Django Reinhardt (1.23.10 - 5.16.53) was the one-of-a-kind gypsy guitarist who created an original style of jazz based on guitar and violin and his own innate ability. He was as important to jazz guitar as Louis Armstrong to trumpet.
Though unable to read or write music he was one of the most profound musical minds of modern times. All reports of his improvisational skill and inventiveness, intuitive grasp of advanced harmony, brilliant on-the-fly ideas about arranging and voicing by the best musicians of Europe during the 1930s and ‘40s attest.
Additionally, he created not only a new style of music -- the string jazz ensemble -- but a new body of compositional works still being plumbed for their depth and originality. Again, all without any formal training or literacy of the usual sort.
Since his death in the early 1950s Djanogo’s spirit has inspired generations of musicians. Today his music continues to enthuse new generations of followers worldwide.
Listen to audio of the award-winning Django: Life, Legend, Music - Pt. 1 Guest reader: actor PETER COYOTE
DJANGO REINHARDT 1A.mp3 SWEET GEORGA BROWN -- Quintet of the Hot Club of France (QHCF), 1/38 DJANGOLOGY -- QHCF, 9/35 MINOR SWING -- QHCF, 11/37 IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL -- QHCF, 10/35 NAGUINE -- Django guitar solo, 6/39 BILLET DOUX -- QHCF, 6/380 SWING 39 -- QHCF, 3/39 HOTTER THAN THAT (excerpt) -- Louis Armstrong Hot Five, 1928 SWING 41 -- QHCF, 12/40 APPEL DIRECT -- QHCF, 1/38 IT DON'T MEAN A THING . . . -- QHCF, 10/35
DJANGO REINHARDT 1B.mp3 H.C.Q. STRUT -- QHCF 8/39 DAPHNE -- Eddie South and his Orchestra, w/ Grappelli & Reinhardt, 9/37 BLUE LIGHT BLUES (excerpt) -- BennyCarter and his Orchestra, 3/38 ECHOES OF SPAI -- 6/39 solo SWING FROM PARIS -- QHCF, 6/38 CD 5070 SWING FROM PARIS -- QTHC, 12/40 CD 9792 NUAGES -- QHCF, 12/40 CD 9792 TEAR -- Django’s Music, 3/40 CD 9792 VENDREDI 13 -- QHCF, 12/40 CD 9792 AT JIMMY'S BAR -- Django’s Music, 3/40 CD 9792
Django: Life, legend, Music - Pt. 2
DJANGO REINHARDT 2A.mp3 I GOT RHYTHM -- Quintet of the Hot Club of France (QHCF), 10/35 BLUES CLAIR -- Bireli LaGrene, 1981 MY SWEET -- QHCF, 1/38 OUT OF NOWHERE -- Django & Grappelli, duet, 6/39 DAPHNE -- Oscar Aleman, 1953 LIMEHOUSE BLUES -- Oscar Aleman, 1938 LIMEHOUSE BLUES -- Bireli Lagrene, 2001 SWEET SUE -- QHCF, Hubert Rostaing, clarinet, 12/40 IT HAD TO BE YOU -- Philipe Brun Jam Band, Michel Warlop (violin), Stephane Grappelli (piano) 12/37 DAPHNE -- Bireli LaGrene, 2001 JULISCHKA -- La Jaz
DJANGO_REINHARDT_2B.mp3 MICRO -- New Quintet du Hot Club (Babik Reinhardt) SWING ETOILE -- Ben Rogers Hot Swing Quartet, 1999 SWEET GEORGIA BROWN -- Coleman Hawkins Jam Band, 4/37 HONEYSUCKLE ROSE -- Coleman Hawkins Jam Band, 4/37 BUGLE CALL RAG -- Dickie Wells Orchestra, 1937 SWEET SUE -- Dickie Wells Orchestra, 1937 CHRISTMAS SWING -- Michel Warlop, 1937
"Django: Life, Legend, Music - Pt. 3"
DJANGO REINHARDT 3A.mp3 SOLID OLD MAN -- Rex Stewart’s Feetwarmers, Paris, 5/39 LOVER COME BACK TO ME -- Larry Adler, harmonica,1938 BILL COLEMAN BLUES -- Bill Coleman, tpt & Django duet , 11/37 NOCTURNE -- Django Reinhardt & Stepane Grappelli, duet, London, 2/38 IT WAS SO BEAUTIFUL@ -- Stephane Grappelli and his Hot Four, 11/35 SWEET CHORUS -- Hot Club of San Francisco FESTIVAL ‘48 -- Birelli La Grene MONMARTRE (aka Django’s Jump) -- Rex Stewart Feetwarmers, 4/39 ST. LOUIS BLUES -- QHCF 1935
DJANGO REINHARDT 3B.mp3 HOW HIGH THE MOON -- Django’s Music, 3/40 SPELLBOUND -- Hot Club de Norvege, 1995 MINOR SWING -- New Quintet of the Hot Club of France /Babik Reinhardt, 1998 NUITS DE ST-GERMAIN-DES-PRES -- Pearl Django, 1999 [MEDLEY OF DJANGO’S LATE RECORDINGS:] STORMY WEATHER KEEP COOL JUST FOR FUN DECCAPHONIE APPEL INDIRECT [sic] -- Chez Jimmy, 3/40 DJANGOLOGY -- Armed Forces Transport Band -- AFN BROADCAST 1945 BELLEVILLE -- Armed Forces Transport Band -- NBC 1945 FIDDLE BLUES -- Eddie South & his Orchestra with Stephane Grappelli, 11/37
Andre Ekyan played a key role drawing Django into the world of professional European jazz musicians.
The outlines of their partnership may be gleaned from Michael Dregni’s definitive biography, Django: The life and Music of a Gypsy Legend (Oxford, 2004).
Individually and together, Django and Andre Ekyan were the two most creative and original talents in French jazz. These tracks from 1939-41 display Ekyan as a major
talent, one of the few European saxophonists thinking beyond the
style of Coleman Hawkins.
[Alto saxophone and clarinet player, Ekyan was a self-taught arranger, bandleader and jazz organizer who played a pioneering role in the development of French jazz.]
During Reinhardt’s first professional job 1932-34 with the Jean Sablon
orchestra, Ekyan was charged with serving as a kind of personal minder
and chaperone for the gypsy. And he took responsibility for helping
groom him into a professional musician. Ekyan helped teach Reinhardt
about showing up for a gig with hair combed, fingernails clean, shoes
shined, or wearing a tuxedo.
Just the ‘showing up’ part was a
perennial shortcoming for Django. Because he was oblivious to
calendars, clocks or curtain times, it was Andre’s personal
responsibility to fetch Reinhardt, and a guitar, and drive him to the
Django was shockingly rustic and ignorant of ‘gadjo’
(non-Romani) manners. He often took new found enthusiasms, like fancy
clothes and cars, to extremes. There’s the tale of his driving to a
venue in the mountains in a spartan but powerful sports car. Arriving
three days late after being lost in a snowstorm, he was dressed in
nothing but a tuxedo.
II. There were numerous encounters, recordings, concerts and jam sessions: * 1937 Django jammed at Ekyan’s Swing Time nightclub * 1939 The gig at Jimmy’s Bar was organized by Ekyan for Django * 1940 Ekyan was on several of the Django’s Music jam-session-on-disc recordings * 1941 Three-tired stage at Moulin Rouge featuring bands of Django, Ekyan, Guy Viseur * 1946 Joint concert at Salle Pleyel
By early 1949 Django had disappeared from music and was somewhat
demoralized. Ekyan sought him out, convinced him to perform, and
arranged for badly needed dental surgery. Ekyan was by his side to
reassure him during the procedure, which almost turned tragic when
Django nearly choked to death.
In mid-1949 they resumed concertizing: “With
his dazzling new white teeth in place, Django was enlisted by Ekyan to
play again. Ekyan arranged a backing quintet of pianist Eddie Bernard,
drummer Gaton Leonard, and bassist Jean Bouchety, and found them work . .
.” They played in or near Paris at Pavillion de l’Elysee, the Casanova and Le Touquet.
Then they set off on tour -- with Ekyan again serving as Reinhardt’s
personal chauffeur and valet -- playing in the French provinces, Cote
d’Azur, Switzerland, and Rome in early 1950.
While reception to
the Django-Ekyan quintet was tepid in Italy, they had a good recording
session RAI studios. There was a fabulous all night jam session at a
villa outside Rome with Roy Eldridge, Zoot Sims, Toots Thielemans and Ed
Shaughnessy: “Django was taken by composer Anton Karv’s zither
soundtrack to the recent movie The Third Man, and Django played the
theme song, using its eerie mood as jumping off point to explorations.
As [bass player Alf] Masselier said, ‘In my life as a musician -- and I
accompanied everyone, from Coleman Hawkins to Don Byas -- I never heard
an improviser like Django’.”
Ekyan with Django featured on guitar and electrified guitar: