Django Reinhardt

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About Django Reinhardt

Born in Belgium in 1910 and raised in France, Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt was the first European jazz musician to carve out a unique style—jazz manouche—wedding the virtuosic speed and rhythmic conception of Roma traditional music with jazz improvisation. He led the transformation of the guitar from a rhythmic to a soloistic role, and wrote numerous compositions that became standards, including “Nuages” and “Minor Swing.” Although he taught himself to play numerous instruments as a child, Reinhardt didn’t connect with jazz until the late 1920s, and after meeting violinist Stéphane Grappelli in Paris he began formulating a style that emerged with their Quintette du Hot Club de France, performing with many visiting American jazz greats. The band was touring the UK at the outbreak of World War II, so Reinhardt returned to France for the duration, but he reunited with Grappelli in 1946 and also traveled to the US to tour with Duke Ellington. He died in 1953 from a brain hemorrhage.

Liberchies, Belgium
January 23, 1910

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