Django’s 1939 J’attendrai: AI upscaled, de-noised, and re-sync’ed

Every gypsy jazz guitarist knows this video well. It’s 1939. Joseph and the fellas are getting a card game in before the show. St├ęphane’s having a cigarette in bed (tsk!). And Django Reinhardt’s lounging on the couch playing just about the most beautiful intro to J’attendrai imaginable.

I used AI upscaling to bump this video up to 1080p. The AI also did a great job of removing noise, and a decent job sharpening up edges. I then used some old-fashioned video editing to enhance the colors. Nothing I could do about the fact that someone forgot to turn on the lights halfway through!

The audio was also processed. The source video was a bit out of sync. I did better, but it was tricky to get right for reasons I’ll get into later. Also amplified the audio, added some EQ, and removed the hiss from the background.

Anyway, I didn’t work miracles, but it’s still way better than any other version of it out there. It’s fun to see the furrow of Django’s brow as he plays his legendary solo.

A few realizations working on this video:

  • This video is not, in fact, live. At least not all of it. You can hear a clear splice when Django’s solo begins.
  • There’s also a part in the guitar intro that’s impossible to sync with Django’s fingers. My only explanation is that it’s dubbed.
  • Joseph Reinhardt’s guitar is very, very beat up!

Django Reinhardt en couleur

Have you ever wondered what Django Reinhardt looked like in color?

I’ve been very fascinated with AI image processing, specifically upscaling and colorization of old black and white photos. Having looked into a few open-source libraries, DeOldify kept coming up with the most impressive results.

The first images I thought to throw at DeOldify were those of my hero Django Reinhardt, of course. There are few color photos of him. In my obsession with his music, I’ve stared at these images a lot and seeing them in color is truly surreal for me. I hope it is for you too. Enjoy!

First a couple of stills from the classic 1939 J’attendrai video: one of only two known live videos of Django. Fans know it well:

Next, some of my favorite shots of Django, where he’s uncharacteristically playing an Archtop in lieu of his usual Selmer petit bouche:

This was Fred Guy’s Levin Deluxe guitar, which Reinhardt borrowed for a visit to the US. The AI did an amazing job. Look at the flame on the sides of that guitar!
Another shot of the Levin Archtop and the day’s sports section. The guitar was auctioned a few years back. Anyone know who got it?
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