23 January: Remembering Django Reinhard on Birthday
Image Courtesy: Google Doodle
Django Reinhard (23 January 1910 – 16 May 1953) was a Romani-Belgian jazz guitarist and composer. He was one of the first major jazz talents to emerge in Europe and has been hailed as one of its most significant exponents.
Life and Career
He was born on 23 January 1910 in Liberchies, Belgium and began playing the violin at the age of 10. He later switched to guitar and began performing in various cafes and clubs in Paris in the 1920s. In 1928, he was severely injured in a fire, which left him with limited use of his left hand. Despite this, he was able to continue playing guitar and even developed a new technique to compensate for his injury.
In the 1930s, Reinhardt formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France with violinist Stéphane Grappelli. The group became one of the most popular jazz acts in Europe, and Reinhardt’s solos became highly influential in the development of jazz guitar. He recorded over 100 songs with the group, including “Minor Swing” and “Djangology.”
During World War II, Reinhardt moved to New York City and performed with jazz greats such as Duke Ellington and Benny Carter. He returned to Paris in 1946 and continued to perform and record music until his death on 16 May 1953.
He is considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time and his music continues to be celebrated and studied by jazz enthusiasts today.
Award and Legacy
Django Reinhardt received several awards during his lifetime, including the Croix de Guerre for his service during World War II. He was also honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010.
Reinhardt’s legacy has been significant in the world of jazz and guitar music. He is considered one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time, and his solos and compositions continue to be studied and admired by musicians and fans alike. His incorporation of European folk music influences into jazz, particularly his use of the gypsy scale, was highly innovative and has had a lasting impact on the genre. He is credited with helping to establish the guitar as a lead instrument in jazz and is still an inspiration to many jazz guitarists today. He also had a great influence on the French Jazz scene and his music is considered a quintessential part of French Jazz.
Reinhardt’s influence can also be heard in the music of other genres, such as rock, pop, and country. Many musicians have covered his songs or referenced his style in their own music, including Brian Setzer, Bireli Lagrene, and Jimmy Rosenberg.
In conclusion, Django Reinhardt is considered a pioneer and a legend in the world of jazz and guitar music, his legacy continues to inspire musicians and fans all over the world.
On 23 January 2010, Google Doodle celebrated Django Reinhard’s 100th Birthday.