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Best Django biography?

AngelojfAngelojf New
edited January 2013 in Welcome Posts: 18
There's a few bios out there ; what is the best? Thanks

Comments

  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    Hi Angelo,

    The only Bio I read, I Loved, and it was:
    Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend by Michael Dregni

    Never looked for another after that. It'll be interesting to see others input I may be reading another but this gets my vote.

    I know it's available at Amazon. I didn't see it under books here, not the friendliest search engine IMO.

    pickitjohn

    Book Description
    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.
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,414
    Not exclusively Django bios (lots on Django, but looks at other players and developments as well), two more by Dregni include Gypsy Jazz: In Search of Django Reinhardt and the Soul of Gypsy Jazz, and Django Reinhardt and the Illustrated History of Gypsy Jazz.

    I love all the books by Dregni. Django Life and Legacy, for its close look at Django and his music; Soul of Gypsy Jazz, for its cool device of switching between yesteryear and today in all the haunts, and in looking at how the music has evolved; and the Illustrated History for its photos, vintage promotional posters, etc., and its trim commentary.

    Michael Dregni is a fine writer, in my opinion. They're all great, for different moods.
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,920
    All of the Bios including everything listed above are here:

    Gypsy Jazz History and Bios

    thanks!

    Michael
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,414
    Hahah, sorry Michael, it's not intentional - that Prime account always triggers my default. :oops:

    Yep, what he said - buy from Michael!
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    edited January 2013 Posts: 936
    Sorry Michael,

    I did a search for Michael Dregni and Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend did not show up.
    When I go to Media/Books/Gypsy Jazz History and Bios it does show up. Just a little difficult to find IMO.
    Seems like your search engine has filters set. I've missed quite a few things to find it later in a thread somewhere.

    From the Main page only three Dregni show up.

    pickitjohn

    Glad you have them available.

    Get them here:

    http://shoppingcart.djangobooks.com/Cat ... _biography
  • PassacagliaPassacaglia Madison, WI✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,414
    John -

    All of the books I mentioned are on the page Michael provided. You don't have to search, just scroll down to see the various titles.

    Cheers!

    Paul
    -Paul

    pas encore, j'erre toujours.
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