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Django's U.S. Tour 1946 Info wanted...

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  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 768
    And here's how Cafe SOciety Uptown appeared in 1946...
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 768
    Django played at Cafe Society Uptown from Dec 16, 1946 to January 11, 1947, here's a photo of Django's opening on Dec 16, from left to right we can recognize Leonard Feather, Roberta Lee, Les Paul, Django Reinhardt, Lionel Hampton, Nat "King" Cole, Illinois Jacquet...
  • steven_eiresteven_eire Wicklow✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 172
    wow thanks spatzo for the info & a Django photo i've never seen.
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 768
    Here's a view of Cafe Society that gives a clear understanding of what was the place...
  • JazzDawgJazzDawg New
    Posts: 264
    Spatzo,

    Thanks for all of the excellent posts. Going through all of this info, I can understand a little better what Django must have encountered during his American visit. The quote we've discussed previously, is not all that difficult to understand afterall. I believe that most of his audiences were pretty confused over what Django was doing. Though, many echoed how he was a such a 'virtuoso', most probably didn't really understand his playing, which was taken so far out of context during his dates with Duke.

    I've got some more info from a couple of Duke books that I'll post after going through them. Certainly, musicians had respect and admiration for Django, as they understood what a master talent he was. Unfortunately, generally speaking, club-goers are usually into the nightlife more than the entertainment, and I can certainly remember playing clubs where folks were just about getting 'lighted up' or cruising for a night with someone, more than listening to the band. So, it's telling that times really haven't changed the general audiences at clubs.

    One of the great quotes I found about Django came from Duke, who said...
    Of the 10 top guitarists around, Django is 5 of them.
  • People don't change much over the centuries.

    In the reading all I have done about Django I get the impression that he was almost an idiot savant. Superbly gifted in one area and somewhat lacking in many others. I wonder about the outcome had he been organized by CD and had some promotion done whether or not he brought the band.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • JazzDawgJazzDawg New
    Posts: 264
    I wonder about the outcome had he been organized by CD and had some promotion done whether or not he brought the band.

    Oh, yeah, I wonder about it, too. I'm going through another Duke Ellington book, and in it (I'll document the source later), Duke says Django was 'added' to the already booked concert tour. From what he says in this book, Duke talks about 'if Django is available, why not have him!" There was no real plan for him or the HCoF to appear in the U.S., it was more an afterthought, which is why CD and Django had a fallout over it, I believe. I think CD knew without proper presentation, Django would not be given the proper setting for his style of music. There is the story of the lack of billing for Django at these concerts that supports the lack of promotion of Django in those venues. In fact, the stories I've read say the Cleveland promoter didn't even know who Django was, and it's very likely that promoters on the rest of the tour were not in touch with who or why Django was playing with DE. Now, the musicians held DR in high esteem, and they knew what an incredibly gifted player he was, but outside of musicians, hard-core jazz fans, and some music critics, it is obvious from reading the reviews by some, and the captions of some photos in newspapers of the times, most covering his visit were simply parroting what someone else had said about him. All of which presented DR as sort of a carnival sideshow, novelty attraction rather than the artist he was. Yes, his unorthodox behaviour by American standards did little to help him.

    The facts are that Django became 'lost' in translation, not only from an unfamiliar audience, venue, and no real support outside of being escorted and looked after, but because he had no way to really understand what was being done - day to day. He didn't understand why when he went to a bar with a DE bandmate, he could be served but the guy who was with him couldn't. The discrimination of Blacks was not really familiar to him, I guess he felt if they served a gypsy, then what was the problem serving anyone.

    When I get time this weekend, I'll post the titles to these DE books, and give the link to the Time magazine article. If anyone has that Downbeat article on Django from Nov 1946, I'd like to see it. Otherwise, it's gonna take another microfilm search later.

    Thanks folks for the continued input. Happy New Year to all!
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,264
    spatzo wrote:
    There is a photo with Django and Paul Witheman that was shot during the first day Django played there showing he had a different guitar.
    Here is that photo with Django playing what looks like the same Gibson he used during the Ellington tour. He is wearing different clothes to those in the Lionel Hampton photo so it was almost certainly taken on a different day.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,264
    Here is another photo of Django at Cafe Society Uptown:-
  • Thanks Teddy - interesting pics

    Second one is same guitar, same background and same jacket ... i wonder if it's the same ciggy
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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