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The first time you heard about Django Reinhardt? First time you heard his music?

DeuxDoigts_TonnerreDeuxDoigts_Tonnerre Lawrenceville GA USANew Altamira M30D, Gitane DG-250M
in Welcome Posts: 23

Just sitting here thinking the about my earliest memories of Django.  If I remember correctly, I found out about him from a guitar book in the library when I was in high school in the 1980s.  I remember pictures of the guitar with the funky sound hole.  Probably had the quintessential pic of the Quintet, and possibly of his hand as well.  I also vaguely remember reading about his life and the 2 fingers in the text. 

The first time I actually heard Django's music was when I bought the Djangology CD which had tunes from the Rome sessions in 1949.  And the first tune I heard was "The World is Waiting For the Sunrise". 

I am interested to hear how all of you first discovered Django.  What was the context?  What was the first tune you ever heard/remember hearing? 

Thank you in advance for sharing.



  • I heard about Django in guitar mags in the 80's. I bought this record from a used cd store in my college town:

    Two tracks kind of grabbed me: "Bei Dir War Es Immer So Schon" and "Vous Et Moi." I played it quite a bit in college and in one case, it was a soundtrack to a post-bar amorous adventure. I tried to figure some of the stuff out halfheartedly and eventually came back to it about 12 years ago, where it stuck.

  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,886

    A fiddler I knew in North Carolina named Fred Lail introduced to me Django in 1990. From the first note I was hooked!

  • ScoredogScoredog Santa Barbara, Ca✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 646

    I first heard Django in guitar school back in the late 70's, sounded primitive so I moved on and never really listened to him. I was a huge follower of the LA studio guitar cats since I was in LA and that is what I aspired to be. Django's influence there was negligible. Discovered him about 10 yrs ago but didn't really get it till about 6 yrs ago.

  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 535

    I was lucky in that my dad had broad tastes and back in London in the '60s aside from the obvious Beatles and Stones I was exposed to Fats Waller and  Tchaikovsky, Miles Davis and Les Paul & Mary Ford, Sinatra and Hendrix and he even used to tune in to a radio station broadcasting out of Paris called France Inter that had a late night show called 'Le Pop Club' that played the latest rock albums all the way through with no breaks.  He had some Django records right there in the mix so hearing it as a kid it was all normal to me; I didn't know everyone didn't have a dad like mine.  I grew up, moved out and dad passed a long time ago, but all of that variety in music has stayed with me ever since.  I went through the normal rock and blues thing into the'70s, I was even a real gone Deadhead for some time, then I went back to the roots, got serious about old blues, then Stefan Grossman's ragtime picking lessons.  All through this Django stayed with me but I thought I was alone, most folks I played his records to didn't get it.  Then around 1990 the film Django Legacy was on TV and I found there were others, got in touch with the late Ian Cruickshank, got his book, saw him play with Gary Potter at Pizza Express in Soho, then found out Fapy Lafertin and others were regularly touring.  Of course in the days before the internet it was harder to share such interests or find out more.  Now we all have a worldwide network and many new star players but I still go back to Django to hear the real thing.

  • QuadropentaQuadropenta New England USANew
    Posts: 77

    I was into Count Basie in college and listened to my roommates LP of the earliest hot club recordings. It sounded stiff and unswinging. Not much else was available. Later I met someone who had studied with Harry Volpe and had all the French chronological recordings. Wow :^) Had to learn the music. On the internet in the early 1990s I ran a search on Django. Nothing! We are lucky to have this site and others.

    "There are two refuges from the miseries of life--music and cats" Albert Schweitzer
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,883

    Wow, good question. I'll have to think about how it crept into my consciousness. I was interested in classic jazz rhythm guitar late in life and then I think I first heard Venuti and Lang and then the Quintet but not sure. Back kind of early-internet days so pretty hard to get any info on it back then just used to play along with recordings and try to figure it out. Really struggled until we had sites like this and all the other info. Well....still struggling but at least the info is out there. Wish we had all this info and I would have gotten into it in my teens!

  • vanmalmsteenvanmalmsteen Diamond Springs ,CANew Latch Drom F, Paris swing, Altamira m30d , Altimira Mod M
    Posts: 215

    The woody Allen movie, Sweet and low down

  • stuologystuology New
    Posts: 73

    He kind of crept up on me. The first time I heard of him was when I was learning guitar when I was 17. I had a book called something like ‘the ultimate guitar book’ and it started with a chapter on famous guitar players with a page on each. Django was the first. I read that chapter avidly many times. But getting hold of the music wasn’t so easy in those days. Now I would pull up a playlist on Apple Music, back then they were just names. Grappelli was still a public figure in the UK and I even saw him live but for some reason I didn’t make the connection with Django until later (I wish I could go back in time and see that gig again ...). I had a cassette, one of the black and gold ones, and the track I remember most is one hardly anyone mentions these days — Nagasaki.

  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,174

    The first time I heard Django would probably be sometime in 1955. My father tried to convince me to get one of his recordings although, at that time, I was more interested in Little Richard and Bill Haley. I really did not want to get a recording of some obscure French guy with a really silly sounding name. Django recordings were very difficult to find in those far off days but my mother finally managed to get a 10" LP. Within 4 bars I was captivated. It was a revelation to me from which I have never truly recovered.

    My father had been a fan before the war and, with my mother, went to the first concert of the Quintette in the UK in 1938. Regardless of how many times I told him, he insisted on calling him Derjango until the day he died.

    MichaelHorowitzgeese_comMehran sadriannomadgtr
  • PapsPierPapsPier ✭✭
    Posts: 403

    So nice to hear all your stories. The first time I heard the name Django was from my dad: since I kind of liked acoustic guitar he told me to check out this guy. It was in 2005, I had found a few tunes online Minor swing (played by J Depp for Le chocolat movie) Charleston and les yeux noirs. I liked them for the rhythm bc it was really hot and I was into that type of jazz. Then on a market in a small town I found a compilation with tunes from 1935. I bought it but I found it weird: the sound of violin and guitar was really different from what I was used too. I then bought a second best of with four cds: one for the old quintet, one with the new, one with the collaborations with other bands and one for the solo stuff. I was hooked by the sound of the new quintet. At tge same time I started learning how to play guitar more seriously, using the advice from the users of manoucheries the french forum about gypsy jazz which was super active at that time. And after a few years practicing by myself I bought a gypsy guitar and started to meet players in 2010 and to go to concerts, lessons and master classes)

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