Django’s Americans

Django – & The American’s in Paris


AmercansCDDjangoYanksCDWhen Django was at his zenith in the 1930s & 1940s, no one termed the Music he played “Gypsy Jazz.” It was simply Jazz, played by a Gypsy with Guitar. He learned the Music primarily from recordings and only later by playing with many of the early greats – Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington, Eddie South.  With the Music from those Foreign 78s still reverberating in his ears, he was trying to Sound as American as he possibly could. Combining his influences, his pioneering use of the Guitar, and his individual sensibility, Django created a Music of his own. There are few others who single-handedly gave birth to a whole musical genre. It’s a genre that is today continually recreated. – Paul Brady

The term “Gypsy Jazz” describes the style of Music made famous by Django’s Group, the Hot Club of France, which has since spawned an entire community of musical imitation & tribute

James Reese Europe could hardly have been more aptly named. As the leader of the 369th Infantry Jazz Band, also known as the “Hellfighters,” he introduced the Sounds of American ragtime to Europeans during the WWI.  Although his career was brief, he profoundly influenced the course of popular Music, not just in the United States but throughout the world. Yet his name probably would not arouse much response among avid Jazz fans.
Le Hot – Assimilation of American Jazz in France

Paris reacted to Jazz in the late 1920s & early 1930s. When Jazz arrived in Paris, it sparked controversy because of its foreign origins. The Music was associated with America & with Africa, and it raised fears among French Musicians about their jobs, since American players were in demand. By the late 1920s, a group of French Musicians, critics, & fans began to change how audiences thought about Jazz. They argued that this music could be seen as “French,” not simply as an import that threatened French culture. This process of adaptation sheds light on debates about French national identity in the interwar years by suggesting that France was not completely weakened throughout the 1920s & 1930s. Rather, many people retained an openness to new influences and a capacity to redefine their sense of national identity in the wake of WWI.

A number of African-American Jazz Musicians took up residence in France, inspired by the relative lack of racism, the working opportunities, and the appreciation that French audiences showed for their art. Jazz greats such as Dexter Gordon, Bud PowellKenny Clarke, & Don Byas spent long periods of time on the European continent and made many recordings there; as well as trumpeter Bill Coleman, tenor saxophonist Lucky Thompson, avant-garde group the Art Ensemble of Chicago, and more.

Paris was ready to embrace them with open arms. Montmartre became the centre of the small community, with Jazz Clubs such as Le Grand Duc, Chez Florence & Bricktop‘s thriving in Paris. WWII brought all the fanfare to an abrupt halt. The Nazi invasion of Paris in June 1940 meant suppression of the “corrupt” influence of Jazz in the French Capital and danger of imprisonment for African Americans choosing to remain in the City.  Most Americans, black as well as white, left Paris at this time.

