“Audio archeology with James Errington. This time we head back to 1937, a frankly astonishing year for swing in America and France, as well as for classic blues, country, Cuban son, Greek rebetika, and even a couple of things from the UK.”
Time: 6pm GMT, Sunday 22nd January 2023 Place: Cambridge 105 Radio
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Recorded music has a centre of gravity, and it’s usually New York. Now and again, though, we have seen it temporarily shift – to New Orleans and to Chicago, and now, in one of the peak years of swing, we find ourselves in Paris, near to the closing moments of the Third Republic, with two Belgian-Romani guitarists, a French-Italian violin player, a French double-bass player and a French guitarist. This group of musicians recorded under a variety of names (and with a host of other musicians) but are best-remembered as Quintette du Hot Club de France.
The most well-known of this Quintette is almost certainly Django Reinhardt. Born to Romani-Belgian parents, Django played the guitar (initially a banjo-guitar) from the age of 12, but otherwise had little in the way of education. He was almost-completely illiterate until late into his life, and managed to spend a year in New York despite speaking no English. If that were not enough disadvantages to be dealing with, in 1928 he suffered severe burns after his caravan caught fire, and ended up spending 18 months in hospital, losing two of the fingers on his left hand. With only three fingers left to form chords, Django had to devise for himself an entirely new way to play the guitar. Inspired by Eddie Lang, the father of jazz guitar (sadly the two never played together as Lang died during a routine tonsillectomy in 1933) he was soon traveling throughout France, playing in any bar or club that could pay him. It was in one of these that he first met jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli.
I remember seeing Stéphane Grappelli on TV when I was very young, and was impressed enough to ask for an LP, which I did not really listen to. Nevertheless, it was my first introduction to jazz. Grapelli’s French mother died when he was five, and his Italian father was drafted into the army when he was six. He was passed first to Isadora Duncan’s dance school, then to a Dickensian orphanage, and only rescued when his father returned at the end of the war. Like Reinhardt, Grapelli had an instrument bought for him at the age of 12 – a violin bought by his father after pawning a suit – and while he did attend the the Conservatoire de Paris for a time, he was mostly self-taught. Aside from a short spell where he bafflingly shifted to piano, Grapelli’s life from the age of 15 was spent mostly playing violin professionally, first in a silent movie theatre, and after a few years in concerts put on by a student organisation for the promotion of jazz in France, the “Hot Club de France”
Reinhardt and Grapelli’s playing is still, 85 years later, without equal. Their antecedents are, naturally, Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti, but while that pair made some beautiful records, the way the Hot Club stretch this simple combination of instruments into such a vast array of styles, displaying such effortless virtuosity, well, it’s just breathtaking. Reinhard combines the melodies of Lang with the faster rhythms of Romani music, turning this formerly decorative, textual instument into the lead, the centre of the sound. At times his playing is dizzyingly avant-garde, but often also distinctly melodic in a very late-20th-century sort of way. Grapelli, meanwhile, grabs anything Reinhard throws at him, his improvisation described by Yehudi Menuhin as “like one of those jugglers who send 10 plates into the air and recovers them all.”
Well, I still haven’t written anything about Michel Warlop, or Josephine Baker, or Charles Trenet, or Rina Ketty, all recording in Paris this year, and yes, of course there was still a great deal going on elsewhere, and, well, you’ll just have to listen to find out.
