We all do 'do, re, mi', but you have to find the other notes yourself. Louis Armstrong

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"Django Reinhardt Swing de Paris"

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Django Reinhardt, Paris swing exhibition from October 6th 2012 to January 23th 2013 at la cite de la musique in Paris.

Born in the back of a caravan   into a family of performers, Django Reinhardt (1910-1953) might have grown up in the slums of the “Zone”, but he belongs to the aristocracy of swing. This “child of the breeze”, as Jean Cocteau liked to describe him, won over not just jazz-loving intellectuals, but also those attending public dances and the very fancy clients of select cabarets, with the magic of his guitar. And his popularity didn’t fade; on the contrary, it seems only to have grown as the craze for gypsy jazz found an echo in contemporary French songwriting and film. Independent and whimsical, revelling in the freedom so dear to his gypsy brothers, Django Reinhardt fascinated his contemporaries in the way his brilliant virtuosity triumphed over his handicap, as if he hadn’t lost two fingers at age 18, when his caravan burned down. While he co-headed the Quintette du Hot Club de France with Stephane Grappelli, Django launched a new kind of jazz - gypsy jazz - and shared the stage with some of the highest creators of the genre: Coleman Hawkins, Duke Ellington and Benny Carter. His fame reached all the way to the United States, who saw in this gypsy, who spoke not a word of English and lived in a caravan, a symbol of French eccentricity!

From the dances of the rue de Lappe to the Boeuf sur le toit, the nightclubs of Pigalle to the Salle Pleyel, the great movie theatres of the Champs-Elysées to the Cirque Médrano and the Saint-Ouen flea market, Django’s career is a geography of Parisian in itself. In addition to a collection of unpublished documents and the re-creation of the legendary Selmer guitar workshop, the exhibition gives a place to people who have captured the heart and soul of Paris: photographers like Eugène Atget, Brassaï, Émile Savitry, Willy Ronis and Robert Doisneau, as well as writers, painters and sculptors. All of   these works reflect the cultural melting-pot of Django’s music, nourished by cosmopolitan influences and universal in scope.  

Last modified on Thursday, 20 September 2012 06:53