Warlop’s Violin By Jacques Bourgeois
From The Gypsy Jazz Encyclopedia

Translated by J. Taylor Doggett


Michel Warlop circa 1938
Michel Warlop has never received his deserved recognition in the history of jazz. Little has been written, nor has much of his work been reissued on CD. There are exceptions of course: Daniel Nevers has released one CD of Warlop on EMI. Patrick Williams, in his respected work, “Django” devotes several pages outlining Django's collaborations with Warlop. Like Django, Warlop first copied American styles before developing his own style. Bernard Niquit said of Warlop: “He died at age 36. Had he lived longer, much more would have come from him.” Alain Romans said: “The style of Michel Warlop was that of a gypsy lost in Harlem.” Warlop was a brilliant classical player who converted to jazz.
Michel Warlop was born 23 Jan 1911 in Douai, France. In his early years he attended the conservatory in Lille. In 1924 he entered the Paris Conservatory. By 1928 he had won first prize at the conservatory in “Singing, Violin and Direction.” His father, who was a self-employed baker and owned a boulangerie in Douai, was not pleased with his son’s desire to seek a career in music. But young Michel’s mother, a part-time music teacher at the conservatory in Liège, always supported his pursuits in music, even in jazz. By 1930, the classical music world in Paris was viewing Warlop as a second Yehudi Menuhin, who was at that time was seen as a boy wonder. At age 15, Michel was playing solos at concerts, and an outstanding career as a concert violinist appeared likely. But Michel was a dreamer, and wanted to pursue what he had been in love with since 1927: jazz. The nightclubs of Pigalle drew him in like a magnet. He was especially drawn to Tabac Pigalle, where artists with various instruments and styles created a great melting pot. Further: at that time he had found the recordings of Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang, and he would often see Eddie South perform at the Boeuf sur la Toit or the Plantation. In the course of his short life, he would always have the greatest admiration for Eddie South. In 1937, he told Bernard Niquit he felt Eddie South to be the equal of both Heifetz and Menuhin. In 1937, when Eddie South returned to Paris, he and Warlop played together, but unfortunately, no recordings were made of the session.

