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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A Musical Interlude ~ The "J'attendrai Swing"



Take four minutes to simply relax and journey to a different time, different place ~ Paris, 1939 ~ to hear a couple of Europe’s most renowned jazz musicians play "J’attendrai Swing."

Though I’ve been fond of Django Reinhardt’s music for years, this rare video is the first time I've seen him play guitar with his distinctive two-finger style. Born a gypsy in 1910, he was badly burned at 18 when flames ravaged a caravan he shared with his young bride, Bella. Already an accomplished guitarist, he was forced to re-learn the instrument and develop new fingering patterns to compensate for a partially paralyzed hand. He went on to become one of the world's best-loved guitarists.

This video also features Stéphane Grappelli, the famous French violinist who ~ with Django ~ in 1934 formed the Quintette du Hot Club de France, the first and most famous all-string jazz band ever.

4 comments:

ludmil said...

A free-spirited gypsy, Reinhardt wasn't the most reliable person in the world, frequently wandering off into the countryside on a whim. Yet Reinhardt came up with a unique way of propelling the humble acoustic guitar into the front line of a jazz combo in the days before amplification became widespread. He would spin joyous, arcing, marvelously inflected solos above the thrumming base of two rhythm guitars and a bass, with Grappelli's elegantly gliding violin serving as the perfect foil. His harmonic concepts were startling for their time -- making a direct impression upon Charlie Christian and Les Paul, among others -- and he was an energizing rhythm guitarist behind Grappelli, pushing their groups into a higher gear. Not only did Reinhardt put his stamp upon jazz, his string band music also had an impact upon the parallel development of Western swing, which eventually fed into the wellspring of what is now called country music. Although he could not read music, with Grappelli and on his own, Reinhardt composed several winsome, highly original tunes like "Daphne," "Nuages" and "Manoir de Mes Reves," as well as mad swingers like "Minor Swing" and the ode to his record label of the '30s, "Stomping at Decca." As the late Ralph Gleason said about Django's recordings, "They were European and they were French and they were still jazz."

Gregory LeFever said...

Interesting information, Ludmil. Thank you for providing it. I'd never thought of Django as contributing to country music, but I suppose stranger things have happened. One thing is for certain: he was a one-of-a-kind musician whose melodic treatments had considerable joie de vivre!

Mohit Kumra said...

Hey. Very informative Ludmil. Big fan of Django myself.
Do you have any idea which album / compilation I could find J'attendrai in. I have a bunch of his albums and none of them have this composition.
Tried googling, couldn't come up with anyhthing. Its driving me nuts!!

Anonymous said...

I needed the song J'Attendrai for a class assignment, but couldn't find it anywhere online either. But if you google "youtube to mp3" you can use that site to enter the youtube URL of the song and convert it to an mp3. Hope that helps!