Django Reinhardt

Jean-baptiste Reinhardt, Belgian gypsy (of French language) was born in 1910 in Liverchies, in a gypsy family coming from Central Europe. At twelve years, he plays the guitar and the banjo. In 1928, his caravan bruns; seriously injured, his left hand is mutilated ; he trains hard to rehabilitate it. Painter Emile SAVITRY makes him discover the jazz. In 1934, he creates a string quintet (a violin, that of Stéphane Grapelli, three guitars and a double bass) in Claridge in Paris. He then plays and records with the greates jazzmen of the time (Coleman Hawkins for example). During the Occupation, he surfs on the swing mode, becomes orchestra leader and composes Nuages in 1940. After the war, he plays in the United States with Duke Ellington. He turns to the electric guitar and starts painting. He dies in 1953 of a stroke. He remains the “discoverer” of the guitar.

Django… this guitar with human voice” (Cocteau).

His instrument, rare and mythical guitar, the Selmer Maccaferri was designed by the Italian Violin maker Mario Maccaferri. Without knowing it, he created the first Jazz guitar. For a musician of exception, he needed a guitar of exception. This guitar, by its design, is of an exceptional power. When amplification did not exist, Django could thus face, with big bands composed of powerful blow instruments.

Django Reinhardt in Emir Kusturica's films

In Arizona Dream, beside Goran Bregović's music, there are three songs of Django Reinhardt :

  • “You're driving me crazy” (by W. Donaldson, played by D. Reinhardt)
  • “Minor Swing” (by D. Reinhardt and S. Grapelli)
  • “Topsy” (by Durham, played by D. Reinhardt)


Impossible to list the whole discography of this exceptionnal musician who recorded more than one hundred albums. To mention only that one, here is a best-of on


A beautiful website dedicated to the artist :

en/django_reinhardt.txt · Last modified: 2007/03/17 16:13 by matthieu1