Transatlantic Swing: The Influence of Louis Armstrong on Django Reinhardt and the Development of Jazz in France

Spillane, Jeremiah. 2016. 'Transatlantic Swing: The Influence of Louis Armstrong on Django Reinhardt and the Development of Jazz in France'. In: Third Westminster-Goldsmiths Symposium for Student Research in Popular Music. Westminster University, London, United Kingdom. [Conference or Workshop Item]

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Abstract or Description

Django Reinhardt’s first encounter with the music of Louis Armstrong was a seminal moment in the history of jazz in Europe. This encounter, through the medium of recorded music, was instrumental in propelling Reinhardt through a career which would see the Gypsy guitarist become Europe’s most recognisable jazz innovator. In doing so, Reinhardt, in the company of the Quintette du Hot Club de France, became responsible for the creation of Europe’s first significant contribution to the global explosion of jazz.

Drawing on archival materials to historically locate and better understand the influence of Armstrong on the Parisian jazz scene in the 1930s, this paper aims to elucidate the difficult question of influence. By extending upon the complex interplay between Reinhardt and Louis Armstrong, and situating the importance of jazz hot and its influence on popular music culture in France, this paper will situate specifically how Armstrong influenced jazz in France with particular reference to Django Reinhardt and the Quintette du Hot Club de France.

This analytical and cultural study attempts to present alternative methodological approaches to understanding the notion of influence through a non-linear contextual examination of genre and stylistic development. In doing so it attempts to negate the hierarchical history of jazz through a broader study of the cultural climate of the Parisian jazz scene and the interactions therein.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


Jazz, Gypsy Jazz, New Orleans, Paris, Globalisation, Culture, Music, Popular Music, Influence, Development

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Music > Popular Music Research Unit



Event Location:

Westminster University, London, United Kingdom

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

26 May 2016 12:49

Last Modified:

01 Jul 2019 13:17


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