Monday, July 6, 2015

Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli in the Netherlands (1937) - Part Two

Georg Lankester, expert in the French pre-WWII jazz scene, Django Reinhardt and the Quintet of Hot Club de France, continues his account of the visit(s) of QHCF in the Netherlands 1937. The first part was published here - Below follows the second part.

Django and Stéphane’s second visit to Holland
On top of the numerous performances and recording sessions during the World Exhibition in Paris, with the best American reedmen and French players Ekyan and Combelle, a second invitation for Django & Stéphane to play in Holland arrived.
This time the occasion was, first  a jazz contest in Amsterdam, then a concert in the Hague and finally radio recordings in Hilversum.
The evening of the 5th of November 1937 the two stars and their rhythm group scored triumphs. The numerous students and other jazz fans were all excited and, of  course, the Hot Club quintet gloriously won the first prize.

Django (center) et al in Holland, November 1937
Although little is known about their stay in Amsterdam, it is reported that the musicians spent some time to visit musea and ‘Madame Tussaud’ where Django was obsessed by the chambers of horror.
Freddy Johnson
Interesting is that in the night hot jam sessions took place with Django, Freddy Johnson, Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins who were also engaged in Holland - they all knew  each other from their performances in Paris.

Next to the quintet’s playing in the Dutch capital, a concert was given in the zoo of the Hague. On November 6, the Dutch “Jazz Liga celebrated its 5th anniversary on which occasion the Hot Club formation formed the highlight of the evening.

As many will know, there is a film fragment of this concert which was made by the Dutch ‘Polygon” company which also showed the arrival by train of the quintet earlier in the News program.

With regard to the concert film fragment, it is striking that Django is moving his body while he is accompanying Stéphane. For the many Django fans always remains the question which theme was played since the violin (audio) improvisations do not easily reveal that.

Unfortunately there is nothing known about any radio broadcasts – I even contacted people in Hilversum but nobody could trace that.

So far, the short story on these two historical visits of the legendary quintet to the Netherlands. I can just add to this that - after the war - Grappelli gave several concerts in  Holland and I had the opportunity (in 1984) to meet him and, briefly, could  talk with him about those visits of 1937.

Georg Lankester   

Retrospect Keep Swinging (old) Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Friends of the Keep Swinging blog Keep Swinging Contributions

No comments:

Post a Comment