on 29 November 2002
This translation from the French, is a rich, absorbing and often humorous account of a special man and his music. The book traces the life and career of Django Reinhardt, from his childhood, when he would listen, enraptured, to the wonderful sounds emanating from the pavement grilles, of subterranean Paris night-clubs. It records a musical journey from the bars and bistros of Django's beloved Paris, to the heady surroundings of lush, American and European hotels and recording studios. Everything the 'Djangophile' could desire is in this book. Atmospheric photographs, humour and pathos; Django's brave struggle against adversity; the tragic accident that almost destroyed his career, yet which, at the same time, contributed a uniqueness to his playing style. Equally at home, among Princes or paupers, Django was a man of talent, genius and charm. He could swing; his chordal playing was dynamic, and rich in harmony. His solos poured from his guitar like warm silver. Arabesques, scales, riffs and imaginative flights of fantasy, so different, that they have often been described as 'more' than just jazz. He was full of life and joy, yet he would listen to Bach and tears would stream from his eyes. There was music in him and he made music. Wonderful music. The text relates many warm and pleasant stories of a singular musician's existence. You can almost taste the wine, the cheese and you can virtually smell the spicy aroma of French cigarettes. On finishing the book you will be left with a pleasant feeling. A tangible belief that you knew the man, his moods, and his music, as though you were part of his life. If you love Django and his music, you will love this book.
on 11 February 2002
Charles Delauney has managed to convey the reader back in time to a period of musical enchantment,the beginning of european jazz.
Prior to Django everything came from America during the twenties,but as the story unfolds through childhood,tragedy,the life of a gypsy and finally the forming of the Hot club Quintette,we see the emergence not only of european jazz but of a man who many rate as the greatest exponent of the guitar that has ever lived.Such words as virtuoso and genius are constantly lauded on the late Django but he did not just appear,this brilliant offering by a person who was part of that era has the reader enthralled from start to finish and has you thinking about learning the guitar as somehow you have missed out on some thing wonderful.
on 16 September 2011
Written in a very poetic style, this biography could easily have lost some of its impact in English - but thanks to thoughtful and accurate translation, it's a great read. Reinhardt was a colourful character, a gambling man who was dependable only in that he never slipped a note on guitar. Everything else in his life was wildly unreliable. The book has atmosphere but is also very informative, split into well-considered chapters. For anyone using the book for research purposes, the Discography is also well put-together, presented in a commendably condensed format.