This coming Monday, January 23rd marks the 113th birthday of guitar legend Django Reinhardt and to celebrate the occasion, All Around Jazz will air a special program devoted to Reinhardt’s music. As a special treat, the middle hour of the show will feature a live-in-the-studio performance by Harmonious Wail, Madison’s pre-eminent Djangologists.
Born in 1910 in a Romany enclave in Belgium, Reinhardt displayed great musical talent at a very early age. When he was eighteen, a terrible fire disfigured his left hand, leaving him to play largely with two fingers. He overcame this obstacle to become the first European to reach great acclaim in both Europe and America as a jazz musician. Indeed, Reinhardt became synonymous with a whole new jazz idiom in much the same way that Bill Monroe’s name became with bluegrass music.
Together with the Quintet of the Hot Club of France, which also featured the equally renowned violinist Stephane Grappelli, Reinhardt cut hundreds of recordings, several dozen of which are widely considered classics, from the early thirties until his death in 1953.
His legend continues to this day largely through the various Hot Clubs and Django festivals that have been organized all over the world. One such festival happens annually right here in Madison. The Midwest Gypsy Swing Festival (and its mid-winter cousin) have been organized by Madisonians Sims and Maggie Delaney-Potthof, bringing to Madison some of the world’s best practitioners of this art, as well as showcasing local talent.
Join Alex Wilding-White and All Around Jazz this Monday, January 23 from 2:00 until 5:00 pm as we pay homage to the joie-de-vivre of a true legend, Django Reinhardt.