Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hot Club de France – the first jazz organization in the world - part 2

HOT CLUB DE FRANCE - the first JAZZ ORGANIZATION of the WORLD - part 2 Georg Lankester

Hot Club de France – the first jazz organization in the world - part 1 Hot Club de France – the first jazz organization in the world - part 2 Charles Delaunay (1911-1988) Hugues Panassié (1912-1964)
(Nederlandse linken): Hot Club de France: De eerste Jazzorganisatie ter wereld - deel 1 - Hot Club de France: De eerste Jazzorganisatie ter wereld - deel 2 - Charles Delaunay (1911-1988)
Hugues Panassié (1912-1964)

The name Hot Club de France is normally associated with a music style that became famous by guitar player Django Reinhardt and violist Stéphane Grappelli and their Quintet. In fact the Hot Club du France was the first Jazz organization in the world. It was based in Europe and it played a great role in promoting the Jazz music in France and Europe. George Lankester, a Dutch expert in the history of the "Hot Club-music" and solo guitarist in the Quatre Tickets de Swing tells about its history. In a previous blog he told about the start early 1930s - this time the second and last contribution about the years to follow.

Django Reinhardt - Stephane Grappelli (source: Les grands orchestres de Music-Hall en France (Jacques Helian) p.193)
Hot Club:

As mentioned earlier at the end of 1934, on initiative of Charles Delaunay and Pierre Nourry, the Hot Club Quintet was formed and labeled as its house band. This was the very first jazz group that existed of string instruments only and it soon had a reputation because of the swing and virtuosity of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli. Its first record with Dinah and Tiger Rag has become famous. Jamsession in the Hot Club de France with (probably) Bill Coleman on trumpet and Charles Delaunay drums. (source: 100 Years of Jazz - Annette Hauber-Wolfgang Sandner) (p.181)
Till war outbreak the management organized sessions with
US giants such as the saxophonists Coleman Hawkins and Benny Carter, trombonist Dicky Wells, piano player Teddy Weatherford, violinist Eddie South, trumpet player Bill Coleman and others. And also sessions and recording of the new Hot Club Quintet, the French saxophonists André Ekyan and Alix Combelle, accordionist Gus Viseur and guitarist Oscar Alemán.
Paris is then more or less the jazz centre of the European continent.
In 1937, the year when the world exhibition took place in the French capital, the town was full of jazz events such as concerts, jam- & recording sessions of star soloists and noted swing bands. Then in ’38 and ’39 more records of the Swing label came about, of which unique recordings by three members of the Ellington orchestra together with Django Reinhardt.
Dickie Wells at the cover of Le Jazz Hot (September-October 1937) (collection: Georg Lankester)
During the German occupation the Hot Club de France served its purpose by passing on information to the many jazz fans, hungry for jazz (which was actually forbidden). But then the cooperation between the two top managers came to an end! Not so long after the liberation, in 1947, Charles Delaunay left the club because of a serious difference of opinion about the jazz evolution, which hampered further activities. Panassié did not recognize the bebop style and only wanted to promote the traditional jazz, whereas Delaunay liked to involve new jazz styles. Hugues Pannasié remained president of the Hot Club till he died in 1974, but from ’47 on he missed the driving force of his former colleague.
Django Reinhardt
Hot Club de France publications
The magazine Jazz Hot, mentioned earlier, was founded in 1935 as the official magazine of the club. For many years it provided thorough information to jazz fans. During the war the bulletin was reduced to a single page edition, enclosed in concert programmes. From 1939-’45 this publication was called Bulletin du Hot Club de France.
Once the monthly appearing Revue du Jazz, managed by Panassié for years, was discontinued, the abovementioned Bulletin became one of the most popular magazines in the jazz world till the nineties. From 1950 it was, however, solely dedicated to the traditional jazz and mainstream as Pananssié wanted it.

George Lankester

The Hot Club du France is normally associated with the French Quintet of the Hot Club of France with guitarist Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. In fact the Hot Club de France was more then just a band - it was an organization to promote and protect jazz music in France. And let's be quite honest about that, it is still associated with the so-called Hot Club music style, the gypsy music, as played by numerous small groups in the Django-style worldwide. George Lankester, a Dutch expert about this kind of music, describes its history in two blogs - today the final ones. If you love to follow the Keep Swinging blog know that you can do that with Twitter (#keepswinging) or ask for its free newsleter (

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