Getting that characteristic sound
After some classical performances at the end of 1929, Warlop began playing with Gregor and ses Gregorians in early 1930 at Tabac Pigalle. Gregor, who enjoyed his greatest successes between 1929 and 1933, was influenced by Fletcher Henderson and Paul Whiteman. Gregor’s band always had first-class musicians who could play “hot”. However, audiences of the day preferred what we now call “varietes”, thus Gregor’s orchestra put on a “show”, complete with dancing girls, etc. Gregor was a real pacesetter, whose influence was wide – Ray Ventura, Jo Bouillion, Raymond Legrand and Jacques Helian all followed Gregor’s lead. Further: all the French jazzmen (except Django) – Philip Brun, Alix Combelle, Noel Chiboust, Andre Ekyan, Pierre Allier, Alex Renard, and of course Stephane Grappelli (on piano) were all alumni of Gregor’s orchestra. Gregor’s band was the hottest of the French big bands of the era, and he promoted his quality sound as “Maîtres Solistes”. Warlop can be heard on Gregor’s recording from 1930-1933. He did not make the trip to South America with Gregor – it seems that he did not like to travel. According to Alain Romans, Warlop was at this time very interested in the black American bands playing in Montmartre. He was studying the tone, technique and musical instincts of players like Willie Lewis, Doc Cheatham, Albert Wynn, Gene Cedric, Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Arthur Briggs, Bill Coleman and Garland Wilson. Such were his passions, but he was still required to play some classical music to earn a living. Upon Gregor’s return from the Argentine, he returned to his soloist’s spot in the band. Michel’s nickname was “Michou”, and he was a serious, modest and shy young man, known as a musician’s musician. Because of his formal training and knowledge of jazz, he had a bit of a halo during these days. Jacques Helian once wrote of him: “This person Warlop is a phenomenon! Overall first-class on violin, on vocals, in the realms of harmony, of counterpoint, in choir, he is equally as gifted as Grappelly.”
At the end of the 20s and the early 30s, Grappelly and Warlop were good friends and even shared an apartment for a spell. Warlop taught Grappelly technique and introduced him into jazz culture, whereas Grappelly was able to acquaint Warlop with popular music, how better to express himself in this world.
Gregor’s band was at this time – 1933 – touring France and Europe quite successfully, but scandal with the income tax authorities and other money problems brought this famous band to an end in 1934. It was reorganized as Ray Ventura’s orchestra. The exodus of good players from Gregor’s band actually began in 1933, but it happened slowly. The uncertainty of the future caused all the stars to depart by early 1934.
Warlop had other skills besides his violin – he was a skilled arranger and composer. Thus he formed the first of his bands, called the Chicago Syncopaters which recorded in 1933 and 1934 for the Sonobel label. On 8 Jan 1934, he recorded “All for the Swing” and “Crazy Fiddle”. Here we visit for the first time the strange individual world of Michel Warlop’s passion, desire, melancholy and depression. Piero Coppolla, a leading composer and artistic director of Gramophone France (aka HMV or RCA) employed the young man as a preferred session man. He was also entrusted with the creation and production of various jazz recordings, especially those with vocalists. He was still frustrated at having to carry out this scut work to make a living, as it was keeping him from executing his own ideas. Warlop and Django met for the first time at a recording session in April of 1934. The singer was Jean Sablon, the song was “Je suis Sex-Appeal”. There is some question whether Warlop or Léon Ferreri played violin on this session, but without doubt the two men (Django and Warlop) played together on many sessions during 1934, 1935, and 1936. In particular the two were favorites of Jean Sablon, and also his sister Germaine. Jean Sablon was contracted to Columbia, which at the time had ties to HMV, who were Warlop’s paymasters. Germaine Sablon, an excellent interpreter of songs though not exactly jazzy, was only one more of the many singers that Warlop (and Django) accompanied during this time. Some of the others were: Aimé Simon Girard, Léon Monosson, “la Petite Mirsha”, and Maurice Chevalier, for whom Warlop recorded in January and November of 1934. He also recorded with Jean Tranchent, an excellent singer and composer in the modern style, Mireille, and the painter and entertainer Charles Trenet. Django and Warlop often backed Trenet together, sometimes joined by Grappelly on piano. Then in June of 1937, he had the opportunity to record with Edith Piaf with Jacques Metehen for Polydor.

Warlop played on approximately 400 recordings. Jacques Helian said of him: “At this time, Michel Warlop was one of the best in Paris…” The Swing label was formed in 1937 by Charles Delauney. He had Warlop provide accompaniment on 13 recordings in 1937 and 1938. Django was enthusiastic about Warlop’s abilities as both a musician and as an arranger. At the same time, Warlop raved to everyone about Django’s abilities and personality. To the violinist, Django was the greatest guitarist in the world. Django and Warlop both had their unique styles, but the same was true of Stephane Grappelly.

Michel Warlop



In September of 1939, Michel Warlop was conscripted into the army despite his poor health and alcoholism. He was captured by the Nazis in May 1940, and released for health reasons in March 1941.
Upon his return to Paris, he joined the recently formed Raymond Legrand Orchestra. The light music that this orchestra performed was not exactly his style, but participating in a tightly disciplined big band was sound therapy for the frail young man. Plus, he was reunited with many old friends from the 30s – Noel Chiboust, Sylvio Schmidt, and Guy Paquinet from Gregor’s band, plus the guitarist Loulou Gasté, and a couple of hot youngsters, Aimé Barelli and Hubert Rostaing.

Meanwhile, Django was considering reforming some kind of quintet. He had hoped right up until May 1940 for Grappelly’s return, but Stephane had decided to remain in England. Django realized that such a project would require organizational skill that he himself did not possess. His first thought of getting Warlop to help in this project, but of course he was otherwise committed. Georges Efrossé, then playing with Django’s friend Sarrane Ferret was also a first class violinist – or was the true answer to form a new style of quintet? Django eventually decided to install the clarinet of Hubert Rostaing in place of the violin. Regrettably, this new quintet did not last long. Django decided, as he was pretty much a star in his own right, that freelancing was for him the best bet.

