As life in France darkened under the Occupation, so paradoxically Django’s star shone brighter. A member of a persecuted people, it seems that the safest place for him to be was in the spotlight.
The Nazis had designated Paris a city of recuperation and relaxation for members of their armed forces. The promise of ‘Everybody Once in Paris’ acted as a morale booster, and the Germans turned a blind eye to many prohibited practices, including the playing of jazz. The nightclubs of Pigalle become the centre of jazz in the city during the war.
Freed from the constraints of the old Quintet, Django explored the new ‘swing’ rhythms and arrangements coming out of America. Picking up again with Rostaing, they played close harmony riffs, as can be heard on Swing ’42 [OSW229-1] not unlike the approach of the Benny Goodman and Charlie Christian in the States. Jazz was now the most popular dance music on both sides of the Atlantic and soon Reinhardt had all the work, money and adulation that he had dreamed of. (MD p.157)