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Django Reinhardt

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Django Reinhardt (Liberchies, Belgium 23rd January 1910 – Samois-sur-Seine (Fontainebleau), France 16th May 1953) was the first hugely influential jazz figure to emerge from Europe — and he remains the most influential European to this day, with possible competition from Joe Zawinul, George Shearing, John McLaughlin, his old cohort Stéphane Grappelli and a bare handful of others. A free-spirited gypsy, Reinhardt wasn’t the most reliable person in the world, frequently wandering off into the countryside on a whim. Yet Reinhardt came up with a unique way of propelling the humble acoustic guitar into the front line of a jazz combo in the days before amplification became widespread. He would spin joyous, arcing, marvelously inflected solos above the thrumming base of two rhythm guitars and a bass, with Grappelli’s elegantly gliding violin serving as the perfect foil. His harmonic concepts were startling for their time — making a direct impression upon Charlie Christian and Les Paul, among others — and he was an energizing rhythm guitarist behind Grappelli, pushing their groups into a higher gear. Not only did Reinhardt put his stamp upon jazz, his string band mus... (+) expand
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