Some of my co-workers and I started sharing some of our favorite music. We’ve been doing it for a while, but now we’re actually reviewing them and sharing those reviews with one another.
As some of you may know, I play music. So when I listen to music, much of the time I listen for things to try, to push my skills and make me better. There are some musicians – like Chris Thile – who are so good, I get discouraged that I’ll ever be that good. One of those musicians is Django Reinhardt on guitar.
The man was born to gypsies and grew up on the streets of Paris. When he was a young man, he got caught in a fire and burned his ring and pinky finger on his left hand. But he didn’t let that hold him back from his playing. Not only did he invent and pioneer gypsy jazz as a genre, but using only his first and middle finger, he is still a better – and faster – guitar player than 99 percent of the guitarists I’ve heard. Just watch 20 seconds of this and you’ll understand what I mean:
He died in ’53, so pretty much all of his work was singles; before recording musicians thought of albums as anything more than collections, like greatest hits. Since it would be hard to make sure my coworkers – who use a random assortment of iTunes, Spotify and Google Play – all listen to the right album, I’m going to share a different artist who has albums like we tend to think of them, but I couldn’t let Django go unmentioned. FYI, I’d score almost anything Django plays at least a 4/5.
Before we get to my coworkers’ suggestions, though, this is one of my favorite Django Reinhardt songs. He led a jazz group for 14 year called le Quintette du Hot Club de France with violinist Stéphane Grappelli. Here’s a collaboration between the Quintet and singer Beryl Davis called Undecided: