I never met Django Reinhardt. Due to him dying before I was born our paths never crossed. But he was the first musician I was passionate about. It was way less than cool to listen to Jazz when everyone else was into Pink Floyd. I didn’t want my parents to know because my dad would have made such a big deal out of me liking the same music he enjoyed. It felt like having a crush on a girl and wanting to keep that secret.
He plaid the guitar very fast. The fast beats of Gypsy Jazz make me think of them as the punks and wild guys of the old days.
I have always preferred musicians that master their instruments over the vast majority of artists that get by in other ways.
Unfortunately most of Mr. Reinhardt’s recordings are very low sound quality and I don’t like listening to mumbled recordings.
Fortunately there are ways around it. Many players try to copy him – in most cases without much luck. But a few guys come to my rescue:
Bireli Lagrene is maybe considered the most valid successor of Django Reinhardt in the modern days. Many of his recordings are on my favorites playlist as well.
So there you have it: A Gypsy from Belgium that had a crippled hand due to a bad fire he got caught in was my first music love affair. He’s been in high standings ever since.
There are many other great Gypsy Jazz artists. I will write about some of them at a later time.