EddieSouthEddie South – At the time, classical positions were not open to Black violinists in the 1920s, so South learned to play Jazz (helped out by Darnell Howard).  In the early to mid-1920s, he worked in Chicago with Jimmy Wade’s Syncopators, Charles Elgar & Erskine Tate. In 1928, a visit to Europe (where he studied at the Paris Conservatoire) made a deep impression on the violinist, particularly Budapest; later on, he would often utilise Gypsy |Melodies as a basis for Jazz improvising.   In 1931, South returned to Chicago, where his regular Band included bassist Milt Hinton. In 1937, while in Paris he recorded with Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli.  South never had a major breakthrough commercially in his American career. Classically trained, fluent in several styles including Swing, Gypsy & Latin; he favoured a warm, lyrical sound; popular in Europe, where racial discrimination did not hinder his style.  He did work on radio & television but spent most of his life in relative obscurity, playing in New York, Los Angeles & Chicago. In later years he recorded for Chess & Mercury, and also made a final set released by Trip. South’s other early recordings (covering 1927-41) have been reissued on a pair of Classics CDs.  One of the top Violinists of the pre-Bop era South was a brilliant technician who, were it not for the universal racism of the time, would probably have been a top Classical Violinist.
29th September 1937 ~ Swing, Paris
Eddie South (v solo)
acc. by Django Reinhardt (g)
Eddie’s Blues – When we listen to ‘Eddie’s Blues’ – a duet with violinist, Eddie South – we get the sense of total completion we would only expect from larger band. Reinhardt’s fellow musicians, indeed, seem more than aware of this extraordinary skill,
Eddie South (v solo)
acc. by Django Reinhardt (g); Milson Myers (b)
Sweet Georgia Brown
Trio de Violons
Eddie South, Michel Warlop, Stéphane Grappelli (v); Django Reinhardt (g); Roger Chaput (g); Wilson Myers (b)
Lady Be Good
Duo de Violons
Eddie South, Stéphane Grappelli (v); Django Reinhardt (g); Roger Chaput (g); Wilson Myers (b)
Dinah, Daphne
23rd November 1937 ~ Swing, Paris
Eddie South (v solo)
acc. by Django Reinhardt (g)
Somebody Loves Me
Eddie South (v solo)
acc. by Django Reinhardt (g); Paul Cordonnier (b)
I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me
Eddie South and Stephane Grappelli
Eddie South, Stéphane Grappelli (v); Django Reinhardt (g)
Interprétation Swing Du 1er Mouvement Du Concerto En Ré Mineur De J.S. Bach
Eddie South (v solo)
acc. by Django Reinhardt (g)
Somebody Loves Me
Eddie South (v solo)
acc. by Django Reinhardt (g); Paul Cordonnier (b)
I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me
Eddie South & Stephane Grappelli
Eddie South, Stéphane Grappelli (v); Django Reinhardt (g)
Interprétation Swing Du 1er Mouvement Du Concerto En Ré Mineur De J.S. Bach
25th November 1937 ~ Swing, Paris
Eddie South, Stéphane Grappelli (v); Django Reinhardt (g); Paul Cordonnier (b)
Fiddle’s Blues
Improvisation Sur Le 1er Mouvement Du Concerto En Ré Mineur De J S Bach


Django with Jack Teagarden, Grappelli & Earl Hines

Many have erroneously claimed that the Hot Club of France took its original inspiration from the violin/guitar Duo of Joe VenutiEddie Lang. But Stephane Grappelli, the violinist and co-founder of the group Hot Club of France, recalled Django saying Lang’s playing was very limited, and there was “nothing to be learned from it.”  Anyone who has carefully listened to Django’s recordings knows that his playing is very much in an intrinsic American Swing style, and deeply rooted in Blues — who bends a string better than Django? Oscar Alemán?


Django, Grapelli & Coleman Hawkins

Django & Coleman Hawkins
March 2, 1935 ~ Paris Coleman Hawkins (ts)
acc. by Michel Warlop et son Orchestre: Arthur Briggs, Nöel Chiboust, Pierre Allier (tp); Guy Paquinet (tb); André Ekyan, Charles Lisée, A)ix Combelle (s); Stéphane Grappelli (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Eugène d’Hellemmes (b); Maurice Chaillou (dm)
Blue Moon, Avalon, What A Difference A Day Made
Coleman Hawkins (ts)
acc. by Stéphane Grappelli (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Eugène d’Hellemmes (b); Maurice Chaillou (dm)
28th April 1937 ~ Swing, Paris
Coleman Hawkins and his All Star Jam Band
Benny Carter (as, tp & arr.); André Ekyan (as); Coleman Hawkins (ts); Alix Combelle (ts & cl); Stéphane Grappelli (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Eugène d’Hellemmes (b); Tommy Benford (dm)
Honeysuckle Rose, Crazy Rhythm, Out Of Nowhere, Sweet Georgia Brown
Coleman Hawkins and his All Star Jam Band
Benny Carter (as, tp & arr.); André Ekyan (as); Coleman Hawkins (ts); Alix Combelle (ts & cl); Stéphane Grappelli (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Eugène d’Hellemmes (b); Tommy Benford (dm)
Honeysuckle Rose, Crazy Rhythm, Out Of Nowhere, Sweet Georgia Brown

Just as Reinhardt was King of the Guitar, so Coleman Hawkins was considered the Leader when it came to the Tenor Sax; and listening to the 1st 2 tracks of this collection, it’s easy to see why this should be the case. Exuberant & highly charismatic in style, Hawkins’s playing is truly unique and filled with a love for the Music that seeps through every note. The accompaniment of Michel Warlop’s Orchestra is likewise 2nd to none, with Reinhardt’s frantic & daring rhythms driving the music fearlessly forward. The playfulness, inventiveness and breathtaking precision for which the guitarist became renowned are evident here in abundance. In ‘Stardust’, particularly, it is also confirmed that Reinhardt was well ahead of his time; unlike many musicians of this era, he refuses to settle for comfortable monotony, preferring instead to seek expression through constant & varied experiment.

FreddyTaylorFreddy Taylor was a black tap dancer, singer, Trumpeter and entertainer, who had come to Paris with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra during the Band’s 1933 Tour of Europe.  Taylor stayed in Paris and soon formed his own Band, which he named Freddy Taylor & His Swing Men from Harlem.  At the same time Taylor was running his own Club at Montmartre and often left the band on its own while he worked as a Soloist throughout the Continent. In Paris Taylor recorded as a vocalist with Django Reinhardt and the QHCF in 1936 – these sides belong to his most well known, scholars of the QHCF recorded legacy probably will mention “Nagasaki” and “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love, Baby” as core examples, both recorded 1936.   However, Freddy Taylor also recorded with his own group, the Swing Men From Harlem, in March 1935.

April 1935 ~ Paris
Freddy Taylor & his Swing Men From Harlem
Freddy Taylor (tp & vo); Charlie Johnson (tp); Chester Lanier (cl,as & bs); Fletcher Allen (cl,ts & arr.); John Ferrier (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Eugène d’Hellemmes (b); William Diemer (dm)
Blue Drag, Swanee River, How Come You Love Me Like You Do, Viper’s Dream

The work with Freddie Taylor, such as ‘I’se a Muggin’ doesn’t break any boundaries – and is, it could be argued, bordering on silly – its catchy melody & humorous character leave the listener with a powerful impression. In such warm & witty numbers, Reinhardt & Grapelli show real connection, building on each other’s phrasing & themes, expertly raising the intensity level. The astonishing empathy between the 2 musicians – and indeed within the Group as a whole – is illustrated best at the end of the tune, when they take it in turns to punctuate the chorus with a series of skilfully discordant fills that perfectly capture the mood of the piece.

Frank ‘Big Boy’ Goudie
Frank grew up in New Orleans, at 1st playing fiddle & then cornet. While a teenager, the musically-inclined youth played the piano for silent movies. Although he taught himself tenor & clarinet, he mostly played cornet while in New Orleans.  Goudie performed with Oscar Celestin’s Original Tuxedo Band, the Magnolia Band, Arnold Du Pas, Jack Carey & others. He toured with a Minstrel Show in 1921 and spent several years travelling the South & California with a variety of Bands. He moved to France in 1925 where he mostly played tenor & clarinet (and just trumpet occasionally).


Frank Goudi with Oscar Aleman Guitarist 1935

Goudie played often and recorded with Django Reinhardt, the Gypsy Guitar Wizard; at times the 2 of them would play at a back table in some Café late at night, “real soft, just for ourselves”. In Europe, he carried a wicker suitcase full of upholstery tools with which to augment his income and another case full of pots & pans.


He left Paris shortly after the outbreak of WW2 and lived in South America during the War, playing with his own small Goups there.  In 1946 he moved back to France, playing there with Arthur Briggs, Harry Cooper & Coleman again (1949-51).


