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To write too much about Django Reinhardt at this point would be carrying owls to Athens…. Or would have to fill twenty pages. The French guitarist, composer and bandleader was the founder of European jazz and created Gipsy Swing by combining 1920s New Orleans jazz, French valses musettes and the traditional playing style of the Sinti. His guitar playing is still a role model and incentive today.

I have chosen a wonderful blues that proves how blues and swing can be combined, a special gift of Django Reinhardt. And supplement the original with a recent vocal recording of the “Girls From Mars” and their lyrics.

I said blue drag,
It sure is draggin’ me down:
I’m almost scraping the ground
When I hear that blue drag.
Slow drag,
It’s got that new lazy swing;
I crave that new crazy swing;
I must have my blue drag!
Oh that rhythm, blue rhythm,
has brought me A peculiar phase;
Oh that rhythm, blue rhythm,
has brought me Peculiar days.
I can’t get enough of blue drag;
You’ve got my soul on fire;
I never tire of that low down blue drag.
Now I said “blue drag”,
It sure is draggin’ me down:
I’m almost scraping the ground
When I hear that blue drag.
Slow drag, It’s got that new lazy swing;
I crave that new crazy swing;
I must have my blue drag!
Oh that rhythm, blue rhythm,
has brought me A peculiar phase;
Oh that rhythm, blue rhythm,
has brought me Peculiar days.
Blue drag, You’ve got my soul on fire;
Oh, I never tire of that low down blue drag.
I said that low down,
I said that low down,
I said that low down blue drag.


Jochen Axer, supporter of King Georg and promoter of many other jazz projects via the Cologne Jazz Supporters, presents one of his favorites here every Sunday.

In 1926, a year after “Tea for Two,” which was to become one of his greatest hits, Vincent Youmans wrote “I Know That You Know.” Especially in the instrumental version, the song became a popular jazz tune and was covered many times by a variety of musicians, as early as 1926 by Cliff Edwards, and later by Benny Goodman, Lionel Hampton, Louis Armstrong, Kansas City Five, Gene Krupa, Coleman Hawkins, Glenn Miller and many others. Doris Day sang “I Know That You Know” in the feature film “Tea for Two.” Woody Allen used Gene Krupa’s version in his film “Crime and Other Trivia” (1989).

I have chosen the racy version of the gifted pianist Art Tatum from 1949. Tatum, who was nearly blind from youth, had absolute pitch and, in addition to his innate musicality, had superior technique. Charlie Parker is said to have applied for a job as a dishwasher in a New York restaurant as a teenager, just so he could hear Art Tatum, who played there regularly. Oscar Peterson, upon hearing Tatum play for the first time, is said to have believed that two pianists were playing simultaneously; so dense and complex was the sound that Tatum was capable of playing on the piano. Peterson called Art Tatum the greatest jazz instrumentalist of all time. It is said that Peterson “cried himself to sleep for months, when he heard Art Tatum’s Tiger Rag for the first time”. And the world-famous classical pianist Vladimir Horowitz was reportedly moved to tears. The sentence “If Art Tatum ever took up classical music seriously, I’d quit tomorrow” has been handed down from him.

Fats Waller, who perhaps influenced and inspired Tatum the most, was also deeply impressed; he is quoted as saying, “When this man gets going, nobody can hold a candle to him. He sounds like a whole brass band.” The great Leonard Feather called him the greatest soloist in jazz history, on any instrument.

So here are his best-known recordings from the 1930s (Tiger Rag starting at 6:53; Song oft he Vagabonds 10:42; and another 27 seconds of “I Know that you know” (14:40)

Or from the 50’s four versions of “Over the rainbow” !!!

And for the sake of completeness Doris Day with the text version:

I know that you know
That I’ll go where you go
I choose you, won’t lose you
I wish you knew how much I long to hold you in my arms

This time is my time
T’will soon be goodbye time
Then in the star light, hold me tight
With one more little kiss say nighty night

I know that you know
That I’ll go where you go
I choose you, won’t lose you
I wish you knew how much I long to hold you in my arms
This time is my time
T’will soon be goodbye time
Then in the star light, hold me tight
With one more little kiss say nighty night

I know that you know
That I’ll go where you go
I choose you, won’t lose you
I wish you knew how much I long to hold you in my arms
This time is my time
T’will soon be goodbye time
Then in the star light, hold me tight
With one more little kiss say nighty night

I know that you know
That I’ll go where you go
I choose you, don’t plan to lose you
I wish you knew how much I long to hold you in my arms
This time is my time
T’will soon be goodbye time
Then in the star light, hold me tight
With one more little kiss say nighty night

And finally the big band version of Gene Krupa


Jochen Axer, supporter of King Georg and promoter of many other jazz projects via the Cologne Jazz Supporters, presents one of his favorites here every Sunday.

The title track of the 1957 album of the same name by John Coltrane, a wonderful blues, with quite a few rhythm changes and in a clear hard bop style. John Coltrane declared this album to be his favorite – and it was also his “first” album in this respect, because he chose all the pieces and the musicians. Blue Train” is also his composition – and the line-up is of course great with Lee Morgan (trumpet), Curtis Fuller (trombone), Kenny Drew (piano), Paul Chambers (bass) and Philly Joe Jones (drums).

The album is considered one of the milestones of jazz. And it is worth listening to the whole album in peace and enjoy John Coltrane with his saxophone and his band members.


Jochen Axer, supporter of King Georg and promoter of many other jazz projects via the Cologne Jazz Supporters, presents one of his favorites here every Sunday.