Thursday, April 20, 2006

Django Reinhardt - Paris & London 1940-1946

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Django Reinhardt, "Festival Swing"

Django Reinhardt, "Improvisation No. 3 (Part 1)"

Django Reinhardt, "Improvisation No. 3 (Part 2)"

Django Reinhardt, "Django's Tiger"

Okay, I'm just going to do two more posts on Django Reinhardt: one from the war years, and one from the last period before his death. The tracks above cover the entirety of World War 2, when Django was forced to stop touring because of fear for his life. That didn't mean that he would stop playing and composing, as the liner notes mention that he began to experiment with big band arrangements during these stressful times.

The first track is another of Django's most famous, "Festival Swing;" this version is actually a live one from the Hot Club, and you hear the club owner's voice introducing the band. The last track is one of the first recorded after the war ended, when the entire band was reunited in Paris. People were once again able to hear Django and his close friend Stephane Grappelli playing together.

However, my personal favorites on the entire boxed set are the two parts of "Improvisation No. 3," a solo work that showcases Reinhardt's skill on the guitar and its ability to convey incredible sadness. These songs were recorded in 1943, right after the entire gypsy community of Germany was sent to Auschwitz. It is the hallmark of this music and all of the music of Eastern Europe that makes me listen. Its deep sadness, its darkness, loss and death as inspiration. It is a quality nearly completely absent from modern music, only occasionally turning up in rap. I am going to keep looking at this music, as I hope that people are giving it a shot.

1 comment:

Aaron Burkhalter said...


I just found your blog on a link from the Stylus website. I came for the Django. I love this! I have a song called "Improvisation No. 2" off of an album called Souvenirs and I've been wanting to hear more such tracks since then. Thanks so much! this is awesome.

I've been bouncing around your blog and I love what I see. I'm glad to see someone posting music as varied as Lady Sovereign and Django Reinhardt. i'll be around more often!