He celebrated his return to the studio on Legrand’s “Musique, Musique, Musique” (written by the German Peter Kreuder) which was used in the movie “ ‘Allo, Jeanine”. Warlop was not much used by Legrand as a jazz soloist, though on some sides there was a hint of that sound. During the years 1941-1945, the Legrand orchestra, as successor to the Ray Ventura band, enjoyed enormous success. Ventura was Jewish, and was in exile in South America. Legrand had in his employ most of the top musicians in Paris and was always associated with the most popular singers – but the music was what we call today “varietés Français”, and not really jazz. Michel Warlop directed the string section of this orchestra, and Legrand gave him great freedom to conduct this business in his own manner.


Michel Warlop (second right) with members of the
Raymond Legrand Orchestra
In June 1941, he recorded under his own name the tune “Retour” to celebrate his return to music, and also the song “Nandette”, with Charlie Lewis on piano and Armand Molinetti on drums. In this same month he founded the group “Septour des Cordes”. This remarkable ensemble containd four violins, two guitars (one of these was Matelo Ferret, who had played with Legrand for a short while), and a bass. The four recorded titles are quite well thought of, especially “Tempête sur Les Cordes”. This strange, discordant and alchemical creation falls somewhere between jazz and the classics – and it gives us some insight into the troubled mind of Michel Warlop. Later, he formed “Octour” – Warlop, Silvio Schmidt, Emile Chaverennes and Paulette Izoard on violins, Loulou Gasté and Emile Feldman on guitars, Francis Lucas on bass and Pierre Spiers in Harp (!). In 1942-1943, the following titles were recorded for the Swing label: “Nite”, “Sur Quatre Cordes”, “Poker”, and a handful of others. In November 1942 he founded the large ensemble “Furmiere”, and four more titles with “Septour”. These recordings are today especially rare.

Warlop (lower middle left) in a 1942
Raymond Legrand Poster

Post-liberation found the violinist in a difficult situation. His associations with Legrand, Radio Paris, the tour of Germany, his 1942 composition “Noel des Prisonniers” - all these led to his denouncement as a collaborator. Denied the privilege of performing, forbidden to record, his fragile constitution broke down. His ten-year marraige came to an end. Depressed, he finally found work in Bordeaux with his old bandmate, the pianist Pierre Zeppilli. This did not last, and he spent most of 1945 playing in the bars and nightclubs of Perpignan.
The end of 1945 found him playing at the Grand Hotel Font Romeu in the Pyrenees. This time it was with the pianist Jimmy Rena, Jimmy’s wife Mano who played guitar and Georges Herment on drums. This was to be his curtain call... The latter part of 1945 found the quartet at Superbegnéres, for the grand reopening of the Grand Hotel and spa there. This hotel belonged to the same owners as the Font-Romeu did. These ancient places, with their traditions of manners and grace, sadly no longer exist. The violinist’s health had unfortunately worsened, and his friends hoped that the atmosphere at the spa would help his incipient tuberculosis. Michel was falling back into the clutches of alcohol again, despite the help given him by M and Mme Rena. Still, Warlop was happy, and he felt like he had a real family in the Renas. Through 1946, he continued to play superbly, and even found the energy to indulge his hobby, photography. At the beginning of 1947, his health took a drastic turn for the worse, and he was placed in the hospital at Bagnères de Luchon in the mountains.
On 6 March 1947, the following telegraph at the headquarters of the Hot Club de France: “Michel Warlop died today at 1700, letter to follow.” (signed) Jo.
Jo was Georges Herment, the drummer for the Rena trio. All the members of the trio were with the violinst at the end. Michel Warlop had died of a radically progressing tuberculosis, though his old friend Stephane Grappelly would later declare that he had been “assasinated by idiots”.
Alain Romans’ comments at his death: “Each jazz mucician should not forget Warlop, his creativity, melancholy, perfect emotion, the way he could play jazz as if it were Mozart.”
StephaneGrappelly: “He was taken from us too early - further maturity would have magnified his accomplishments. Sadly, many artists are taken before their work is finished.”
Jazz critic Hugues Panassie; “He never received his deserved reputation, as he was one of the best violinists and one of Europes greatest jazz artists.”
At the age of 36 years, Michel Warlop died far from the glamour of Paris and far from the hot jazz cats of his glory years. His mother was done in by his death as was his former wife. Many personalities showed for his funeral. His father arrived, hoping to acquire his son’s last violin, but the fate of that instrument remains unknown. But the violin that Warlop gave to Stephane Grappelly years earlier - that violin has become a great cult object.
There is a memorial garden in the name of Michel Warlop at Begnères de Luchon, the resort town in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border where Michel Warlop spent his last years.

