Django Reinhardt NY Festival in November | French Culture

Going stronger than ever The Django Reinhardt NY Festival and The Allstars have taken the US by storm.  They are headed again to NY from Paris, landing at Birdland, their official home, where it all started in 2000, with an ‘idea’ inspired by Producers Ettore Stratta and Pat Philips due to their work with famed Jazz Violinist Stephane Grappelli, Django’s partner, back in the 30’s and 40’s. The Producers  set out to bring Django’s style out from underground to ‘overground’ and spread the word: HOT JAZZ is better than ever and here to stay!

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Uzès – I Can’t Give You Anything But Love

Gypsy jazz ala Django in Uzès

It was so cool to run into this gypsy jazz quartet performing at Place aux Herbes, in Uzès last July. In this video recorded from my iPhone, the Uzès guys (never caught their name so let’s call them The Uzèsniacs ) are masterfully strumming “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love,” in that beautiful jazz manouche style.

Apologies -my cell battery sadly dies in the middle of a great guitar solo. Mert!

“I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” is an American jazz standard attributed to the Tin Pan Alley team of  Jimmy McHugh (music) and Dorothy Fields (lyrics) in 1928. Fats Waller and Una Mae Carlisle recorded my favorite version of the song, and there are jazz scholars who maintain that it was actually Waller who wrote the song and sold it to McHugh and Fields for $500. Mert, encore!

The song “I Can’t Give You Anything but Love” is also famously featured in the classic screwball comedy Bringing Up Baby (1938) with Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The Uzèsniacs probably learned the song from this wonderful 1936 version from Django Reinhardt et le Quintette du Hot Club de France ( listen below)

Chanson Du Jour: “Viper’s Dream”

The Chanson Du Jour for 10/13/2016: Birelli Legrene’s “Viper’s Dream”

This is one of the great “reefer” songs of the many written in the ’30s and ’40s (Minnie the Moocher, If You’re a Viper, Hong Kong BluesViper’s Dream was composed by Fletcher Allen and made popular in 1935 by Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France. In the clip below, Birelli Legrene performs the song live at a 2002 jazz festival. Legrene is one of the leading current practitioners of the jazz manouche gypsy guitar style that Django Reinhardt invented.

Speaking of reefer – travel guru Rick Steves is touring Massachusetts this week in support of the state’s referendum, Question 4, to legalize recreational marijuana. Check it out