar Django Reinhardt - Een hommage concert at Dongen (The Netherlands) and even this Keep Swinging blog dedicated some blogs to the musical heritage of Django: Django Reinhardt 100: The prewar period, Django Reinhardt 100: The post-war years (English) and Louis Vola and the birth of a Quintet. Isn't it remarkable that just this Belgian gypsy is still remembered after so many years? Why didn't we celebrate the 100th birthday of men like bass player Milt Hinton; or trumpet player Cootie Williams; or composer and arranger and bandleader Raymond Scott? Or what about Annette Hanshaw, the Madonna-of-the-1920s. She was born 100 years ago last month. Well, I guess - I have to dedicate a blog about her later to commemorate this fact. As far as I know Artie Shaw, who should have been 100 years old at the 23rd of May, 2010 ( he passed away just 6 years ago) was the only one who was remembered by his fans.

Django Reinhardt
The Dutch Django-fan Georg Lankester, one of the founders of the Stichting Hot Club De France and chairman from 1983 up to 2005, guitarist of the Quatre Tickets de Swing and author of Musette & 'Swing Musette" ( 2008) has published a new book in Dutch entitled De Successen van gitarist Django Reinhardt, violist Stéphane Grappeli & zanger Jean Sablon - subtitled: Jazz & Entertainment in het Parijs van de jaren '30, '40 en '50. The booklet has 44 pages and is in Dutch, but there are plans to translate it in Danish too.


The book contains three seperate chapters. The first one is entitled Django Reinhardt (1910 - 1953) - Legendarische gitarist en componist - Een weergaloze carriere. In 20 pages Georg discusses the life of Django from the very beginnings up to his death in 1953. Georg lists a lot of information, but also stories and anecdotes. The second part is dedicated to Stéphane Grappelli, the famous violin player who played with Django in his Quintette du Hot Club recordings since its very start in 1934. It is entitled as Stéphane Grappelli ( 1908 - 1997) meester-jazzviolist - Een rijk muzikaal leven. ( 13 p.). Both Stéphane Grappelli as Django Reinhardt became fascinated early 1930s by the records that came from the States, recorded by artists like Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. Django and Stéphane met in the Parish jazz scene, a small world, before they actually founded the Quintette with the support of Charles Delaunay. Isn't it rather weird to learn that this gentleman, mr. Grappelli, became part of this successful gypsy band.
Love to share with you one of the best known music clips avant la letter, in which you can hear Django and Stéphane at their best: J'attendrai Swing


During the war the Quintette broke up, as Stéphane stayed in England and Django returned to France when the war started. They were united after the war, but the public loved to hear other styles of music and the music of the Quintette wasn't popular anymore. When Django passed away in 1953 Stéphane was still active in music and became a sought after soloist at festivals and clubs. Georg remembers him from a concert in Amsterdam, February 1984, where he met him and could speak with him. Stéphane passed away 13 years ago, almost 90 years old.

Rendez-vous sous la pluie - Jean Sablon with Django and Stéphane ( December 1935), a 75 year old relic, that proves their cooperation.

The last part is dedicated to Jean Sablon (1906 - 1994) - De Franse "Bing Crosby" - Successen tot ver over de Franse grenzen. ( 4 p). This French crooner is rather unknown in Holland and at first sight you might wonder what Jean Sablon had to do with Django and Grappelli. Well, the common element are some great recordings from the early 1930s when the three men joined in the record studios to make some great Gramophone and Columbia recordings.
Jean Sablon

Enjoy one of the 1934 Columbia recordings with Jean Sablon, Le jour ou je te vis, accompanied by Andre Ekyan et son Orchestre which featured both Stéphane Grappelli as Django Reinhardt.

Django and Stéphane (1930s).

Georg ends with a supplement entitled Django's banjo-jaren (= Django's Banjo-years) with a list of some banjoists, like the legendary Gusti, the father of the Gypsy-waltz, and Poulete Castro, the man who taught him how to play that typically gypsy rhythm - La Pompe, that fascinated Django. I wonder why Georg has put this great article somewhere at the end of the book as an addition. I think it deserves a place somewhere in the book as a fourth chapter.

Georg did a good job to share the stories of these three French musicians with the people who speak the Dutch language, but I think a lot of non-speaking Dutch Django-fans will be interested to know about this booklet. A lot of books and articles about the 1930s French jazz and entertainment scene have been published in French, but in Dutch but few articles have been published.

The book can be ordered directly from the author.

Hans Koert

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The Dutch Django Reinhardt fan and an authority on the history of the French Jazz and amusement scene of the 1930s up to 1950s, Georg Lankester, has published a small booklet in Dutch with portraits about three representatives: Django Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli and Jean Sablon. But few information has been published in Dutch about this subject, except some interesting articles in magazines like Quintette or the Doctor Jazz Magazine. This triptych is especially interesting for Dutch-speaking visitors of this blog, but also non-Dutch Django Reinhardt fans will like to know more about this publication. Keep Swinging reviewed it for you. If you don't want to miss any contribution follow the blog at Twitter or ask for its free newsletter.


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