Frank ‘Big Boy’ Goudie multi-instrumentalist
August 1935 ~ Ultraphone, Paris
Frank “Big Boy” Goudie (tp, ts & cl)
acc. by Stéphane Grappelli (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Joseph Reinnardt (g); Sigismond Beck (b); Jerry Mengo (dm)
I’ve Found a New Baby , St Louis Blues

Floyd Smith – FloydSmithNow, after Paris was liberated, I was walkin’ down the street in Paris, and I run into a black news correspondent named Ollie Stewart. He worked for the Baltimore Afro-American, a black paper. And I said to Ollie, I said, “Ollie, you remember me?” He said, “Sure, I remember you! Andy Kirk’s Band at the Royal Theatre in Baltimore.” I said, “Ollie, I’m trying to find Django Reinhardt’s House.” Ollie says, “Floyd, I’m goin’ there now.” This was in 1944. So we go to Django’s House, and he opens the door. Ollie says, “Django, Floyd Smith.”  Django grabbed me and hugged me and pulled me right on in the house. He went right to the wall and he took 2 Guitars off the wall and handed me one and he got one, and we went to it. So now this went on for about 2 or 3 hrs.  I had to go back to Camp. I was Stationed about 25-miles outside of Paris. He cried, and oh, he just cried, ’cause he had heard so much about me. He didn’t speak too good in English. So now to make a long story short, Obrecht, I was in the Dentist’s office in New York. I was playin’ with Bill Doggett’s Band then – I think it was around 1960. So a Trombone player with Ray Charles, George Washington, he said, “Floyd, I just saw an article in Saga Magazine, where you & Django played together in Paris!” I said, “Yeah.” He gave me the address, and I went over and I got it, and I’m gonna send this to you. I’m gonna get it to you just as soon as possible. Ollie wrote about it Saga Magazine, and he said that he was so disappointed that there was no tape recorders, no wire recorders, or nothing around at that time that he could have recorded Django & I playing.  You know, Django was always kind of up-tempo Swing. We did some “Lady Be Good,” “Sweet Sue,” & “Chinatown.” You know, he was always a boop-boop-boop-boop-boop-boop type of Guitar player.
Floyd Smith Copy of the June 1963 issue of Saga Magazine with Ollie Stewart’s article. In it, Stewart recounted their meeting at Django’s House in 1944: “I introduced the 2 men as one Guitarist to another. Then Django simply handed Floyd a Guitar and took another one from the wall himself. Django gave ‘Sweet Sue’ the once-over-lightly, then Floyd took over and treated ‘Sue’ in a different key. After that he & Django both jumped on the tune and gave it a face-lifting. I’d heard Django at the Bal Tabarin, but even for all the loot they gave him, he never played like this. After a few minutes he was crooning to himself and patting his foot like mad.  You knew he had found a kindred spirit. They exchanged Guitars for ‘Blue Moon’ & ‘Lady Be Good,’ and took turns decking out ‘Sweet Georgia Brown.’ How long they played, I just don’t know. You don’t hold a watch on great moments. All they got out of it was satisfaction – and a nod of approval from the other guy . All I got out of it was Guitar fever, and it still hasn’t gone away. When it was almost dark Floyd and I made a reluctant departure. Django came to the door, and nobody said anything but ‘So long.’ Everything else had already been said.” Floyd Smith passed away in March 1982.
One of the 1st electric Guitarists on record, Floyd Smith played an important role in Jazz from the 1930s through the 1950s. Born in 1917 and raised in St. Louis, he 1st went on the road in 1934 with Eddie Johnson’s St Louis Crackerjacks. Two years later he joined the Jeter-Pillars Club Plantation Orchestra, playing both Standard & Hawaiian-style Guitar onstage. In August 1937 Smith used an electric Guitar to solo on Jeter-Pillars recording of “Lazy Rhythm.” In 1938, while on Tour with the Sunset Royal Entertainers, he was spotted by Andy Kirk, who recruited him for his Twelve Clouds of Joy. During his 16th March 1939, session with Andy Kirk, Smith recorded “Floyd’s Guitar Blues,” the 1st hit record to feature a blues-style solo played on an electric guitar.  While serving in Europe during WW2, Floyd spent an afternoon jamming with Django Reinhardt in the Gypsy jazz Guitarist’s Paris home. Upon his return, he rejoined Andy Kirk’s band for about a year, and then worked Chicago’s South Side clubs in a Trio with Horace Henderson. He spent most of the 1950s playing in a Trio with pioneering Hammond Organist Wild Bill Davis, playing what he describes as “knock-down, drag-out swing!” He then spent 6-years with Bill Doggett’s Band. By the mid 1960s, Smith had settled in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he worked around Town with the Floyd Smith Trio.

