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Famous Like Me > Composer > R > Django Reinhardt

Profile of Django Reinhardt on Famous Like Me

Name: Django Reinhardt  
Also Know As:
Date of Birth: 23rd January 1910
Place of Birth: Liberchies, Belgium
Profession: Composer
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Django (left) & Grappelli (right).

Jean Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt (January 23, 1910 – May 16, 1953) was a Belgian Gypsy jazz musician. He was the very first important jazz musician who was born in Europe. His most renowned tunes include Minor Swing, Tears, Belleville and Nuages. Django is pronounced zhane-go (with a long 'a').


Born in Liberchies, Belgium, Reinhardt spent most of his youth in gypsy encampments close to Paris, France, playing banjo, guitar and violin from an early age professionally at dance halls in Paris. He started first on the violin and eventually moved on to a banjo-guitar that had been given to him, and his first known recordings (in 1928) were with him playing the banjo (a banjo guitar has six strings and is tuned like a guitar).

Django Reinhardt as a boy

At the age of 18, Reinhardt was injured in a fire that ravaged the caravan he shared with his first wife. The third and fourth digits on his left hand (his fretting hand) were burned so badly they were fused together, and although the doctors succeeded in separating the fingers, they were of diminished use to him in his future guitar playing (Acker Bilk was another musician whose dexterity seemed unimpaired by finger-damage as was Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath and Jerry Garcia of The Grateful Dead). Determined to keep playing, Reinhardt focused on the guitar and developed an original style of playing that emphasized his undamaged fingers.

In 1934, he formed the "Quintette du Hot Club de France" with violinist Stéphane Grappelli, Reinhardt's brother Joseph and Roger Chaput on guitar, and Louis Vola on bass. He produced numerous recordings at this time, and played with many American musicians, like Coleman Hawkins, Benny Carter and Rex Stewart.

As World War II was declared, the quintet was on tour in the United Kingdom. Reinhardt returned to Paris at once, leaving his wife behind. Grappelli remained in the United Kingdom for the duration of the war, and Reinhardt reformed the quintet in Paris with Hubert Rostaing on clarinet in place of Grappelli's violin.

Reinhardt survived World War II unscathed, unlike many other gypsies who perished in the concentration death camps of the Nazis. He had the help of a Luftwaffe official named Dietrich Schultz-Kohn, a.k.a. Doktor Jazz, who deeply admired his music. In 1943 he married Sophie Ziegler, with whom he had a son, Babik Reinhardt, who went on to become a respected guitarist in his own right.

After the war, Reinhardt rejoined Grappelli in the UK, and went on to tour the United States, opening for Duke Ellington, and playing at Carnegie Hall, as well as making more recordings.

Django Reinhardt was then among the first people in France to appreciate and understand the music of Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie (he sought after them when he first arrived in New York). He integrated some elements of their music, still never compromising his own musical visions.

He consequently formed a new band with saxophone, trumpet, piano, bass and drums, keeping composing outstanding tunes and remaining as the most advanced guitar player of jazz music.

In 1951, he retired to Samois sur Seine in France, near Fontainebleau, and lived there for two years until, on the morning of May 16th 1953, he came back walking from the Avon train station, after a long sleepless night and collapsed outside of his house from a brain hemorrhage. He was declared dead on arrival at the hospital in Fontainebleau.


Just before Christmas 1954, the Modern Jazz Quartet recorded pianist John Lewis' tribute, simply titled "Django". This elegant lament became an oft-recorded jazz classic.

In 1971, Stéphane Grappelli teamed up with Belgian guitarist Phillip Catherine and Danish bass player Niels Henning Oersted-Pedersen to record a tribute titled "Young Django", a reference to the nickname given to the virtuoso Catherine.


Reinhardt is portrayed in the opening sequence of the 2003 cartoon Les Triplettes de Belleville, playing a mean guitar with his three fingers and puffing cigarette smoke out of his ears. He is also portrayed by guitarist John Jorgenson in the movie Head in the Clouds.

Reinhardt is the idol of the fictional 1930's guitarist, Emmet Ray, in the Woody Allen film Sweet and Lowdown (1999).

The song Johnny Depp plays in the river party scene in Lasse Hallström's Chocolat was Django and Grapelli's great hit, "Minor Swing".

Djangos compositions Rhythm Futur (95 minute mark) and I Cant Give You Anything But Love (41 minute mark) are both portrayed in the movie The Aviator.

His song Nuages is also in the movie Gattaca during a scene where Ethan Hawke demonstrates the clouds of Titan in a wine glass using smoke from his cigar.

The Beatles tune Piggies allegedly steals a melody from Djangos "Evelyn".

Jimi Hendrix listened to Django Reinhardt and consequently called his band "Band of Gypsies"

Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi was inspired by Reinhardt to keep playing guitar after an accident which cost him his fingertips.

