When Django Reinhardt Met Andres Segovia | Stéphane Grappelli, 1973



^ Erwin Blumenfeld, Hot Jazz de France: Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, Paris 1935


“People often ask me if Django practised. Oh no, not Django; he was born with that technique.
In my opinion we can compare him with that other phenomenon Paganini. By the music he left
behind one can tell that Paganini must have been a fantastic player. I think Django was about the
same degree a phenomenon. I remember one day he really let me down, I didn’t know where he
was and when he came back four months later, he assured me he hadn’t touched the guitar – he’d
lost it. That same night he played like a God. I had never heard anybody play the guitar like that;
and after four months inactivity. I said, ‘How can you do it? If I stop playing the violin for one
week I can’t play’. ‘Oh, I don’t know’, he said. He never knew, it was always ‘I don’t know’.
Anyway, he was so pleased to get back to his guitar and he was so amazed at his re-awakening
that he didn’t stop playing all that night. But of course his fingers were injured and they were
bleeding. He’d go running up those very sharp strings so fast that he hurt himself, but he
didn’t take any notice. He used to play the guitar with the fingers sometimes, instead
of the plectrum, and he liked the Spanish guitar.

I remember us being invited to a party by a titled lady who used to delight in giving parties
and inviting among her guests two people who were absolutely the opposite both in conception
and tastes. This particular evening it was the turn of Andres Segovia and Django Reinhardt.
So of course Django arrived three hours late, and without a guitar. Segovia was there, naturally
at the right time and he’d played his repertoire. Everybody was upset because of Django and
finally he arrived with a lovely smile, thinking it was okay. We said, ‘Where have you been ?
You’re three hours late’. ‘Oh, I didn’t know’. Because Django never knows the time. He goes
by the sun. ‘Django, now it’s your turn to play something’. But of course he had forgotten
his guitar and Segovia doesn’t want to lend him his, so someone has to rush off in a taxi to
find some old box somewhere. And there you are; Django played solo guitar with a plectrum
and then his fingers and he produced such a fantastic sound and improvisations that Segovia
was amazed and asked, ‘Where can I get that music?’ Django laughed and replied
‘Nowhere, I’ve just composed it!’”

Stephane Grapelli, 1973

Spanish classical guitarist Andrés Segovia, 1930

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