Rex Stewart

RexStewartIn 1946 Rex Stewart, who had just left the Duke Ellington Band, put together a small Orchestra to Tour Europe as Guests of the Hot Club de France. The members were:

  • Ted Curry on drums
  • Don Gais on piano
  • John Harris on alto Sax & Clarinet
  • Bill Houston on Bass
  • Rex Stewart on Cornet
  • Vernon Story on tenor sax
  • Sabdy Williams on trombone.

They visited Denmark, France, Germany, Sweden & Switzerland making many recordings between 1946 & 1949, including one of Story’s signature tune – “Vernon’s Story” and another of his compositions, “Storyville.”  Their 1st Concert was at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. They toured major Cities Marseilles, Bordeaux, Toulouse, Lyons & Lille. They also played in smaller Towns such as Bézier, Carcassonne & Montauban – about 45 Hot Clubs in all.

Vernon Story and some of the other musicians stayed on in Paris while Rex Stewart went to Germany, though he joined him there for Venues in Berlin. Story played with many of the Jazz greats in Paris, including one of his favourite musicians, Guitarist Django.  Story arranged venues for subsets of the original Band in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Oslo & Zurich. He also made a cameo appearance as an American Jazz Player in a Swedish thriller movie. The Swedish National Jazz Archivist, Jens Lindgren, tracked Story down in 2005 and recorded details of his career.  The Rex Stewart Band, including Story, played at the 1st Nice Jazz Festival in Nice, France in 1948, probably the 1st formal International Jazz Festival. Headliners and fellow musicians that he reminisced of included family friend Louis Armstrong & English Jazz musician, broadcaster & musicologist Humphrey Lyttelton.

He lectured at the Paris Conservatory in 1948

Reinhardt also played and recorded with many American Jazz Musicians such as Duke Ellington, Dickie Wells, Peanuts Hucko, Mel Powel, Ray MacKinley Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter, Rex Stewart (who later stayed in Paris), and a Jam-session & Radio performance with Louis Armstrong.  Later in his career, he played with Dizzy Gillespie in France.  Reinhardt could neither read nor write Music, and was barely literate,

One of the pre-war bass players that has played with Django Reinhardt is the US musician Billy Taylor. He was, like so many US musicians, active for some years in Paris. He had been an important bass player in the US. Billy Taylor was born in Washington on the 6th of April 1906.  Since 1919 you can find him as a tuba player in several bands, like the well known McKinney’s Cotton Pickers. In 1933 he starts to play the bass, again at a Charlie Johnson band; in 1933 he made recordings with blues vocalist Bessie Smith. A year later he plays with Fats Waller and during the second half of the 1930s he is part of the Duke Ellington Orchestra. In 1939 he is part of the Duke Ellington band visiting Paris, while on tour in Europe. During that stay in Paris they organize a recording session with Django Reinhardt and some members of the Duke Ellington orchestra under Rex Stewart. This recording session takes place on the 5th of April 1939 at the Pathé studios in Paris.

Billy Taylor with the Teddy Wilson Quartet 1940
5th April 5, 1939 ~ Swing, Paris
Rex Stewart and his Feetwarmers
Rex Stewart (c); Barney Bigard (cl & dm); Django Reinhardt (g); Billy Taylor (b)
Monmartre, Low Cotton, Finesse, I Know That You Know, Solid Old Man,
During this recording session trumpet player Rex Stewart, Barney Bigard on the clarinet and Billy Taylor on the bass, play with Django Reinhardt on the Guitar, 5 tunes: Montmartre, Low Cotton, Finesse (or Night Wind in the US), I Know that You Know and Solid Old Man (=Solid Rock in the US). The well known US jazzcritic Gunther Schuller describes these four tunes in his book The Swing Era as Gems of small Group Jazz. He describes each tune in detail, and mentions Django as a great accompanist and soloist. These great recordings were made thanks to Hugues Panassié, one of the leaders of the Hot Club de France. He organised, that these 3 US musicians from the Ellington band were allowed to record. It is said that Rex Stewart was afraid that Django couldn’t play the tunes, which were unknown tor him, in a correct way, but when the recordings were finished, he was a satisfied with the results.