Although in general Warlop did not do a lot of solo work with on Legrand’s recordings, that would change when Iréne de Trebert became the vocalist in the band. Mlle de Trebert found her ideal accompanist in Michel Warlop. He in turn found much pleasure in accompanying the powerful voice of de Trebert. de Trebert was Legrand’s mistress, she was the vocalist with the most swing, and was the star of the movie “Madamoiselle Swing”. She was also the most popular singer among the young men and women of France. During the war years Warlop also played on Radio Paris, either with the ensemble “Jazzdixit” (which made four recordings), or with a little group which re-explored the themes of “Septour”, as well as American standards, and popular melodies. There were recordings made, but today they are lost… These broadcasts and recordings were carried out under the Legrand contract with Radio Paris. In looking at the music in Paris during the war years, we find a pleasant mix of virtuosity, originality, interpretation and a search for the unusual. American music was missing but not forgotten, and it could be heard on the forbidden BBC, or on the Swiss broadcasts if one lived near enough to the border. An American jazz record on the Paris black market in 1943 would fetch 100FF - for used goods! This at a time when the going rate for new French discs was 27.50FF and even Swing label discs cost only 32.50FF. Of course, the American discs were forbidden, too. Even by todays inflated prices, records were very expensive during the war. In the spring of 1944, things began to sour for the Raymond Legrand orchestra - certain resistance elements had threatened the life of the bandleader. These threats were taken quite seriously and first Legrand, then de Trebert went into seclusion. Though Legrand (like most musicians of the day) had no political interests or connections, certain of his activities were viewed as collaborationist - his work with Radio Paris, and the tour of Germany in 1942 were especially troublesome. Thus it was that when Paris was liberated by the allies, Guy Paquinet was directing the Legrand orchestra, where our violinist was still employed. Of course this was a very tense time in the French capitol, there was little time for music. Yet Warlop was able, during these years, to earn a little money, and he thrived on the work. His compositions during these years were noteworthy, especially his masterwork “Swing Concerto”. This was written for a large orchestra in 1942, saw public performance, and was recorded, but not until 1989 was it released (by Daniel Nevers) to the public.



Michel Warlop est né le 23 janvier 1911 à Douai, en France.

Dans ses premières années, il a fréquenté le Conservatoire de Lille. En 1924, il entre au Conservatoire de Paris. En 1928, il a remporté le premier prix au Conservatoire de « Chant, violon et Direction ». À 15 ans, Michel jouait lors de concerts (Salla Pleyel) et une remarquable carrière de violoniste concert s'ouvrait inévitablement devant lui. En 1930, le monde de la musique classique à Paris regardait Warlop comme un deuxième Yehudi Menuhin. Mais c'était un rêveur et voulait poursuivre ce qui le passionnait depuis 1927 : le jazz. Les boîtes de nuit de Pigalle l'attiraient comme un aimant, particulièrement le "Tabac Pigalle". C'est à ce moment-là, qu'il découvre les enregistrements de Joe Venuti et Eddie Lang, qu'il va souvent écouter Eddie South au "Boeuf sur la Toit" ou à "La Plantation". Il aura toujours une grande admiration pour ce violoniste qu'il considérait à l'égal de Heifetz ou de Menuhin. En 1937, quand Eddie South revint à Paris, ils jouent ensemble, mais malheureusement, aucun enregistrement de ces performances n'a été réalisé.

