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Django's Carnegie Hall Debackle

aa New York City✭✭✭✭
edited November 2008 in History Posts: 800
So, I was playing in the subway tonight, and a guy came up to me and said that he saw Django play at a bar downtown on the night that he was supposed to play at Carnegie hall.
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Comments

  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,748
    hey alex,

    a friend of mine in NY just sent me a cellphone vid of someone playing in the subway; I wonder if it's you. Where do you usually play?

    best,
    Jack.
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    on the L - maybe the F
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 747
    Django only arrived late on the 2nd concert at the Carnegie Hall because he met Marcel Cerdan and stayed a long time with him, then the taxi driver he took to the Carnegie hall made a mistake and drived him to another place. His show in the show was however a great succes but of course Ellington was not so glad even if he was used to those things with his own musicians ...

    In some book on Ellington it is also said that Django said to Ellington he awaked late ...

    Who knows?

    Every body (at least the musicians) said that Django's appearances in the States were always a great succes!
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    Well, I don't know the guy who came up to me, but he told me this story out of the blue. He said he was sixteen at the time and was like "I saw Django play in the city once..he was supposed to be at Carnegie Hall that night."
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    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
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  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 747
    I talked directly with Marcel Cerdan and he said Django had a couple of drinks with him (Americano's if I remember well) that day, they met casualy in the late afternoon on the fifth, Marcel had a walk this afternoon with some friends to buy some "New world" Christmas gifts for Edith. They spoke a long time together upon their hands as Marcel had a broken hand in those days but however won against Jean Pankowlack on october the 20th, 1946 just before going to the States and Django too had problems with his left one but they just laughted on that because in despite of that fragility both of them were "world champions" in their own category boxe for Cerdan and jazz guitar for Reinhardt...

    There is an amateur 8mm film on that :shock:

    Django knew he couldn't play in the States without a special authorisation from the Union and without a contract (his one was with the William Morris Agency for the Duke Ellington tour and for the Café Society Uptown) , he confirmed that in an interview saying he met Benny Goodman at the 400 Club in NYC but added they couldn't play together because he was not allowed to do it.

    In his letter of those days to clarinetist Gérard Lévecque he confirmed that those rules on foreign musicians were very strict

    Django's tour in the States was absolutely not a "debackle" but a true succes and also an excellent occasion for Django to meet a lot of musicians, hear music every night (see John Lewis interviews on Django for exemple) and to check almost all the important guitarists of the States in a couple of monthes. Django decided in those days to change his way of playing jazz and immediately as he returned to France he begun to play and record a lot and to explore new horizons.

    Delaunay had some responsabilities on the "debackle" statement as he simply ignored Django had only a 60 days visa and he wrote that Django "Tired of waiting (for an gig) and disappointed, one fine day Django decided to pack his bags and return to France" [See Delaunay's book on Django page 141 "Reunion and America at last"]. Django simply had to leave the States as his visa expired...

    Was he really desappointed? I don't know but I don't think so, I think he understood that Ellington was excellent but was not the avant-guarde of a jazz that was changing fast (even commercially) in the States and he decided to play bebop (his own bebop - Ref to Les Paul interview)

    Who is the guy saying that story on Django playing elsewhere?
  • aa New York City✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 800
    by debackle, I was just referring to that one night at carnegie.

    the guy was a total stranger..but why would he come up to me, out of nowhere, and tell me this story ??
    Www.alexsimonmusic.com
    Learn how to play Gypsy guitar:
    http://alexsimonmusic.com/learn-gypsy-jazz-guitar/
  • Posts: 597
    a wrote:
    by debackle, I was just referring to that one night at carnegie.

    the guy was a total stranger..but why would he come up to me, out of nowhere, and tell me this story ??

    The voices in his head told him to tell you?

    a wrote:
    So, I was playing in the subway tonight,

    But it could also have been the fact that you were playing in a subway. Were you playing a djangobox or jamming some manouche swing?
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 747
    That evening at the Carnegie Hall Django arrived late when Ellington had already announced Django would not come but he arrived round eleven so he only had an half an hour delay and immediately he sat and played and the audience was out of the shoes... :D

    There were some negative comments on his late arrival on the news papers on the next morning but I think it was not so important, Django was not reading them. The fact is that Ellington, probably knowing at the last minute that Django would come to the States to tour with him had no time to organize the band around Django. The arrangements were not written and an occasion to hear great music was lost. I sometimes imagine what could have been Ellington Orchestra playing Django's music. "Manoir de mes Rêves" for exemple written by Django in 1943 if I remember well should have been an excellent choice, Nuages of course and a couple of fast tunes.

    It is sometimes told that Ellington thought Django would have the whole Quintet with him and this is the reason why along with the late annoucement of his venue there were no real integration attempt of Django in the orchestra.

    The four tunes recorded (completely illegally) by John Steiner in Chicago are excellent however.

    America was protecting her own musicians too much in those days and this is the reason why Django had no real opportunity to work and create there. If only his visa was 6 monthes long he would have played for sure with Gillespie's orchestra on his Selmer and with the Stimer and that would have been really incredible.
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