Rex Stewart – Finesse
Finesse – Django Stewart & Bigard
I know That You Know

Dickie Wells – Trombone
July 7, 1937 ~ Swing, Paris
Dicky Wells & his Orchestra
Bill Dillard, Shad Collins, Bill Coleman (tp); Dicky Wells (tb); Django Reinhardt (g solo); Richard “Dick” Fullbright (b); Bill Beason (dm)
Bugle Call Rag, Between The Devil And The Deep Blue Sea, I Got Rhythm, Sweet Sue, Hangin’ Around Boudon, Japanese Sandman
The songs recorded with Dicky Wells admittedly fail to capture much charisma. Making up for this lack, however, is the technical brilliance displayed on them. Adopting a traditional Big Band style, ‘Bugle Call Rag’ is tight & precise, and richly textured in arrangement. Although Reinhardt’s role is comparatively small, and predominately rhythm-orientated, the tune also gives us the perfect example of his ‘attacking’ chordal style – a trait more commonly associated with modern jazz guitarists than with those of the 1930s. Even when part of the rhythm section, Reinhardt adds excitement, and brings a new life to songs like this with his jovial spontaneity.

Bill Coleman – Trumpet
Bill Coleman was one of the most important Jazz trumpeters of the swing era. Born in Kentucky in 1904, he moved to New York in 1927. Over the next few years he made his name playing with many of the top bandleaders, including Luis Russell & Fats Waller. In 1933 he performed in France with Lucky Millinder.  He spent the war years in New York, playing with, among others, Andy Kirk, Mary Lou Williams, Sy Oliver & Billy Kyle, before moving to Paris in 1948 to lead his own Band. Bill Coleman toured widely and the book contains fascinating anecdotes about his trips to India, Egypt, the Philippines & Japan. He died in 1981.
In the case of Bill Coleman’s Orchestra they are utterly prepared to showcase Django’s skills. ‘Big Boy’s Blues’ is a striking example; everything gradually dies down to a hush, leaving only a steady, unobtrusive drumbeat to back up Reinhardt’s solo. Given full licence to follow his instincts, musical magic naturally ensues.
November 19, 1937 ~ Swing, Paris
Bill Coleman & his Orchestra
Bill Coleman (tp); Christian Wagner (cl & as); Frank “Big Boy” Goudie (cl & ts); Emil Stern (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Lucien Simoens (b); Jerry Mengo (dm)
I Ain’t Got Nobody, Baby Won’t You Please Come Home?(1), Baby Won’t You Please Come Home?(2), Big Boy Blues, Swing Guitars
Bill Coleman (tp)
acc. by Django Reinhardt (g)
Bill Coleman Blues
In the ’30s, Trumpeter Arthur Briggs co-led a band with pianist Freddy Johnson, led several of his own groups, recorded with Coleman Hawkins (1935) and Django Reinhardt, and was considered one of the best trumpeters in Europe, even playing in Egypt. During the latter part of WW2 under the Nazi occupation, Briggs spent time in a Concentration Camp but fortunately survived and resumed his playing career in 1945. He gigged regularly in France into the mid-’60s, becoming a music teacher and a Professor in 1964. Arthur Briggs’ Savoy Syncopators’ Orchestra recorded no less than 64 elections in Berlin during 1927, primarily dance band numbers with some Jazz solos. He also led one session apiece in 1929, 1933 (4 numbers backed by Freddy Johnson), 1940 (4 cuts with a Band that includes Django Reinhardt), 1945 (2 titles), and 10 selections with a Studio Orchestra in 1951. All of Arthur Briggs’ recordings as a Leader (other than the 1933 & 1940 dates) are very obscure. Briggs’ fiery trumpet style, pushed forward relentlessly against the beat, the driving effect intensified by his practice of chopping up the melodic line into a rapid series of staccato notes.
15th February 1940 ~ Paris
Arthur Briggs et son Orchestre
Arthur Briggs (tp); Christian Wagner (cl); Alix Combelle (as & ts); Ray Stokes (p); Django Reinhardt (g); Tony Rovira (b)
My Melancholy Baby, Braggin’ The Briggs (Part 1), Braggin’ The Briggs (Part 2), Sometimes I’m Happy, Scatterbrain
The 35 piece Southern Syncopated Orchestra formed in the United States by Will Marion Cook & George Lattimore to fill an engagement at the Philharmonic Hall, London, which opened on 4th July 1919. Although its repertoire encompassed ragtime, spirituals, and light classical music as well as Jazz, its historical importance lies in bringing to Britain several major creative figures in Jazz, including the clarinettist Sidney Bechet, the trumpeter Arthur Briggs, and the drummers Benton Peyton and Buddie Gilmore. In December 1919 the Orchestra was reduced in size, Bechet and others moving into small Jazz groups, whose performances in London Dance Clubs were highly influential. The Orchestra Toured in Scotland and the Provinces with an ever shifting personnel, which increasingly recruited members of the African diaspora of British, Caribbean & African birth, to replace the eparted Americans. These included future |Leaders of the London Jazz scene such as Cyril Blake. There were periods when more than one version of the Orchestra was Touring following disagreements between the principals, which engendered lengthy litigation in the English Courts. With some lay‐offs the Orchestra continued to perform through 1920 & 1921. A summer season at the Dome, Brighton, in 1921 was followed by a Glasgow engagement, after which the Orchestra sailed to Ireland on the SS Rowan, which sank off Corsewall Point on 9th October with the loss of 8 members, including the Philadelphia born drummer Pete Robinson. The survivors resumed the Irish Tour but disbanded in November.