Après quelques concerts classiques à la fin de 1929, Warlop a débuté avec "Gregor et ses Grégoriens" au "Tabac Pigalle". Gregor, qui connut ses plus grands succès entre 1929 et 1933, a été influencé par Fletcher Henderson et Paul Whiteman. L'ensemble qu'il dirigeait a toujours eu les meilleurs musiciens capables d'improviser le « Hot Jazz ». On peut entende Warlop sur des enregistrements de Gregor entre 1930 à 1933. Toutefois, les spectateurs de l'époque préféraient ce que nous appelons aujourd'hui « variétés » Les orchestres ont donc monté des « spectacles complets », avec dancing girls, etc.. Ce fut la cas de Gregor mais aussi de Ray Ventura, Jo Bouillion, Raymond Legrand et Jacques Helian.
Tous les jazzmen français (sauf Django Reinhardt), tels que Philippe Brun, Alix Combelle, Noel Chiboust, André Ekyan, Pierre Allier, Alex Renard et bien sûr Stéphane Grappelli (au piano) étaient des anciens de l'orchestre de Gregor. Selon Alain Romans, Warlop était à cette époque très intéressé par les Jazz Band noirs américains, jouant à Montmartre. Il étudiait la tonalité, la technique et l'instinct musical des artistes comme Willie Lewis, Doc Cheatham, Albert Wynn, Gene Cedric, Benny Carter, Coleman Hawkins, Arthur Briggs, Bill Coleman et Garland Wilson. Telles étaient ses passions, mais il devait néanmoins jouer de la musique classique pour gagner sa vie.
Lorsque Gregor revient de sa tournée en Argentine (à laquelle Warlop n'a pas participé), il retrouve sa place de soliste dans le groupe. Le pseudonyme de Michel était « Michou ». C'était jeune homme sérieux, modeste et timide. Jacques Helian a dit de lui: « ce Warlop est un phénomène! Que ce soit dans un ensemble au violon, au chant, en harmonie, en contrepoint, en improvisation, il est tout aussi aussi doué que Grappelly. » (orthographe de l'époque). Suite à des problèmes financiers avec le ministère des impôts, l'ensemble a été dissous en 1934, après la fuite de Gregor en Amérique du sud. Il a été réorganisé et dirigé par Ray Ventura.

À la fin des années 20 et pendant les années 1930, Grappelly et Warlop ont été de bons amis et ont même partagé un appartement. Warlop enseigna à Grappelly les techniques et la culture jazz, tandis que Grappelly était en mesure de lui faire connaître la musique populaire.
Warlop avait d'autres compétences en plus du violon : il était un arrangeur et un compositeur habile. Il a formé le premier de ses ensembles : les "Syncopators de Chicago", avec qui il a enregistré en 1933 et 1934 pour le label Sonobel. Le 8 janvier 1934, il a enregistré "All for the Swing" et "Crazy Fiddle". On peut y entrevoir pour la première fois le monde étrange et individuel de Michel Warlop : passion, désir, mélancolie et dépression. Piero Coppolla, compositeur et directeur artistique français du label "Gramophone" (aka HMV ou RCA), a chargé Warlop de la création et la production de divers enregistrements de jazz, particulièrement ceux avec des voix. Il était toujours frustré d'avoir à effectuer ce travail pour gagner sa vie, car il tenait à faire valoir ses propres idées. Warlop et Django se sont rencontrés pour la première fois lors d'une session d'enregistrement en avril 1934. Le chanteur était Jean Sablon, et la chanson « Je suis Sex-Appeal ». Ils ont encore joué ensemble lors de plusieurs sessions dans les années 1934, 1935 et 1936. En particulier, les deux étaient les favoris de Jean Sablon, ainsi que de sa sœur Germaine. Jean Sablon a enregistré pour Columbia, qui, à l'époque, avait des liens avec HMV, les employeurs de Warlop. Germaine Sablon, une excellente interprète mais pas exactement jazzy, était parmi les nombreux chanteurs que Warlop et Django accompagnaient à cette époque. Parmi eux on trouve : Aimé Simon Girard, Léon Monosson, « la Petite Katia » et Maurice Chevalier, qui a encore enregistré avec Warlop en janvier et en novembre 1934. Il a également accompagné Jean Tranchant, Mireille, Charles Trenet. (souvent rejoint par Django et parfois Grappelly au piano). Puis, en juin 1937, il eut l'occasion d'enregistrer avec Edith Piaf et Jacques Metehen pour Polydor.

Warlop a laissé environ 400 enregistrements. Il a participé à 13 enregistrements en 1937 et 1938 pour le label Swing , créé en 1937 par Charles Delaunay.

