All about Django Reinhardt

Django’s Personality - Radio-Play

djangoschick.jpg - 34894 BytesThose character traits that were praised in public life, were cursed by many in private life. Living the life of a Bohemian was part of being an artist, for that it was not necessary to be a Rom. Still, improvisation is difficult for those who are accustomed to certain rules. For the audience, his fellow musicians, the organizers – in a small, remote club or in New York’s famous Carnegie Hall – who expected him at eight, and he arrived at nine. Or instead of him, a so-called cousin. Or he arrives, only to disappear again from the stage shortly after. To a game of cards, to friends, to making music. According to Hubert Rostaing, the best way to hear Django Reinhardt was to wait after the concert on the other side of the street – there you could probably hear him. Also later, artistic events played an important role for him. During a tour of the United Stated, he suddenly demanded to play together with Dizzy Gillespie, not wanting to hear that the latter was living at quite a distance.

Also his family had reason to complain. Already at an early age, his mother had to wait for him at the concert’s exit, in order to secure the family’s fee. We do not know how Django’s wife dealt with this later on.

Clothes were also very important to him, but again not in the way that was expected. One time, he would appear dressed like a dandy, then he would defend his bright red shoes by declaring that red and black went together well.

His immediate surrounding had to get accustomed to his pride, and it took quite an effort to make good the "insult" when the Quintette was announced in the United States as "Stéphane Grappelli and the Hot Four". Django’s colleagues also had to accept that he would travel first class and they third on returning from a trip to Italy, and that he did not even greet them on the train. They had had to lend him the money for the fare beforehand, because he had gambled away his fee.

When performing with the "Ersatz"-Quintette which he had put together with Hubert Rostaing during the war, he was yet more dominant. It was always he who told them what to play, he beat time, and as soon as he started tapping his foot, the Quintette immediately had to obey, without the slightest hesitation.

ROMBASE © by Peter Wagner

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