Watch Django Reinhardt & Stéphane Grappelli Play Masterfully Together in Vivid Color (1938)

Few jazz gui­tarists today could claim to be entire­ly free of the influ­ence of Djan­go Rein­hardt. This despite the fact that he lost the use of two fin­gers — which ulti­mate­ly encour­aged him to devel­op a dis­tinc­tive play­ing style — and that he died 68 years ago. The unfor­tu­nate abbre­vi­a­tion of Rein­hardt’s life means that he nev­er built a sub­stan­tial body of solo work, though he did play on many record­ed dates that include per­for­mances along­side Cole­man Hawkins and Ben­ny Carter. It also means that he left even less in the way of footage, though we do get a crisp and illu­mi­nat­ing view of him and his gui­tar in the 1938 doc­u­men­tary short “Jazz ‘Hot,’ ” pre­vi­ous­ly fea­tured here on Open Cul­ture.

“Jazz ‘Hot’ ” also fea­tures vio­lin-play­ing from Stéphane Grap­pel­li, who found­ed the group Quin­tette du Hot Club de France with Rein­hardt in 1934. As they deep­ened their knowl­edge of jazz, the two influ­enced each oth­er so thor­ough­ly as to devel­op their own style of music.

Grap­pel­li lived long enough to play with the likes of Jean-Luc Pon­ty, Paul Simon, Yo Yo Ma, and even Pink Floyd. Still, more than a few jazz fans would sure­ly claim that none of his pro­fes­sion­al col­lab­o­ra­tors was more impor­tant to his musi­cal for­ma­tion than Rein­hardt. Now you can see them play­ing togeth­er in col­or, and fair­ly real­is­tic col­or at that, in the clip at the top of the post.

The orig­i­nal black-and-white footage (which appears just above) was col­orized with DeOld­ify, a deep learn­ing-based appli­ca­tion devel­oped to restore pho­tographs and motion pic­tures from bygone times. Per­haps you’ve seen the pre­vi­ous DeOld­ify col­oriza­tion projects we’ve fea­tured here, which run the gamut from musi­cal num­bers in Stormy Weath­er and Hel­lza­pop­pin’ to scenes of 1920s Berlin and even an 1896 snow­ball fight in Lyon. Grant­ed access to a time machine, more than a few jazz-lovers would no doubt choose to go back to the Paris of the 1930s to see the Quin­tette du Hot Club de France in action. Tech­nol­o­gy has yet to make that a viable propo­si­tion, but it’s giv­en us a next-best-thing that no appre­ci­a­tor of jazz gui­tar — or jazz vio­lin — could fail to enjoy.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Jazz ‘Hot’: The Rare 1938 Short Film With Jazz Leg­end Djan­go Rein­hardt

How Djan­go Rein­hardt, After Los­ing Two Fin­gers, Devel­oped An Inno­v­a­tive Style & Inspired Black Sab­bath Gui­tarist Toni Iom­mi to Do the Same

Djan­go Rein­hardt Demon­strates His Gui­tar Genius in Rare Footage From the 1930s, 40s & 50s

Hear Lost Record­ing of Pink Floyd Play­ing with Jazz Vio­lin­ist Stéphane Grap­pel­li on “Wish You Were Here”

One of the Great­est Dances Sequences Ever Cap­tured on Film Gets Restored in Col­or by AI: Watch the Clas­sic Scene from Stormy Weath­er

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities, lan­guage, and cul­ture. His projects include the Sub­stack newslet­ter Books on Cities, the book The State­less City: a Walk through 21st-Cen­tu­ry Los Ange­les and the video series The City in Cin­e­ma. Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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