En septembre 1939, Michel Warlop a mobilisé en dépit de sa mauvaise santé et de l'alcoolisme. Il a été capturé par les Nazis en mai 1940, fait prisonnier de guerre dans un Stalag puis libéré pour raisons de santé en mars 1941. Pendant cette période de détention, il a composé ou esquissé deux oeuvres pour orchestre de Jazz publiées et enregistrées après sa libération

Le Noël Du Prisonnier (2 parties)
Jean Davy, narrateur
Orchestre Symphonique de Jazz de Paris
Robert Bergmann, Dir.
Columbia DFX 240 (CLX 2235/36)
Paris, 17 février 1942

Swing Concerto (2 parties)
Orchestre Symphonique de Jazz de Paris
Robert Bergmann, Dir.
Columbia RFX 77 (CLX 2249/50)
Paris, 17 février 1942
(première le 7 décembre 1941, Salle Pleyel)
Report en CD : Special Michel Warlop 1934 - 1943
EMI 251272-2 (1989)

Dès son retour à Paris, il rejoint l'orchestre de Raymond Legrand récemment constitué. La musique légère jouée par cet orchestre n'était pas vraiment son style, mais sa participation à un big band discipliné a servi de thérapie sonore à ce frêle jeune homme. De plus, il a retrouvé de nombreux vieux amis des années 30 : Noel Chiboust, Sylvio Schmidt et Guy Paquinet de bande de Gregor, ainsi que le guitariste Louis "Loulou" Gasté et un couple de jeunes "Jazz Hot", Aimé Barelli et Hubert Rostaing.
La première revue de Legrand à laquelle il participe est "Musique, Musique, Musique" (écrit par l'allemand Kreuder Peter). Les thèmes ont été utilisés dans le film "Allo, Jeanine".

Pendant ce temps, Django Reinhardt envisageait de former un quintette. Il avait espéré le retour de Grappelly jusqu'en mai 1940, mais ce  dernier a décidé de rester en Angleterre. Django s'est rendu compte qu'un tel projet nécessiterait des compétences que lui-même ne possédait pas. Sa première pensée va vers Warlop pour l'aider à réaliser ce projet, mais il était engagé par ailleurs. Django a finalement décidé de prendre la clarinette de Hubert Rostaing à la place du violon pour constituer son Quintette du Hot Club de France.
Au cours des années 1941-1945, l'orchestre de Legrand a connu un succès énorme, pendant que Ray Ventura, qui était juif, était en exil en Amérique du Sud pendant l'occupation. Michel Warlop a dirigé la section des cordes de l'orchestre et Legrand lui a laissé une grande liberté. Il enregistre sous son propre nom, la mélodie « Retour » pour célébrer son retour à la musique et la chanson « Nandette », qui était le surnom de son épouse, avec Charlie Lewis au piano et Armand Molinetti à la batterie. En même temps, il fonde le « Septuor à Cordes ». Cet ensemble remarquable incluait quatre violons, deux guitares (une d'entre elles était Matelo Ferret, qui avait joué avec Legrand pendant une courte période) et une basse. Les quatre titres enregistrés incluent « Tempête sur Les Cordes ». C'est une étrange et discordante
alchimie entre jazz et classique qui nous donne un aperçu de l'esprit troublé de Michel Warlop. Plus tard, il forme un « Octuor » : Warlop, Silvio Schmidt, Émile Chaverennes et Paulette Izoard violons, Loulou Gasté et Emile Feldman à la guitare, Francis Lucas à la basse et Pierre Spiers à la harpe. En 1942-1943, il enregistre pour le label Swing : « Nite », « Sur Quatre Cordes », « Poker » et quelques autre titres. En novembre 1942, il fonde le grand ensemble « Furmiere » et quatre titres supplémentaires sont enregistrés avec « Septuor ».

