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Thursday, 23 January 2014

My Heroes (38): Django Reinhardt

It's been too long since I posted a new item in the self-indulgent My Hero series. But if one can't be self-indulgent on one's own Blog, then where?
Jean "Django" Reinhardt 1910-1953
Django Reinhardt led a colourful and romantic life. He was born in Belgium into a Romani (Gypsy) family and remained immersed in that culture all of his life. His father had changed the family name on his birth certificate from Weiss in order to avoid military conscription
He is regarded as the first European musician to make an important contribution to the world of jazz music. He formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France with the violinist Stephan Grapelli in 1934 and is considered to have been one of the greatest guitar players who ever lived.
Amazingly two of the fingers of his left hand were paralysed after a fire in the caravan he shared with his then wife at the age of 18! He re-learned his playing technique after the injury and was able to make use of those fingers in chord playing but not in solos thereafter.
I always find joy listening to his music; its so full of energy and the deceptively casual playing could only be the work of an absolute master.
Django was greatly influenced by American jazz records that he heard and referred to Louis Armstrong as "my brother". He was also one of the first people in France to recognise the brilliance of Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie.
He died of a brain haemorrhage at the early age of 43. 
I have a link to a great selection of his music below: Enjoy!
The Quintette du Hot Club de France
In this line up they were unsual in being an all-strings jazz band
Click here for Bouncin' Around
Click here for Minor Swing
Click here for Body And Soul


Starting Over, Accepting Changes - Maybe said...

That was really enjoyable, Bazza. It is so sad that he lived such a short life.

bazza said...

Hi Arlene. Yes it's very sad in view of his talent. He did manage to achieve a lot in a short time though. I think he was always a heavy smoker.

Sherry Ellis said...

Great music! Thanks for sharing!

bazza said...

Hi Sherry. Coming from a musician, that's a nice comment! Glad you like it.

klahanie said...

Hey bazza,

I know of this gentleman. Such a young age for this talent to pass away. Your wide range in musical tastes is most certainly eclectic.


David said...

Hi bazza,
I have some of Django Reinhardt's music on CD somewhere. Your illuminating post has inspired me to dig it out!
Thanks bazza.
Best Wishes,

bazza said...

Hello Gary: Didn't Django play an eclectic guitar? ;-)

bazza said...

Hi David. The funny thing is that his music doesn't ever seem to date; it still sounds wonderful to me!
Nice to hear from you again!

Wendy said...

Died at the tender age of 43. Such a shame.

Love that type of music!

bazza said...

Hi Wendy. Worryingly, lots of my subjects seemed to have died young! I hope there's no significance in that....