Django: A Life on the Move
Swing Guitars, Marseille, 1945

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Django Reinhardt 12

After his failed escape attempts Django returned to Place Pigalle and kept his head down. When the demand to tour Germany seemed forgotten, he took his new quintet on the road around France, followed by a residence in Paris. During the tense period before the Liberation he again withdrew, until on 25 August 1944 the German garrison surrendered the French capital. He had miraculously survived the war! (ChD p.118/ MD p.184)

The new French government of Charles De Gaulle, as a mark of respect to the mourning families of the war dead, closed down all the nightclubs in Paris. Reinhardt had again to travel south to pick up work on the Côte d’Azur, and when that dried up, he tried his luck at the U.S. Army camp in Marseille. In the coming months this led to productive and appreciative relationships with both American service audiences and musicians.

Swing Guitars [OSW409-1] comes from a recording with the Air Transport Command Band, the U.S. Army’s chief touring outfit at that time. Under the direction of Jack Platt, it was a very classy band, providing Django with driving, full-bodied swing accompaniment.