Featured Video: Django Reinhardt – Honeysuckle Rose
A few days ago, January 23rd, would have been the 100th birthday of Django Reinhardt.
Reinhardt is still one of the most renowned jazz guitarists ever to have lived. That he was a peerless musician is certain. And, as most people know, what makes this even more astonishing is that, at the age of 18, he was injured in a fire in his caravan (he was a gypsy) and was very badly burned. Along with other injuries, Django lost most of the use of the third and forth fingers of his left (fingering) hand and the fingers became partially fused. He learned to play guitar again, using only his first two fingers for soloing and calling his damaged fingers into limited use only when required for chord work.
That he can play the way he does while, effectively, having only two fingers to do so, is astonishing.
Jazzers all over the net were celebrating Django’s birthday. Even Google got in on the act with a Google Doodle in honour of Django.
Here at Guitarless, I thought we’d take a listen to Django in action.
Here is Django Reinhardt playing Honeysuckle Rose with Duke Ellington. While I might call this a ‘featured video’ it’s really just an audio recording with that famous Django photo to look at. If you squint, you can probably imagine him moving. Or, you can just sit back and bask in the jazzy goodness.
You can download a version of Honeysuckle Rose from Amazon if you like. And, if you’re interested in listening to some more Django, here are a couple of suggestions to get you started:
And, if you’d like to try playing along with Django, here are a couple of books with tab and/or notation and information on Django’s style (I like the first one a little more).