Django Reinhardt - Legacy

Legacy

For about a decade after Reinhardt's death, interest in his musical style was minimal, with the fifties seeing bebop superseding swing in jazz, the rise of rock and roll, and electric instruments taking over from acoustic ones in popular music. Reinhardt's friends and sidemen Pierre Ferret and his brothers continued to perform their own version of gypsy swing.

There was a revival of interest in Reinhardt's music from the mid sixties, with acoustic music having become popular through the folk movement. Several of Reinhardt's near-contemporaries recorded for the first time in the sixties and seventies, for instance Paul "Tchan Tchou" Vidal

In 1973 Stéphane Grappelli formed a successful Quintette-style band with British guitarists Diz Disley and Denny Wright. Grappelli would go on to form many other musical partnerships, including John Etheridge, Nigel Kennedy and David Grisman. He was also to acquire his own emulators, for instance Dutch violinist Tim Kliphuis.

New generations began to emerge, for instance, Jimmy and Stochelo Rosenberg, Paulus Schäfer and their relatives from the Netherlands. Another musical clan is the Reinhardt brothers and cousins from Germany, distant relatives of Reinhardt's. Boulou Ferré, son of "Matelot" Ferret, was a child prodigy who entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of 13, and studied under Olivier Messiaen. He continues to perform, with his brother Elios, and can mix bebop and even classical music with gypsy swing. Biréli Lagrène and Angelo Debarre were other prodigies.

Most of the above-mentioned are Roma who learned music by the 'gypsy method', involving intense practice, direct imitation of older musicians (often family members) and playing by ear, with little formal musical study (or, indeed, formal education of any kind). Since about the late 1970s, study materials of a more conventional kind such as workshops, books and videos have become available, allowing musicians worldwide to master the style.

An early non-Roma gypsy-style guitarist was René Didi Duprat (b. 1926). Contemporary ones include John Jorgenson, Jon Larsen (and his Hot Club de Norvège, established 1979), Joscho Stephan, Andreas Öberg, Frank Vignola, George Cole, Stephane Wrembel and Reynold Philipsek. Their music is sometimes jokingly referred to as "Gadjo jazz", where Gadjo is the Romani term for a non-Romani. Young players such as Adrien Moignard and Gwenole Cahue represent the rising generation. Another sign of the rising popularity of gypsy jazz is the increasing number of festivals, such as the Samois-sur-Seine festival (started about 1980), and the various DjangoFests held in the USA.

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