Django Reinhardt - Influence

Influence

Many guitar players, and musicians, have expressed admiration for Django Reinhardt, or have cited him as a major influence. These include British rock guitarists Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck, and Eric Clapton. In fact, Jeff Beck has described Reinhardt as "By far the most astonishing guitar player ever..." and "...quite superhuman..." Other notable guitar players influenced by Reinhardt, include Bob Dunn, Leon McAuliffe, Jimmy McCulloch, classical guitarist Julian Bream; country artist Chet Atkins, who placed Reinhardt No. 1 on a list of the ten most influential guitarists of the 20th century (and himself fifth); Latinrocker Carlos Santana; blues legend B.B. King; Pete Townshend of The Who; Australian acoustic guitar player Tommy Emmanuel; The Wiggles' Murray Cook; Pierre Bensusan; Phish's Trey Anastasio; The Libertines' Carl Barat, Shawn Lane; Hank Marvin; Stevie Ray Vaughan; Derek Trucks; Mark Knopfler; Les Paul; Joe Pass; Peter Frampton; Denny Laine; Bill Nelson; Jon Larsen; Steve Howe; Charlie Christian; Frank Vignola; Barney Kessel; George Benson; Wes Montgomery; Martin Taylor; Michael Angelo Batio; Richard Thompson; Robert Fripp; René Thomas; Ray Condo; Big John Bates and Jeff Martin. Willie Nelson wore a Django Reinhardt T-shirt on tour in Europe in 2002, stating in an interview that he admired Reinhardt's music and ability. Willie pointed out how Reinhardt's Hot Club quintet paralleled the hot jazz & country fiddle sound of 1930's Western Swing bands Milton Brown and His Musical Brownies and Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. As well as individual guitarist Django's music has inspired numerous groups to form, including countless "Hot Clubs" as well as more diverse groups such as Swing Je T'aime, and the David Grisman Quintet.

Jose Feliciano attributes his unique style to, in part, that of Reinhardt's. In 2009 he composed an album inspired by those musical influences and entitled it Djangoisms.

Cuban composer and guitarist Leo Brouwer composed Variations on a Theme of Django Reinhardt for solo guitar (1984). It is based on Nuages, by Reinhardt.

The Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia and Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi, both of whom lost fingers in accidents, were particularly inspired by Reinhardt's ability to become an accomplished guitar player/musician, despite the diminished use of his own permanently injured hand following an accident. Jerry Garcia as quoted in June 1985 in Frets Magazine ; "His technique is awesome! Even today, nobody has really come to the state that he was playing at. As good as players are, they haven’t gotten to where he is. There’s a lot of guys that play fast and a lot of guys that play clean, and the guitar has come a long way as far as speed and clarity go, but nobody plays with the whole fullness of expression that Django has. I mean, the combination of incredible speed – all the speed you could possibly want – but also the thing of every note have a specific personality. You don’t hear it. I really haven’t heard it anywhere but with Django".

A number of musicians have even named their sons Django in honour of, or respect for, Reinhardt. They include Dawelie Reinhardt, David Crosby, former Slade singer Noddy Holder, Jerry Jeff Walker, Richard Durrant, as well as actors Nana Visitor, Alexander Siddig and Raphael Sbarge. Jazz musician Django Bates and singer-songwriter Django Haskins were also named after him.

Songs written in Reinhardt's honour include "Django," an instrumental guitar piece by renowned blues-rock guitarist Joe Bonamassa. The piece was influenced by the violin introduction of "Vous et Moi" (Blues et Mineur 1942, Brussels) where Reinhardt himself played the violin. Vous et Moi (You and Me) became the title of Bonamassa's sixth album where the track first appeared in 2006. Slightly longer live versions appear on LIVE...From Nowhere In Particular (2009), and in DVD from the 4 May concert at Royal Albert Hall. "Django," composed by John Lewis, which has become a jazz standard performed by musicians such as Miles Davis. The Modern Jazz Quartet titled one of their albums Django in honour of him. The Allman Brothers Band song "Jessica" was written by Dickey Betts in tribute to Reinhardt — he wanted to write a song that could be played using only two fingers. This aspect of the artist's work also motivated Black Sabbath guitarist Tony Iommi, who was inspired by Reinhardt to keep playing guitar after a factory accident that cost him two fingertips. Composer Jon Larsen has composed several crossover concerts featuring Reinhardt-inspired music together with symphonic arrangements, most famous are "White Night Stories" (2002) and "Vertavo" (1996).

Not only did Reinhardt put his stamp upon jazz, his "hot" string band music also had an impact upon the parallel development of Texas's western swing string bands, which eventually fed into the wellspring of what is now called country music.

In 2005, Django Reinhardt took 66th place in the election of The Greatest Belgian (De Grootste Belg) in Flanders and 76th place in the Walloon version of the same competition Le plus grand Belge.

Each year the village of Liberchies (Belgium) where Django was born celebrate a festival www.djangoliberchies.be/

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