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About Django Reinhardt

Django lived through a fire but was badly burned, he played with 2 fingers.

hand

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Jean Baptiste “Django” Reinhardt was born in Belgium on January 23, 1910. Honing his skills as a guitar-banjo player accompanying accordion players in the Bals Mussette of Paris in his youth, Django Reinhardt years later switched to the guitar during convalescence after his near fatal injury when his caravan caught fire leaving his left hand ring and pinky fingers damaged for life. This forced him to approach his instrument differently than many conventional guitarists as he was left with only the use of his index and middle fingers on his fretting hand and in doing so he adopted many different chord voicings and fingering patterns that one does not see as much in more conventional jazz guitar. This is a gross simplification at best but it does illustrate t o a degree the challenges that Django faced physically as well as what had to be done in order to overcome his handicap.

With the creation of the Quintet du Hot Club de France, Django Reinardt and Stephane Grapelli created Europe’s first contribution to what was otherwise considered an American music. Additionally, the founding of the QHCF also presented the creation of the first all strings jazz ensemble. Even today when hearing this instrumentation of three guitars, violin and upright bass, one cannot help but instantly think of Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli.

 

The Music:

Gypsy Jazz Today:

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