Le Jazz Hot #JusJoJan

Kelli from Forty, c’est fantastique! provided today’s prompt, which is “Paris.” I know just where to take you, so let’s hop in the WABAC machine and set it for Paris, 1933.

You find yourself in the club room of the Hotel Claridge at 37 Rue Francois in the 1er arondissement of Paris, drinking absinthe, smoking a Gaulioses, and listening to the band, which among its members are two guitarists (one with a crippled hand), a flashy violinist, and a young double-bass player. The band is swinging along, and after 45 minutes they take a break and leave the stage. A couple of minutes later, this can be heard from backstage, above the din of the crowd…

Several months later, you’re at another club, and recognize the members of the quintet, four of them whom you had seen that night at the Hotel Claridge, a fifth with a striking resemblance to the guitarist with the crippled hand. They swing from the start of the set…

They swing hard for 45 minutes, finishing with this…

Before they break, they introduce themselves as Le Quintette du Hot Club de France. The guitarist with the crippled hand is Django Reinhardt, the two supporting guitarists are Joseph Reinhardt and Roger Chaput, the violinist is Stephane Grappelli, and the bassist is Louis Vola. And you realize you’ve seen history…

Sixty years later, in 1993, I had the pleasure of seeing Grappelli in concert at Massey Hall in Toronto. By then he was a frail 85-year-old man who had to be helped onto the stage. He was the last of the Quintette alive, his friend Django having died of a stroke 40 years earlier, the other members having gone their separate ways. When he started to play, we were transported to the Hotel Claridge, 1933. He hadn’t lost a step…

Now a word from Viceroy cigarettes. Not too strong, not too light, Viceroy’s got the taste that’s right!

I didn’t know Batgirl smoked…

3 thoughts on “Le Jazz Hot #JusJoJan

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