Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli

In just about every musical autobiography I have always come across the name of Django Reinhardt as being an influence for such diverse musicians, and genres, as Keith Richards, Chet Atkins, Paul Simon, and the list goes on and on, including some of the greatest names in jazz. Here is the video I was hoping to post but for some reason would not load; the one above is short and only shows the drummer;

The funny thing about it is that I had been listening to his violinist/accompanist Stephane Grappelli since I was about 19 years old, when Mr. Grappelli recorded “Hobo Blues” with Mr. Simon at the end of his first solo album, which ends with the song “Papa Hobo” as track 8 and morphs into a 1 minute and 22 second violin rag which I have always loved and carried around, either on tape, or now on CD.

So, when I first started listening to the music of Django Reinhardt and hearing Mr. Grappelli’s violin I assumed that Mr. Simon was just imitating his style. Here I am, over 40 years after the song’s release and I find out that the violin I have been hearing on that track is actually Mr. Grappelli himself, playing with Mr. Simon.

Yesterday’s review of the Ricky Skaggs autobiography is just another example of the far reach which music has over time and place. Even Mr. Skaggs credits Mr. Grappelli with having opened his ears to a new way of interpreting the old sounds, which form the basis of his own music. As I listen to “Jatteendrai Swing” I can hear where the basic sound of Spade Cooley, and even Hank Williams, comes from. And the influence doesn’t stop there. It will only keep growing, shaping the music of future generations through the music of our own.

Here’s the Paul Simon You Tube link so that you can hear Stephane Grappelli doing his stuff 30 odd years down the road from the video above.

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