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1 Burnside Music- Jazz Biography

Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend


Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Django Reinhardt was arguably the greatest guitarist who ever lived, an important influence on Les Paul, Charlie Christian, B.B. King, Jerry Garcia, Chet Atkins, and many others. Yet there is no major biography of Reinhardt.

Now, in Django, Michael Dregni offers a definitive portrait of this great guitarist. Handsome, charismatic, childlike, and unpredictable, Reinhardt was a character out of a picaresque novel. Born in a gypsy caravan at a crossroads in Belgium, he was almost killed in a freak fire that burned half of his body and left his left hand twisted into a claw. But with this maimed left hand flying over the frets and his right hand plucking at dizzying speed, Django became Europe's most famous jazz musician, commanding exorbitant fees--and spending the money as fast as he made it. Dregni not only chronicles this remarkably colorful life--including a fascinating account of gypsy culture--but he also sheds much light on Django's musicianship. He examines his long musical partnership with violinist Stéphane Grappelli--the one suave and smooth, the other sharper and more dissonant--and he traces the evolution of their novel string jazz ensemble, Quintette du Hot Club de France. Indeed, the author spotlights Django's amazing musical diversity, describing his swing-styled Nouveau Quintette, his big band Django's Music, and his later bebop ensemble, as well as his many compositions, including symphonic pieces influenced by Ravel and Debussy and his unfinished organ mass inspired by Bach. And along the way, the author offers vivid snapshots of the jazz scene in Paris--colorful portraits of Josephine Baker, Bricktop, Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, and countless others--and of Django's vagabond wanderings around France, Europe, and the United States, where he toured with Duke Ellington.

Capturing the extraordinary life and times of one of the great musicians of the twentieth century, Django is a must-read portrait of a true original.

About the Author

Michael Dregni is a writer for Vintage Guitar magazine; his work has also appeared in Acoustic Guitar, Guitar Player, and The Utne Reader, among other publications. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Product Details

Dregni, Michael
Oxford University Press, USA
null, Michael
Composers & Musicians - Jazz
Composers & Musicians
Music | Popular Music | Jazz
ic | Popular Music | Jazz
Biography-Composers and Musicians
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
20 halftones
6 x 9.2 x 0.8 in 1.106 lb

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Arts and Entertainment » Drama » Women and Ethnic
Arts and Entertainment » Music » Genres and Styles » Jazz » Biographies
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Biography » Composers and Musicians
Business » General
History and Social Science » Linguistics » Specific Languages and Groups
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Reference » Words Phrases and Language
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Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend Used Trade Paper
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Product details 344 pages Oxford University Press, USA - English 9780195304480 Reviews:
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