Django & Louis 1946                                   Django & Benny 1952

Pierre Lemarchmand, James Moody, Pierre Michelot, amplified Django Reinhardt – Club Saint Germain des Pres, 1951

Larry Adler
Adler was a genuine fan of Jazz, although his abilities in that field were limited, as a recording with the Belgian Guitarist Django Reinhardt in 1938 made apparent.  Personnel: Larry Adler (harmonica); Django Reinhardt, Joseph Reinhardt, Eugene Vees (guitar); Buster Bailey (clarinet); Rex Stewart, Charlie Shavers (trumpet); Clyde Hart, David LeWinter, Stéphane Grappelli, Billy Kyle (piano); Bill Beason (drums).
31st May 1938 ~ Paris
Larry Adler (harmonica) acc. by Stéphane Grappelli (p); Django Reinhardt (g solo); Joseph Reinhardt, Eugène Vées (g); Roger Grasset (b)
Body And Soul, Lover Come Back To Me, Lover Come Back To Me
My Melancholy Baby, I Got Rhythm,


Django & Dizzy

The fabulous success in February 1948 of Dizzy Gillespie’s big-band Be-bop Concert at the Salle Pleyel, bristling with brass & percussion, seemed to sound the death knell of Jazz for strings “without drums or trumpets”.  Yet, not only did the Quintet of the Hot Club of France manage a several weeks’ engagement at the ABC Music-Hall, but Dizzy Gillespie, the Father of Bop in person, arrived in Django’s dressing-room to pay his respects and insisted on their playing together.

Django & Lionel Hampton

Photo in Norman Mongan’s “The History of the Guitar in Jazz”  – Kessel on Django

25th January 1945 ~ Jazz Club Français, Paris
Jazz Club Mystery Hot Band
Bernie Privin (tp); Peanuts Hucko (ts); Mel Powel (p); Django Reinhardt (g solo); Joe Schulman (b); Ray McKinley (dm)
How High The Moon, If Dreams Come True, Hallelujah, Stompin’ At The Sav