As the years go by, each day brings additional proof that there’s no need to be a jazz fan in order to develop a passion for Django’s dreamlike universe, for the poetry and that so very special tone which were his alone.  Alain Antonietto – Rétrospective Django Reinhardt 1934-53

Rétrospective Django Reinhardt - 1934-53 (2003)
Rétrospective Django Reinhardt – 1934-53 (2003)

Virtuoso Gypsy jazz guitar player Django Reinhardt’s “dreamlike universe” really shines through in a slow piece such as “Si tu savais”. This particular theme is originally a French song written by Danish-born and France-based singer, composer and guitarist Georges Ulmer (1919-1989). According to DjangoBooks, the song* was composed sometime between 1938 and 1944, it was never released commercially but was widely played and performed on the radio at the time.

Django Reinhardt recorded “Si tu savais” in 1947 with Stephane Grappelli and the “Quintette du Hot Club de France”, thus integrating the theme into the Gypsy jazz repertoire. The musicians’ restrained interpretation only serves to highlight the melodic beauty of the theme.

“Si tu savais” has been revisited by several artists since, including French guitar player Biréli Lagrène who put his own stamp on the tune and recorded it in 2001 on his Gypsy Project album.

* The original song can be downloaded from the forum.