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Hot damn: Incredible footage of Django Reinhardt’s guitar technique
10:03 am


Stéphane Grappelli
Django Reinhardt

Django Reinhardt is one of the undisputed guitar jazz masters. Is he the most important jazz guitarist of all time? I don’t even know who else would be in the running for that…. Wes Montgomery, Charlie Christian? Django’s pretty close to the top, by anyone’s reckoning. Reinhardt gets extra coolness points for being a gypsy, for possibly being illiterate, and for losing the use of his ring finger and pinky in a fire when he was 18 years old.

That fact, of Django’s maimed hand, has heightened interest in his technique, because if nothing else it forced him to rethink his approach to the instrument.

In 1939, a promotional film in English was made for Django Reinhardt, Stephane Grappelli and the Hot Club of France. The title of the video is “Jazz ‘Hot.’” It’s possible that the video was generated for a tour of Britain the Hot Club would do that year. The first half of the video is a little introduction to jazz; the second half of the video is a performance by the Hot Club. If you’d like to see Django’s fingers dance all over the guitar with a camera placement designed to showcase it in all its glory, here’s your chance. Stéphane Grappelli, of course, also appears on violin.

Absolutely astonishing footage.

Unfortunately, embedding is disabled on the video, but you can watch it here.

via Lawyers, Guns & Money

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Wish You Were Here: Pink Floyd jam with Stéphane Grappelli, 1975
01:30 pm


Pink Floyd
Stéphane Grappelli

Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason called an alternate take of ‘Wish You Were Here” recorded with the great jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli, “the jewel in the crown” of the band’s (as then) unreleased recording archive. In it, Grappelli takes a soaring solo at the end of the song. His playing was actually there on the original album, but so low in the final mix that the band opted not to credit him, thinking it would be insulting.

The master tape of the Grappelli solo was presumed to have been wiped, as Mason told BBC radio:

“My understanding was that we’d had to record over it in order to put on other sections. It still astonishes me that we didn’t use it originally, didn’t realise what a wonderful thing it was.”

In “A Rambling Conversation with Roger Waters Concerning All This and That,” that was published in the Wish You Were Here Songbook, Roger Waters was asked about the Grappelli session by Nick Sedgewick:

Nick Sedgewick: Didn’t you also use Stephane Grappelli on the album somewhere?

Roger Waters: Yeah. He was downstairs when we were doing Wish You Were Here. Dave had made the suggestion that there ought to be a country fiddle at the end of it, we might try it out, and Stephane Grappelli was downstairs in the number one studio making an album with Yehudi Menuhin. There was an Australian guy looking after Grappelli who we’d met on a tour so we thought we’d get Grappelli to do it. So they wheeled him up after much bartering about his fee—him being an old pro he tried to turn us over, and he did to a certain extent. But it was wonderful to have him come in and play a bit.

Nick Sedgewick: He’s not on the album now, though?

Roger Waters: You can just hear him if you listen very, very, very hard right at the end of “Wish You Were Here,” you can just hear a violin come in after all thewind stuff starts—just! We decided not to give him credit, ‘cos we thoughtit might be a bit of an insult. He got his 300 pounds, though.

After 36 years in the EMI vaults, the alternate “Wish You Were Here” recorded with Grappelli was finally released on the Wish You Were Here Immersion box set in 2011.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment