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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.

Gabriel Broadcast Award-winner

Django: Life, Legend, Music - Pt. 1
Guest reader: actor PETER COYOTE

MINOR SWING  --  QHCF, 11/37
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
IT DON'T MEAN A THING . . .   --   QHCF, 10/35

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

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

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"

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

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
       KEEP COOL
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.

Dajngo with Andre Ekyan, alto sax
"Hungaria," 1941.mp3
"Rosetta," 1940.mp3
"A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody," 1940.mp3

Django and Andre Ekyan

[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.]

I.  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 job.

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

III.  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:

Django's Castle.mp3
September Song.mp3
Black Night.mp3
Place de brouckere.mp3

Django with Ekyan being talked out of retirement, c. 1949

Contemporary Hot Club jazz and Gypsy swing:

Exploration of contemporary worldwide Hot Club and Gypsy jazz, here.

Django LINKS:

Django Swingpage: "The Gypsy Jazz Website" hosted by Hot Club UK

Zwerein, Tristesse de Saint Louis @ Amazon.com

Django Station (in French)

Djangopedia: Django's complete online discography hosted by Wikipedia.com

DjangoBooks.com:  Online seller of music, books and videos related to Hot Club music

Pearl Django: A Fine Gypsy Jazz - Hot Club Swing band

DJANGO FEST: Hot Club & Gypsy Jazz events celebrating Django's music

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