Django: A Life on the Move
Stockholm, Hamburg, 1939

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Django Reinhardt 07

The Quintet stopped at Hamburg on their way to play a short Scandinavian tour. The station was bristling with armed Nazi troops assembling for the launch by Hitler of a new battleship on the following day. Swastikas and banners hung everywhere, adding further to the sense of intimidation the musicians felt as they waited on the platform for their connecting train. Django swore to never visit Germany again. (ChD p.95)

The Quintet’s rhythm guitars tended towards a heavy metronomic beat. Known as la pompe – the pump – the fierce up-and-down propulsive rhythm derived from bal-musette. Its lack of modulation and lightness of touch placed it at odds with developments in American jazz. It was clearly favoured by Django, however, as it provided a solid structure against which his sinuous melody lines could work. Stockholm [OPG1719-1] offers a graphic example of emphatic strict time.