Friday, January 22, 2010
HAPPY BIRTHDAY DJANGO
Remembering Django Reinhardt
By Andrew Gilbert
For the Mercury News
Posted: 01/21/2010 12:00:00 AM PST
In the months leading up to his death, Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt lamented that he might be overlooked by history. Indeed, by the time a heart attack took Reinhardt's life at the age of 43 in the spring of 1953, the ebulliently swinging Gypsy jazz sound he created with French violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Europe's first innovative contribution to the American art form, had retreated from the continent's bandstands.
But as the 100th anniversary of Reinhardt's birth approaches on Saturday, he is anything but forgotten. Rather than fading into oblivion, Django's influence is more pervasive than ever.
Among his kinfolk in Central and Western Europe, his photo can often be found in Romany houses, "a cultural hero for a people with few heroes," according to Michael Dregni's authoritative 2004 biography, "Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend."
And in the United States, dozens of Hot Clubs have sprung up in cities across the country just in the past decade, modeled after the Quintette du Hot Club de France that made Reinhardt and Grappelli the toast of Paris in the mid-1930s.
Posted by Morgan at 6:55 PM