I guess I’ll go for a “Django week” in the playlist.

Portrait of Django Reinhardt, Aquarium, New Yo...
Portrait of Django Reinhardt, Aquarium, New York, N.Y. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When it comes to classic jazz music and guitar, it seems like one name stands above the rest:  Django Reinhardt.

I could easily build an entire week of playlists around guitarists who were influenced by the Belgian-born Reinhardt.  Part of what makes his playing so amazing is that he was badly burned in a fire at the age of 18, leaving the third and fourth fingers of his left hand partially paralyzed.  He refused to give up despite that “handicap,” and instead came up with a style that has blown people away to this day.  His solos were played with two fingers.  His paralyzed fingers were used for chord playing only.

He developed what is known as “hot” jazz guitar, and together with renowned violinist Stephane Grappelli (who also developed his own list of ardent followers in various forms of music) they proceeded to blaze a whole new trail with their playing in ways that can still be heard from more modern musicians.

This promises to be a fun week for the playlist.


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