Sunday, January 04, 2009

Father Christmas Brings Django

On Christmas morning, I got to rummage around in a bright red stocking and unwrap lots of exciting presents that had been delivered as I slumbered by the famous big fat fellow on his sleigh.

Father Christmas cleverly has a very decent idea of my musical taste (which I like to think is quite wide) and one the carefully wrapped packages contained a copy of "Djangology", a compilation of unbelievably fantastic recordings by the great Django Rheinhardt.Jazz fans will already know his story well enough; non-jazz fans might like to take a look at the shot above and note his left hand. The man was one of the most dexterous guitarists in the world, but he only had the use of two fingers on his left hand! His little and ring fingers were severely damaged in a fire in 1928 when he was still only 18; he had to learn a whole new technique, unique to his own disability, in order to play at all - let alone reach the dizzy heights that he did. Now that's talent.

If you want to see the man in action, there is some footage available - try clicking on this link (the film is from a 1939 performance with the Hot Club de France) - he starts his solo about 40 seconds in, just watch how he does it. Magic.

Thank you, Father Christmas.

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