Quand Irène de Trébert devient la chanteuse attitrée du groupe, elle trouve en Michel Warlop son accompagnateur idéal. Elle était la chanteuse la plus "swing" et la plus populaire de l'époque et fut la vedette du film « Mademoiselle Swing ». Pendant les années de guerre Warlop a également joué sur Radio Paris, soit avec l'ensemble « Jazzdixit » (qui réalisa quatre enregistrements), soit avec un petit groupe qui reprend des thèmes du « Septuor », des standards américains et des mélodies populaires. Ces diffusions et enregistrements ont été effectués grâce au contrat que Legrand avait avec Radio Paris.
La musique américaine manquait mais n'était pas pas oubliée. On pouvait l'entendre clandestinement sur la BBC, ou sur la Radio Suisse pour les frontaliers. Bien sûr, les disques américains étaient interdits.
Au printemps 1944, les choses ont commencé à se dégrader pour l'orchestre de Raymond Legrand ,certains éléments de la résistance menaçant la vie du chef d'orchestre. Bien que Legrand (comme la plupart des musiciens de l'époque) n'ait eu aucune connexion politique avec l'ennemi, certaines de ses activités ont été considérées comme collaborationnistes : sa présence constante sur Radio Paris, et le voyage artistique en Allemagne en 1942 étaient particulièrement gênants. Ces menaces ont été prises très au sérieux et Legrand, puis de Trébert se retrouvèrent dans l'anonymat. C'est ainsi que lorsque Paris fut libérée par les alliés, Guy Paquinet dirigeait l'orchestre de Legrand, dont notre violoniste faisait toujours partie. Bien sûr, la période était très tendue à Paris et il y avait peu de place pour la musique. Warlop a continué à travailler et a pu gagner un peu d'argent. Ses compositions au cours de ces années ont été remarquables. Il a pu achever son chef-d'œuvre « Swing Concerto », ébauché en 1942, en effectuer l'exécution publique et l'enregistrer. Mais ce n'est qu'en 1989 que l'oeuvre sera proposée au public (chez Daniel Nevers).

A la libération Warlop se trouve dans une situation comparable à celle de Raymond Legrand, (avec en plus sa composition « Noël des Prisonniers » de 1942!) et il a été considéré comme collaborateur. Interdiction de se produire en concert, interdiction d'enregistrer, sa constitution fragile, son mariage de dix ans qui a pris fin, font de lui un homme déprimé.
Il trouve finalement du travail à Bordeaux avec son ancien partenaire, le pianiste Pierre Zeppilli. Mais cela ne dure pas, et il passe la majeure partie de 1945 à jouer dans les bars et les discothèques de Perpignan.
Fin 1945 il joue au "Grand Hôtel" de Font-Romeu, dans les Pyrénées, avec le pianiste Jimmy Rena, son épouse Mano à la guitare et Georges Herment à la batterie. Ce devait être son "baissé de rideau".
Pendant la dernière partie de 1945 le quatuor se produit à à Superbagnères, pour la grande réouverture du Grand Hôtel de la Station Thermale. Cet hôtel appartenait aux mêmes propriétaires que celui de Font-Romeu.
La santé du violoniste empire rapidement, mais ses amis espèrent que l'atmosphère de la station thermale aidera à soigner sa tuberculose naissante. Michel est retombé dans l'alcool, malgré l'aide qui lui est apportée par M et Mme Rena. Cependant, Warlop était heureux et se sentait comme en famille. En 1946, il continue à jouer et trouve même l'énergie pour s'adonner à son passe-temps, la photographie.
Au début de 1947, son état de santé devient dramatique, et il doit entrer à l'hôpital de Bagnères-de-Luchon. Le 6 mars 1947, un télégramme arrive au siège du "Hot Club de France" : « Michel Warlop est mort aujourd'hui à 17 h, lettre à suivre. » (signé) Jo. (Jo était Georges Herment, le batteur du trio de Rena.)

À l'âge de 36 ans, Michel Warlop est mort loin du glamour de Paris et loin de ses années de gloire. Sa mère a été désespérée  par sa mort comme le fut son ex-épouse. Son père est venu, dans l'espoir d'acquérir le dernier violon de son fils, mais le sort de cet instrument reste encore inconnu. Par contre le violon que Warlop a donné à Stéphane Grappelly quelques années plus tôt est devenu un objet de culte.
Il y a un jardin au nom de Michel Warlop à Bagnères-de-Luchon, la station balnéaire des Pyrénées, près de la frontière espagnole où il a passé ses dernières années.

Alain Romans : « chaque musicien jazz ne doit pas oublier Warlop, sa créativité, sa mélancolie, son émotion profonde, la façon dont il pouvait jouer du jazz comme s'il s'agissait de Mozart. »
Stéphane Grappelly:  « il nous a été enlevé trop tôt - plus de maturité aurait amplifié ses réalisations. Malheureusement, beaucoup d'artistes s'en vont avant que leur travail ne soit terminé. »
Hugues Panassié : « Il n'a jamais eu la réputation qu'il méritait, car il était un des meilleurs violonistes et l'un des plus grands artistes de jazz en Europe. »