From the Record Shelves #159


LP Decca 115.120/124

I brought back this box with five LPs from Paris sometime in the early 1970s. The interest in Django Reinhardt’s music has grown a lot since then. Even here in Malmö, Sweden, there is a little yearly festival around his birthday on January 23.

My interest was spurred by the 1970 Bernardo Bertolucci film Il conformista, which begins magnificently with the music of Django’s group, Quintette du Hot Club de France.

The story has been told many times: Django was given a banjo-guitar and became proficient playing it, to the point that he got an offer to play with Jack Hylton’s famous orchestra in London. But before beginning the engagement, an accident—a fire in his camping wagon—nearly killed him and left him with the handicap of only being able to use the thumb and two fingers on his left hand.

However, after his brother Joseph bought him a steel stringed guitar, he developed his own technique and became the virtuoso that many study and get inspiration from today.

On this recording Django is alone, with his violin companion Stephane Grappelli accompanying on piano. They use the original Italian title of the song, published just the year before in 1937, which means “You’ll come back.” Strangely enough, given Django’s fame and impact on the music scene, there only exists a short footage of him, as far as I know, playing this song under the French title J’attendrai, which means “I’ll wait.”