Django’s UK Itinerary 1948 – Aged 38
The Quintet arrived in England. they have their ‘material’ (Instruments or Luggage) stolen so the Rhythm section of the Band returns to France leaving Django & Grappelli to form the Quintet with English Players. Or was it a Post War UK Musicians Union ruling.
March, 1948: Django & Stephane arrive in the UK to Tour with the English String Quintet and as always Organised by Lew Grade.
The English Quintet L-R: Django, Alan Mindel (gtr), Teddy Wadmore (bs), Malcolm Mitchell (gtr) and Stephane. There are 2 other photos of Django & Stephane taken in the same dressing room and 2 photos of this Group playing on Stage. They toured the UK and Sweden in 1948. – Roger S Baxter
Which Electric Guitar is that in the foreground.
Django in his dressing room taken at the same time as above:-
In 1948 Mitchell was called on to play with Stephane Grappelli and Django Reinhardt for an 8-week Tour of Sweden. All other references to this Tour indicate the Group was Malcolm Mitchell, Alan Mindel (gtrs) and Teddy Wadmore (bass). In fact, Mitchell wrote an article confirming that particular combination for Scandinavia.
Alan Mindell was essentially a Dance Band Rhythm Guitarist and Teddy Wadmore went on to play in various odd groups including one of Alexis Korner’s.
The Malcolm Mitchell Trio‘s 1st Professional Engagement was to open a new Night-club in Nice, only to find the premises boarded up having been closes by the Gendarmes and the Promoter nowhere to be seen. Virtually penniless, they took to busking and found a restaurant where they could play for meals and tips. After a few weeks they were heard by an official of the Monte Carlo Casino and played there for the rest of the winter season, even doing a session for Prince Rainier at his palace.
Pete Chilver & Dave Goldberg also met Django and Stephane on a jam on an earlier trip.
22nd March: BBC TV Studios.
The Quintet appeared in the BBC TV program “Stars In Your Eyes”.
27th March: BBC TV Studios.
The Quintet appeared in the BBC TV program “Stars In Your Eyes“. Other guests included Vera Lynn.
29th March: Empire Theatre, Wood Green
For a week. It transpires that Louis Gallo and friend, Len Williams (father of classical guitar giant, John) were set to interview the great Gypsy backstage after the Hot Club’s performance at the Wood Green Empire, London in the 1940s for a review. (Len is seen here without his later beard. John is a close likeness).
Len was editor of the Guitar periodical Modern Guitar and later Fretted Harmony magazine. However, as was the tendency in those days, whilst the performers were receiving their tumultuous applause at the end of a fantastic display of virtuosity, audience members would start to leave the Theatre in order to ensure they caught the bus home! Transport was very different in those Days. Django, who was used to a level of adulation normally afforded a Prince, noticed that certain Audience members were leaving the theatre before he had left the stage, becoming incensed! How dare they! He was not amused and took this ‘insult’ very personally indeed. Our 2 intrepid Reporters, having noticed this from their seats eagerly but nervously made their way to the Master’s dressing room, aware to some extent of Django’s displeasure. Len as Magazine Editor went on ahead. Django was in no mood to be interviewed, full stop. The tantalising piece here though is that Louis Gallo could closely see his Hero through the open dressing room door, almost within touching distance, but would never meet him! A memory of lifetime regret proportions!
5th April: Empire Theatre, Chiswick
For a week. The Quintet then leaves to tour Scandinavia
24th May: Ardwick Hippodrome, Manchester
for a week.
Jack Fallon, the Canadian Bass Player who settled in the UK and worked with, amongst others, Johnny Duncan and his Blue Grass Boys, Duke Ellington, Big Bill Broonzy and the Beatles accompanied Django during his 1948 tour of the UK.
Django poses on a bicycle powered ‘Tuk Tuk’ 1948 Emmanuel Soudieux, Joseph Reinhardt, Stéphane Grappelli, Louis Vola – Paris?
Bert Weedon some years ago who told me he actually played with Django on one of his 2 visits – P V Chester
Francois Vermeille, André Ekyan, Django, Christian Garros, Jean Bouchety, Le Touquet 1949
Django & Stephane 1949