Saturday, December 19, 2015

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Jean Sablon

Artist:Jean Sablon w/Django Reinhardt
Song:The Continental

Jean Sablon is frequently described as the Bing Crosby of France. He wasn't as popular as Maurice Chevalier but Sablon had a long career spanning several decades. In the 30s, Sablon was a key figure in helping legendary guitarist Django Reinhardt establish himself in Paris. Sablon recorded about 30 times with Reinhardt. Most of those recordings should be on this comp from ASV/Living Era. A lot of fans may not know that Reinhardt recorded with singers especially in his early days. Sablon was born Mar. 25, 1906 in Nogent-sur-Marne, France. His father Charles Sablon was a composer and so was his brother Andre Sablon. His sister Germaine Sablon was an actress and singer who also recorded with Reinhardt. Sablon studied piano at Lycee Charlemagne in Paris and he studied vocal at Paris Conservatoire. He started singing in Paris cabarets at age 17. His first recordings were with the pianist Mireille and he also performed with Mistinguett at the Casino de Paris. That really helped him as she was very popular at the time. He also spent a couple of years in Brazil. Sablon moved back to France in the early 30s and that's when he met Reinhardt. Sablon helped Reinhardt get established in Paris clubs and in return, Reinhardt recorded with Sablon. The Continental was recorded Jan. 7, 1935 with Sablon on vocals, Reinhardt on guitar and Garland Wilson on piano. Wilson was best known as pianist for singer Nina Mae McKinney. He lived in Paris for a few years and moved back to the US in 1939. The Continental was written by Con Conrad and Herb Magidson and sung by Ginger Rogers in the 1934 film The Gay Divorcee. It won a Best Song Oscar so it was a popular song at the time. Reinhardt recorded The Continental a couple of months later with the Hot Club Quintet featuring Grappelli and singer Jerry Mengo singing in English. Mengo was a drummer who sang occasionally. He just wasn't that well known in France compared to Sablon. Sablon lived in the US during WWII and appeared on radio and Broadway. He returned to France after the war and had a long career until his death on Apr. 24, 1994 at age 87. Here's a video of Jean Sablon with Django Reinhardt singing The Continental.

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