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The Best of Django Reinhardt

Explore the groundbreaking style of one of the most unique and influential guitarists in jazz!
Level: , 64 pages
RefNr: HL695660
Order From:
Amazon UK
Amazon US

Written by: Joe Charupakorn

The playing of: Django Reinhardt

Format: Method Medium: Book/CD
Series: Signature LicksPublisher: Hal Leonard

A Step-by-Step Breakdown of the Guitar Styles and Techniques of a Jazz Giant. Performed by Django Reinhardt. Signature Licks (Authentic guitar transcriptions in notes and tab). Book & CD Package. With notes and tablature. Size 9x12 inches. 64 pages. Published by Hal Leonard. (695660) Explore the groundbreaking style of one of the most unique and influential guitarists in jazz! This book/CD pack explores 16 of his signature tunes: Ain't Misbehavin' * Belleville * Daphne * Dinah * Djangology * Honeysuckle Rose * