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Par : Pauline
Publié : 12 février 2013
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Django Reinhardt, a biography

Trip to Paris -Visit with the school, January 9th 2013.

 Django Reinhardt was a Belgian gipsy born on January 23rd 1910, who died on May 16th 1953 after a stroke.

Django with members of his family in 1920. 

(http://www.citedelamusique.fr/minisites/1210_django/exposition/enfance.aspx )

He has not created jazz but he made it universal.

His difficult starts.

His music was spotted by accordeon players and he was hired to play banjo in the popular dances in Paris. But in October 1928 he lost two fingers in an arson when his caravan got burnt. This accident broke his dreams of becoming a musician. He took two years to recover from his burns. He created an original technique and became a virtuoso.

Between 1928 and 1933, the Java became jazz. Reinhardt had then acquired an original style because he made a summary of his past experiences and he added a liberty for a jazz improvisation. His talent got noticed by the singer, Jean Sablon.

Between 1934 and 1939, Reinhardt was in "La Quintette".

La Quintette in England for a concert in 1938. 

 (http://barmafia.free.fr/jeu_musiques.php )

He founded this club in 1934 with a violinist, Stephane Grappelly. They were supported by the Hot Club of France. The first record was out on December 28th 1934. In Paris, he played with black jazzmen like Louis Amstrong and Coleman Hawkins. This period is the "Jazz Hot".

When the war broke out in France, Django was in London with "La Quintette" and went back to France. Jazz had reached his golden age in France between 1940 and 1944 during the war because it allowed to think of other things than the horrors of the war. Django was an emblematic figure of French jazz particulary with his song "Nuages". In 1941, he constituted "Django’s Music" whose partitions showed his orchestral ambitions.

Invited by Duke Ellington, he went to the USA.

Duke Ellington et Django Reinhardt, New York, 1946
Duke Ellington was in fact Edward Kennedy Ellington. He was a famous orchestral conductor in America between 1935 and to his death in 1974.

 (http://www.20minutes.fr/culture/diaporama-2689-photo-717559-django-reinhardt-guitar-hero )

He was persuaded that American would give him an instrument but that was not the case. So, he had to play with an electric guitar. Back in France, he adopted modern jazz. But in 1949/1950, he had not the same fame and had to do a break. So he went to live in his caravan to take care of his son and to devote himself to art and painting.

 He takes taste to music with the be-pop 

It’s in 1951 that Django Reinhardt met young be-pop musicians and resumed taste for music. He animated the evenings in St Germain-des-Près with a guitar. He had no the time to return in the USA because he died in 1953. He was 43 years old.


Poster Django Reinhardt's expostion in Paris.