Jazz festivals, while fairly commonplace today, were a novelty in the late 1940’s. In May of 1949, the Paris International Jazz Festival became one of the very first of any size, and certainly one of the the first to feature famous acts in a strictly jazz idiom. The French had been jazz-mad since the 1920’s, and the most devoted of them had formed what they called the Hot Club of France. Django Reinhardt’s band was called the Quintet of the Hot Club of France (Le Quintette du Hot Club de France), which is how this organization is most often remembered today. Its Paris branch organized this 1949 Festival, and built it around the best American expatriate players then living in France, including Bill Coleman, Sidney Bechet, Rex Stewart, Kenny Clarke and Don Byas. The coup was the booking of Charlie Parker, who talked Miles Davis into joining the bill as well. Miles, pictured here with French singer Juliet Greco during his appearance at the Festival, had just left Parker’s band (replaced by Kenny Dorham), and was freelancing. Tadd Dameron, one of the other American acts imported for the Festival, engaged Davis, who hadn’t yet formed his own band, as well as James Moody to form a Dameron horn section for the Festival. They were joined by the bands of Hot Lips Page, Jimmy McPartland and a bevy of European jazz players, including a young Toots Thielmans. Our poster is a re-creation of the original, some of which can occasionally be found at auction for hundreds of dollars. Interestingly, Django appears last, in small type, which one supposes is simply an indication of his ubiquity around Paris in those years, and not any sort of waning popularity. Sort of an “oh, and of course Django will be there, too” attitude.