This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Django Reinhardt - or - maybe all Gypsies aren't all bad

In an effort to harass my friend Andrea, I've adopted as my motto "the only good Gypsy is a dead Gypsy." (She has a drop of Gypsy blood, but she looks plenty swarthy.) Anyway, I've decided the only good Gypsies are her, Eugene Hutz, and Django Reinhardt, the 30's jazz guitarist.

My clever friend Nick Feratu of AZ's own The Limit Club ( - check 'em out, they're rad, especially the song they named after this here ol' blog) worships Reinhardt as the greatest guitarist who ever lived. While I have my own favorites (East Bay Ray and Steve Albini pop to mind), Nick's not terribly far off. Reinhardt was that rare innovator, the kind of guy that didn't let technical skill take the place of soul or belly fire.

What's really astounding is that he managed to play some of the most difficult guitar music ever with an injured left hand; a fire left his left side badly damaged, including the hand he needed to form notes and chords. With two functional fingers, he still managed to create some of the most jaw-dropping music of any genre. What's even more impressive was that he was able to create such music under such duress. See, he was in Paris during the occupation of WWII, and jazz was banned under Hitler's rule. It was only with the help of Luftwaffe officer Dietrich Schulz-Kohn (aka "Doktor Jazz") that he escaped the death camp fate that awaited most people of Gypsy stock.

After the war, he re-teamed with longtime violinist/sidekick Stephane Grappelli (who'd-a thunk some stuffed shirt music conservatory type could fuckin' SWING?) before retiring in 1951, dying of a brain hemorrhage two years later. In a relatively short time, Reinhardt made some of the most everlasting music to come from any genre of any time. Check it, holmes.

Minor Swing -

I Wonder Where My Baby Is Tonight -

After You've Gone -


Blogger Andrea said...

A shocking turnaround! I'm in the good gypsy list? Now I have to pick your pockets or something.

4:38 AM

Blogger Matt Ramone said...

You will pick nothing, you hellbound wench!

11:26 PM


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