Django in Switzerland 1943/53

Django in Switzerland 1943/53

The troubled atmosphere of the time was beginning to weigh on Django. Jazz-lovers and musicians, incessantly vilified by the Vichy authorities, found their position becoming increasingly difficult, even dangerous: censorship, harassment, denunciations, arrests; Some, like the violinist Georges Effrosse, vanished never to return.

Georges Effrosse – Violin & Baritone Sax
“In 1930, he joined Grapelli, Christiane CHIBOUST and Andre DAVID in the line of 3 violins made up within the orchestra of Ray VENTURA. He was is an exceptional musician, violinist of great technique and improvisation – jazz which was at the height of its popularity. Georges EFFROSSE life will be terminated dramatically in the Nazi concentration camp of Dora-Mittelbau in 1944. ” (Jacques HELIAN). At the end of 1943, the Dora work squads had “the highest death rate” in the entire concentration camp system”

Hugues PANASSIE wrote about it: “EFFROSSE shows an astonishing facility. He was the personification of of interpretation Hot! A purified VENUTI with a splendid technique, but takes care not to misuse it…”

Georges EFFROSSE, directed, at the beginning of December 1941 a swing unit during an official reception with Bal TABARIN. He belonged to the QUINTET of PARIS, founded in 1942 by Sarane TAG, definitely different from that of the Hot Club from France.

The Bal Tabarin was a cabaret in Paris at 36 Rue Victor Masse in the ninth arrondissement at the foot of Montmartre. Located near the Moulin Rouge in Pigalle. Founded in 1904 by composer and conductor Auguste Bosc, it was built on the site of shacks near the cabaret singers The Trestles Tabarin

Django, too well-known to be seriously at risk, had never needed to compromise with the Occupation Authorities in order to keep working, but now he, too, was beginning to feel the pressure. The music he had written for an avant-garde production of Andromaque had earned him the condemnation of the collaborationist press and threats of violence from the dreaded Milice, and pressure of another kind was coming from the Germans who were becoming insistent in their demands that the Quintet should appear in the Reich itself. Django felt it would be prudent to leave Paris; he made two attempts to get into neutral Switzerland but was turned back both times as Suing “neither black nor Jewish”. Then began a period of wandering the length and breadth of France, sometimes with the Quintet, sometimes on the roads with his nomadic “cousins”, and once even returning to Paris to open his own club “La Roulotte” (not far from the place where his son Babik was born”).

Late summer 1943 Django attempted to cross the Border twice in to Switzerland with disastrous results. The 1st time he was arrested but was released by a sympathetic Commandant who had a collection of Swing records. On the 2nd occasion he got as far as the Swiss border but was turned back by Customs Officials who had never heard of him or cared for Jazz – he was merely treated as Gypsy.

uring September 1946, Django Reinhardt was on tour in Switzerland; he lost most of his earnings in the Swiss Casinos but had some good news while in Zurich from a British Representative of the William Morris Agency

After the Swiss tour with Michel de Villers he took up painting to make up for the lack of regular work. Finally Django signed up for a U.S. tour with Duke Ellington. It was at best half a success. Django’s “two-fingered style” certainly drew the crowds and the applause. But his inability to communicate with his audience and submit to the necessary discipline of a touring big–band while strugling with aplification and a casserole of a Guitar (Gibson L-300) was a fatal impediment which even the best-disposed of critics couldn’t overlook. Despite a moderately successful appearance at the “Café Society” in New-York with the Ed Hall band, the miraculous hoped-for a California contract never materialised and in February 1947 he returned from the States disillusioned by a country “where the guitars sound like saucepans”.

Mid April 1953 Django plays concerts in Geneva and the Grande Casino in Basel, Switzerland (inset). He complains to Naguine of headaches and numbness of the fingers. On 7th May Django borrows a caravan and crosses the Swiss Alps fishing on the way to arrive at Samois on 15th May 1953. May 16, 1953, when, while returning from the Avon, Seine-et-Marne train station, he collapsed outside his house from a brain haemorrhage. It took a full day for a doctor to arrive and Django was declared dead on arrival at the hospital in Fontainebleau.

Druckbare Version
Seitenanfang nach oben