Yesterday, 23 April 2023, we celebrated the 40-th anniversary of the Stichting Hot Club de France Nederland, a.k.a. the Dutch Gypsy Jazz Association. What a pleasure was that! Mind you, 40 years ago in 1983, the jazz style of Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, was nearly gone in terms of live music. This style was bound to go where the Latin language went in history, to be known on paper en recordings only, a sort of a dead language. In 1983, only 3 bands were playing this style. Only in Belgium, a successful band emerged, the WASO Quartet, with Fapy Lafertin as lead guitarist and Koen de Cauter (multi-instrumentalist). A handful of enthusiasts decided to start a new Dutch association, to promote this style of music. They gathered in a hotel in the middle of The Netherlands and when they started to discuss the idea of creating this association, something magical happened. The radio was on in the hotel bar and right on that moment they started to talk on this new idea, a song started on the radio: it was Nuages played by Django himself. Hoe about a message from above?
Anyway, WASO did the first concert for a handful of enthusiasts and from there it started to grow gradually. Now, after 40 years, we have more than one hundred bands playing this style in The Netherlands. We have jam sessions in every major city all the time. The Netherlands has produced so many great ambassadors of this style, like Stochelo Rosenberg, Paulus Schäfer, Lollo Meier, Robin Nolan, Mozes Rosenberg, Jimmy Rosenberg, Tim Kliphuis, Christiaan van Hemert and many more. There are many gypsy jazz concerts every week, we have numerous teachers as well. The association has organised over a hundred concerts, with all the best artists in the world. The association also has a great colourful quarterly magazine (Quintette) and a popular podcast.
For the very first concert in 1983, the association obviously invited the WASO Quartet (there was not much choice anyway). Shortly after that, they also invited Stéphane Grappelli, who was still on the road back in 1983. And after 40 years the association invited WASO again, how special is that! Below are some video links of the concert yesterday.
Melodie Au Crépescule:
The WASO Quartet ended the concert with a beautiful version of Nuages, the song that started it all 40 years ago.