Django: A Life on the Move
I Saw Stars, Hôtel Claridge, 1934

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Django Reinhardt 05

Django did not find a group of like-minded jazz musicians until chance played a hand. Bass player Louis Vola had been commissioned to put together an orchestra to play teatime sessions at Hôtel Claridge, on the Champs-Élysées, and invited Django to join him. Amongst the fourteen musicians was a young violinist, Stéphane Grappelli, with whom Django began to jam backstage during the breaks. These sessions generated such excitement that musicians from other bands would come in especially to hear them.

Around this time a group of jazz connoisseurs and record collectors formed an appreciation club in Paris, which they named The Hot Club of France. Word spread of the brilliant Romani guitarist in their midst, and various members tried to help develop his career. A recording session with Grappelli was organised by Pierre Nourry and Charles Delaunay, son of the famous painters, through contacts at the Odéan studio. I Saw Stars [1071] was one of the two numbers recorded onto acetate. Despite their musical quality, the demos failed to impress the record companies and producers they were sent to, including the American producer John Hammond. (ChD p.64/ MD p.85)