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Swing Quintette de Paris

The Swing Quintette de Paris was a band that emerged in the vibrant Parisian music scene during the early 1940s. Led by Jacques Montagne (also known as Jacques Montagne petit), the group featured a talented lineup including Leo Slabiak on the violin, Djouan Sollero on guitar, and Noye Malha on guitar until his untimely passing in 1942 at the age of 15. Together, they created a unique blend of swing and gypsy jazz that gained them local fame and recognition.

Jacques Montagne, a young and gifted guitarist, played a pivotal role in the Swing Quintette de Paris. His skillful guitar work and leadership helped shape the band’s sound and direction. Leo Slabiak, born in Poland in 1920, joined the group as the violinist, bringing a rich and expressive voice to their music. Leo had moved to Paris as a child and quickly developed a passion for playing the violin.

The Swing Quintette de Paris quickly made a name for themselves in the Parisian cabaret scene. Their energetic and captivating performances enchanted audiences, showcasing their technical prowess and musical artistry. Despite their young ages, the band members displayed remarkable talent and maturity beyond their years.

Unfortunately, no recordings of the Swing Quintette de Paris exist today, leaving their music to live on only in the memories of those who had the chance to witness their performances. The band’s live shows were renowned for their infectious energy and skilled improvisations, solidifying their reputation as one of the prominent groups in the Paris music scene at the time.

Tragically, the Swing Quintette de Paris faced several setbacks that ultimately led to their dissolution. In 1942, Noye Malha, one of the guitarists, passed away at the age of 15, marking a significant loss for the group. Two years later, Jacques Montagne, the band’s leader, also left this world at a tender age of 16. The passing of Montagne and the challenges posed by the German occupation of France disrupted the band’s trajectory, ultimately bringing their journey to an untimely end.

Decades later, in a 1999 interview with “French Guitare” magazine, Leo Slabiak mentioned that the Swing Quintette de Paris disbanded following the death of Jacques Montagne. The band’s brief but impactful presence in the Parisian music scene remains a testament to their talent and the vibrant spirit of the era.

Though their recorded legacy may be absent, the Swing Quintette de Paris holds a place in the annals of Parisian musical history. Their youthful exuberance, combined with their dedication to the swinging sounds of the time, left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who witnessed their performances. Their story serves as a reminder of the resilience and passion of young musicians in the face of challenging times.  Picture #3:  “Django Reinhardt and The illustrated History of Gypsy Jazz” book Michael Dregni.