A word about the music and it’s origins. The Hot Club of Philadelphia plays music often referred to as Gypsy Jazz, Based on the recordings of Belgian born Gypsy Guitarist Django Reinhardt and French Violinist Stephan Grappelli.
Django was one of the most influential guitarists of the 20th century.Born in a traveling Gypsy caravan in Liberchies Belguim on Jan. 24,1910 He was self-taught, and could not read or write music.
Django was illiterate, [ he eventually learned to write his name]. Coming from the Gypsy tradition, he was used to living outdoors, he didn’t sleep indoors or own a suit until he was in his twenties. A true original, with many idiosyncrasies, he was the subject of many myths and stories. He captured the imagination of writers and film makers, including a mention in the novel “From Here to Eternity”, by James Jones. Woody Allen’s brilliant 1999 release “Sweet and Lowdown”, the main character guitarist “Emmett Ray”, [played by Sean Penn], is a Django Reinhardt wanna-be. [The guitar parts in the movie were played by Howard Alden]. The film has introduced Django’s music and story to an entirely new audience.
The legend of Django is based to some extent on the fact that his left hand was badly burned in a fire in 1928. He had the use of only the 1st & 2nd fingers of his fret hand. He essential created a new way to play the guitar, modern players, who have the use of all their fingers are still struggling to recreate Django’s inspired solos. Django and Grappelli teamed up 1934 to form the Quartet of the Hot Club of Paris. They were initially influenced by the playing of guitarist Eddie Lang and the violinist Joe Venuti. Django and Stephan came up with a unique take on the American Jazz repertoire, in instrumentation and style. The group usually consisted of two [or three] guitars, bass and fiddle. Most of the groups at the time had banjo, drums and horns. Django’s Playing reflected the influences of Gypsy musical traditions, along with Grappelli’s Continental flair. In addition to playing popular songs of the time, like “Lady Be Good” And “Dinah”, they also played originals like the haunting melody of “Nuages”, The Gypsy Jazz anthem “Minor Swing”, [featured in the movie Chocolate], And reworked eastern European folk tunes like “Dark Eyes”, often played at break-neck Tempos. There is an amazingly warm and sincere aspect to this music. People often ask us what It’s called, and about it’s origins. For more information on the music and it’s origins check out; Django Reinhardt, a biography of Django by Charles DeLaunay

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