0:00:00 Maurice Jaubert – Dream Sequence from Un Carnet De Bal (Clip of Elizabeth Lomax) (Clip from Double Wedding) (Clip from On The Air) 0:00:52 Benny Goodman & his Orchestra – Sing, Sing, Sing (Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937) 0:04:22 The Raymond Scott Quintette – Powerhouse (Clip from 1937-01-05 NBC Opening Day of 75th Congress) 0:06:52 Django Reinhardt Et Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France, Avec Stéphane Grappelli – Mystery Pacific (Clip of NBC chimes) 0:08:52 The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet – Found A Wonderful Savior (Clip of 1937-01-18 CBS March of Time) 0:11:20 Xavier Cugat – Bim Bam Bum (Clip of 1937-01-18 CBS March of Time) 0:13:26 Lionel Hampton And His Orchestra – China Stomp (Chinatown, My Chinatown) (Clip of 1937-01-18 CBS March of Time) 0:16:15 Ivor Moreton & Dave Kaye – Polly & Nola (Clip of 1937-01-27 WFBR Xmitting WSM – Flood Coverage)
0:19:11 Duke Ellington And His Orchestra – Caravan (Clip from Orson Welles Screen test) 0:21:52 Django Reinhardt – Improvisation / Sweet Georgia Brown (Clip from 1937-02-06 MBS Kay Kyser Live from the Trianon Ballroom Chicago) 0:26:56 Jimmie Lunceford – For Dancers Only (Clip from On The Air) 0:28:40 Udi Hrant – Huzzam Taksim (Clip from On The Air) 0:29:51 Vulkana Stoyanova – Dimo Na Rada (Clip from 1937-02-27 Seabiscuit – Santa Anita) 0:32:04 Jimmie Revard & His Oklahoma Boys – Fox And Hounds (Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937)
0:34:53 Atilla The Hun – Roosevelt In Trinidad (Clip from 1937-03-04 FDR Second Inaugural Address) 0:37:43 Benny Goodman Quartet – Bei Mir Bist Du Schon – Part 2 0:38:33 Andrews Sisters – Bei Mir Bist Du Schon (Clip from 1937-03-18 MBS Duke Ellington Live from the Cotton Club) 0:42:02 Cootie Williams (Ellington) – Pigeons And Peppers (Clip from 1937-03-18 MBS Duke Ellington Live from the Cotton Club) 0:45:26 Billie Holiday – My Man (Clip from The Shadow – Circle Of Death) 0:48:41 Robert Johnson – Me And The Devil Blues (Take 2) (Clip from Marked Woman) 0:51:11 Artie Shaw – Blues Part 1 (Clip from A Day At The Races)
0:53:07 Peetie Wheatstraw – Peetie Wheatstraw Stomp (Clip from The Cinnamon Bear) 0:55:40 Count Basie – Exactly Like You (Clip from 1937-04-18 CBS We The People Dinosaur Tracks) 0:58:33 Ciro Rimac – Yo Me Ba (Clip from 1937-04-18 CBS We The People Dinosaur Tracks) 1:01:40 Kucuk Nezihe Hanim And Sukru Tunar – Agladim Aci Cektim (Clip from 1937-04-18 CBS We The People Dinosaur Tracks) 1:03:29 Michel Warlop – Taj Mahal (Orchestre + Django Reinhardt) (Clip from 1937-04-19 PTT General Franco Cree La Phalange Espagnole a Salamanque) 1:07:02 Secco’s Gitano’s – Hora (Clip from A Day At The Races) 1:09:10 Hoosier Hot Shots – Goofus
(Clip from Maytime) 1:11:57 Vanvakaris Markos – Taksimi Zeimpekiko (Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937) (Clip from 1937-05-06 WLS Hindenberg Disaster Herbert Morrison) 1:15:31 Frank Churchill, Paul J. Smith & Leigh Harline – Magic Mirror (Clip from 1937-05 RRG Cpt Hans von Schiller – Lakehurst Memorial Service) 1:16:36 Marlene Dietrich – Lili Marlene (Clip of Charles Laughton) 1:18:19 The Caresser – Edward The VII (Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937) 1:20:18 Executor – Reign Of The Georges (Clip of Charles Laughton) 1:21:51 Fats Waller – Tea For Two (Clip of 1937-05-20 Tommy Woodrooffe on a Royal Navy Fleet Review) 1:25:15 Django Reinhardt – Swing Guitars
1:26:19 Frank Churchill, Paul J. Smith & Leigh Harline – I’m Wishing 1:27:34 Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers – Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off (Clip from Pathe Gazette Presents The Derby 1937) 1:30:08 Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – Right Or Wrong (Clip from Saratoga) 1:33:07 Harlem Hamfats – Root Hog Or Die (Clip from Meet the Girl who Became a Man, Australian Cinesound newsreel) 1:35:17 Sosyete Boumba, Marileanne Joseph – Ezili Si Ou Mande Manje, Map Bayou Li (Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937) 1:36:38 Septeto Anacaona – Oh! Marambé Maramba (Clip from Angel) 1:37:26 Peter Kreuder – Shall We Dance (Solisten)