BB King mentioned Django Reinhardt as one of his main influences.

Carlos Santana is a fan of Django's music.

The Allman Brothers Band song Jessica was written by guitarist Dickey Betts in tribute to Reinhardt. He wanted to write a song that could be played using only two fingers.



  • 2004 Le Génie Vagabond
  • 2003 Jazz in Paris: Nuits de Saint-Germain des-Prés
  • 2003 Jazz in Paris: Nuages
  • 2001 All Star Sessions
  • 1996 Imagine
  • 1959 Django Reinhardt and His Rhythm
  • 1955 Django's Guitar
  • 1954 The Great Artistry of Django Reinhardt
  • 1953 Django Reinhardt et Ses Rythmes
  • 1951 At Club St. Germain
  • 1951 Django Reinhardt and the Hot Club Quintet
  • 1945 Paris 1945


  • Rétrospective Django Reinhardt 1934/53 (probably the most complete one)
  • The Django -- The Unforgettable
  • Django Reinhardt [Forlane]
  • Stardust Records Presents Django Reinhardt: Anthology 1934-1937
  • Django
  • The Art of Django
  • Quintet of the Hot Club of France [GNP]
  • Vol. 6: Nuages
  • Django Reinhardt and the Quintet
  • Django, Vol. 2 [ITI]
  • Djangologie/USA, Vols. 3 & 4


A list of tunes composed by Django Reinhardt himself.

  1. Anouman
  2. Appel Indirect
  3. Are you in the Mood+
  4. Babik
  5. Belleville
  6. Black and White+
  7. Black Night
    • Diminushing
    • Diminushing Blackness
  8. Blues
  9. Blues Clair
  10. Blues d’Autrefois
  11. Blues en Mineur
  12. Blues for Barclay
  13. Blues for Ike
  14. Blues Riff
  15. Boléro
  16. Boogie Woogie
  17. Bricktop+
  18. Cavalerie
  19. Chez Jacquet++++
  20. Choti++++
  21. Christmas Swing
  22. Crépuscule
  23. D.R.Blues
  24. Daphné
  25. Del Salle
  26. Deccaphonie
  27. Diminushing Blackness
  28. Dinette
  29. Djalamichto++++
  30. Djangology+
  31. Django Rag
  32. Django’s Blues
  33. Django’s Tiger+
  34. Double Whiskey
  35. Douce Ambiance
  36. Duke and Dukie
  37. Echoes of Spain
  38. En Verdine++++
  39. Fantaisie (from Danse Norvegienne)
  40. Fat
  41. Féerie
  42. Festival 48
  43. Fiddle Blues
  44. Fleche d’Or
  45. Fleur d’Ennui
  46. Folie à Amphion
  47. Gagoug++++
  48. Gaiement
  49. Gypsy with a Song Pt1 & Pt2
  50. HCQ Strut+
  51. Hungaria+++
  52. Impromptu
  53. Improvisation #1-6
  54. Just For Fun
  55. Lentement Madamoiselle
  56. Mabel
  57. Mano
  58. Manoir de mes rêves
    • Django's Castle
    • Castle of My Dreams
  59. Mélodie au crépuscule++
    • Love's melody
  60. Micro
    • Mike
    • Swing Dynamique
  61. Minor Blues
  62. Moppin' The Bride+
    • Danse nuptiale
  63. Minor Swing+
    • No Name Blues
  64. Montagne Saint Genevieve++++
  65. My Serenade
  66. Mystery Pacific
  67. Naguine
  68. Nocturne+
  69. Nuages
  70. Nuits de Saint-Germain-des-Prés
  71. Nymphéas
  72. Oiseaux des iles
  73. Oriental Shuffle+
  74. Oubli
  75. Paramount Stomp
  76. Parfum
  77. Pêche à la Mouche
  78. Place de Brouckère
  79. Porto Cabello
  80. Pour que Ma Vie Demeure
  81. R-26+
  82. Rhythme Futur
  83. Souvenirs+
  84. Spivy+
    • Speevy
  85. Stéphane's Blues
  86. Stockholm
  87. Stompin’ at Decca+
  88. Sweet Chorus*
  89. Swing 39+
  90. Swing 41
  91. Swing 42
  92. Swing 48
  93. Swing de Paris+
    • Swing From Paris
  94. Swing Guitars+
  95. Swinging With Django
  96. Swingtime in Springtime
  97. Tears+
  98. This Kind of Friend
  99. Troublant Boléro
  100. Twelfth Year
  101. Two Improvised Guitar Choruses
  102. Ultrafox
  103. Vamp
  104. Vendredi 13
  105. Vette
  106. Webster

+ By Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grapelli. ++ Always credited to DR but actually written by Joseph Reinhardt +++ The melody of this tune came from a pop song the name of which I can’t remember ++++ Tunes that Django may have authored

This content from Wikipedia is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Django Reinhardt