#2 DJANGO REINHARDT – a personal collection from his work curated by us. In this series of posts we’d like to present to you the incredible artistic journey that’s Django’s career.

Louis Vola et son Orchestre du Lido de Toulon – Carinosa

28th May 1931, Le Lido de Toulon

Django Reinhardt suffers from a grave incident in October 1928. His caravan set on fire, he and his wife could barely escape. His back and left hand had burned severely. This event would change his life and the course of jazz immensely. His injury on his left hand damaged his ring finger and pinky so badly that he could only use them for chord playing. Despite all anticipations about a future without music, Django trained his working two fingers tirelessly and in about two years he developed his own virtuoso technique the world knows today. He returned to music in 1931 as a sideman in Louis Vola’s orchestra who invited him to gigs and recording sessions.

Louis Vola

Louis Vola lead an orchestra at the French Riviera in the 30’s. Besides bass, he eventually played on accordion, piano or even drums. He was a successful music entrepreneur who even landed some gigs for Django. He became a founding member of the Hot Club de France alongside Django and Stephane Grappelli and played bass on the group’s legendary tunes recorded between ‘34 and ‘38.

The recording session

Let’s roll back to May 1931. Louis Vola and his Orchestre du Lido de Toulon recorded 3 songs and invited Django to play with them. Each song gives more opportunity and space to him. These are the first recordings after his accident. He switched his banjo to a guitar (a present from his brother, Joseph) as the instrument became more and more popular at the time. Although he plays accompaniment on the first two recordings and his signature, his very percussive rhythm guitar playing technique is already apparent. Finally, he plays an intro for the last song and throughout the recording, his guitar is equally represented amongst the accordion and violin, the first chance for the world to hear the master of manouche guitar, Django Reinhardt.

The three songs from the session:

  • Canaria
  • C’est Une Valse Qui Chante
  • Carinosa