(Clip from On The Air) 1:39:02 Rex Stewart And His 52nd Street Stompers – Back Room Romp (Clip from Easy Living) 1:41:58 Teddy Wilson And His Orchestra – Sun Showers (Clip from 1937-07-09 Red Barber – Joe Dimaggio Radio Call) 1:45:19 Ink Spots – Swing High, Swing Low (Clip from 1937-07-20 MBS WOR Marconi Memorial Program) 1:46:56 T. V. Ramaswami Sastrigal, Vikatam Vidwan, Thiruvisalur – Sky Lark Squirrel Country Oil Mill Red Bird (Clip from 1937-07-20 MBS WOR Marconi Memorial Program) 1:47:18 Elsie Carlisle – So Many Memories (Clip from 1937-07-20 MBS WOR Marconi Memorial Program) 1:48:41 Loumé Fréice Of The Sosyete Viyolon – En Avant Simple (Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937) 1:49:14 Quintette Du Hot Club De France – Boléro
(Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937) 1:52:16 Akasaka Koume – Asama No Kemuri (Clip from Song at Midnight) 1:53:50 Zhou Xuan – When Will You Return? (Clip From 1937-08-27 NBC KGU Interviews With Refugees From China Sino-Japanese War) 1:55:40 Koichi Sugii – Setsu Kagoshima Ohara 1:58:39 Amaunalik K’âvigak’ – Song In A Fable 1:58:48 Raymond Scott – War Dance For Wooden Indians (Clip from The Shadow 37-11-28 Circle Of Death) (Clip from Snow White And The Seven Dwarfs) 2:01:51 Count Basie – Boogie Woogie (Clip from Dead End) 2:04:57 Jones-Smith Incorporated – Shoe Shine Boy
(Clip from Dime a Dance) 2:08:02 Nadezhda Zlateva – Slushai Malka Mome 2:09:59 Maurice Jaubert – Dream Sequence from Un Carnet De Bal 2:12:53 Charles Trenet – Je Chante 2:15:23 Josephine Baker – Toc Toc Partout (+ Rogers) 2:17:30 Lou Bandy – Conference Vakantie 2:17:49 Rina Ketty – Le Clocher D’ Amour (Clip from Pepe le Moko) 2:19:07 Quintette Du Hot Club De France – Mabel
2:23:13 William Butler Yeats – The Lake Isle of Innisfree 2:24:20 Arthur Schnabel – Sonata No 4, E Flat Major, Op 7 Largo, Con Gran Espressione 2:26:24 Virginia Woolf – The Recorded Voice Of Virginia Woolf 2:26:45 Carroll Gibbons – There’s A Lull In My Life (Vocal – Anne Lenner) (Clip from 1937-10-12 NBC Fireside Address FDR) 2:29:42 Django Reinhardt Et Le Quintette Du Hot Club De France, Avec Stéphane Grappelli – Chicago (Clip from 1937-10-13 CBS Benny Goodman Live from the Hotel Pennsylvania) 2:33:24 Benny Goodman Quartet – Avalon (Clip from Dime a Dance) 2:36:10 Rof Acuff – Steel Guitar Blues (Clip from 1937-10-22 NBC Ben Davis Jr) 2:39:36 Ella Fitzgerald feat. Chick Webb And His Orchestra – When I Get Low I Get High (Clip from Movietone Reviews A Memorable Year 1937) (Clip of Amelia Earhart On The Future Of Women In Flying) (Clip from Krazy’s Race of Time) 2:42:34 The Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet – Golden Gate Gospel Train
2:45:03 Robert Johnson – Love In Vain Blues (Take 1) (Clip from Angel) 2:47:32 Kemani Nubar – Bahriye Cifte Telli (Clip from 1937-11-20 NBCB Believe it or Not Colonel Stoopnagle) 2:49:20 Markos Vamvakaris – Oli I Rembetes Tu Dunia (Clip from One Hundred Men and a Girl) 2:51:42 Patsy Montana – I Wanna Be A Cowboy’s Sweetheart (Clip from Lost Horizon) 2:53;34 Group Of Haitian Men And Women, Saul Polinice, Louis Marseille, Ciceron Marseille – Papa Legba Ouvri Baryè-A 2:54:16 W.M. Stepp – Bonaparte’s Retreat (Clip from Around The Corner – How Differential Steering Works) 2:56:00 Big Joe Williams – Rooting Ground Hog (Clip from Way Out West) (Clip from A Star Is Born) (Clip from Stage Door) (Clip from Marked Woman) (Clip from Easy Living) (Clip from Young & Innocent) (Clip from Nothing Sacred) (Clip from A Damsel In Distress) (Clip from You Only Live Once) (Clip from A Day At The Races) (Clip from The Hurriicane) (Clip from The Good Earth) 3:00:31 Yenz’ Inqab’ Intombi (Zulu; South Africa) – Evening Birds
(Clip from 1937-12-12 NBC TCSH Mae West) 3:01:57 Roy Rogers – Cowboy Night Herd Song (Clip from 1937-12-12 NBC TCSH Mae West) 3:03:40 George Formby – Hi Tiddley Hi Ti Island (Clip from 1937-12-12 NBC TCSH Mae West) 3:05:29 Bing Crosby – Sweet Lelani (Clip from 1937-12-12 NBC TCSH Mae West) 3:08:10 Teddy Weatherford – Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Piano Solo) (Clip from 1937-12-12 NBC TCSH Mae West) 3:10:20 A Jam Session At Victor – Honeysuckle Rose (Clip from 1937-12-12 NBC TCSH Mae West) 3:13:25 Willie ‘ The Lion ‘ Smith – I’m All Out Of Breath (Clip from 1937-12-12 NBC TCSH Mae West) 3:16:08 Michel Warlop – Christmas Swing (+ Django Reinhardt & Louis Vola) (Clip of NBC chimes)