Django Reinhardt Festival Opens in New York

Classic Arts News   Django Reinhardt Festival Opens in New York
The Django Reinhardt New York Festival, the fifth annual salute to the great gypsy guitarist, opens tonight at Birdland.

French guitarist Dorado Schmitt, a devotee of Reinhardt's "hot swing" style, leads two sets nightly through November 14. He is joined by rhythm guitarist "Mayo" Hubert, bassist Brian Torff, the Dutch group Band Basily, and others. Guests include saxophonist James Carter (tonight) and accordionist Gil Goldstein (November 13).

Reinhardt, who grew up in a camp outside Paris, became a virtuoso guitarist despite burns that made two of the fingers on his left hand useless. In 1934, he founded the Quintet of the Hot Club of France with violinist Stephane Grappelli, playing a distinctly European variant of swing accompanied by bass and a second guitar. Reinhardt later took up the electric guitar and performed with American groups in the bebop style, but his most beloved and influential records are the "Hot Club" recordings of the 1930s. He died in 1953 of a stroke.

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