Reinhardt & Grappelli rank even yet as amongst the most creative of European jazz musicians. They showed themselves to be a highly polished, accomplished, and most important of all, a compelling unit.
“I defy anybody to be miserable listening to these incredible musicians” Mr R. Lifely “Django and Stephane are absolutely wonderful, I never get enough!! What a musical presence they provide to all of us.” M.F. Youtube
Django Reinhardt ranks even yet as amongst the most creative of European jazz musicians. He was born on 23 January 1910 into a wandering gypsy family on the Belgian frontier. Music, particularly guitar music, was part of everyday life and at twelve Django, self-taught, mastered the banjo-guitar in an amazingly short time. He was hooked.
Within a year or two he was accomplished enough to play at various Parisian nightclub and cafe gigs, his absence of sight-reading abilities proving no obstacle. In these early days Django acted mainly as accompanist to accordionists like Guerino, Alexander and Jean Vaissade and his opportunities to play jazz or standards were strictly limited to informal out-of-hours sessions. An offer from the famous British bandleader Jack Hylton to join his orchestra was forthcoming, but in the event never materialised.
Tragedy struck in November 1928 when Django suffered serious burns to his right leg and left hand in a caravan fire. These injuries caused him to be bedridden for eighteen months during which time the leg healed very well but the third and fourth fingers of the hand (his fret hand) remained virtually paralysed. During his long recuperation Django had to work out a new way of playing his beloved guitar and with a great deal of determined application and persistence he not only became a greater player than before but in so doing formulated an original new style. His appetite for jazz too had been further whetted when a friend played for him some of the recent American recordings by Louis Armstrong, Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang et al.
Back on the scene during 1930, Django teamed up awhile with a young Jean Sablon, playing ‘Eddie Lang’ to Sablon’s ‘Bing Crosby’.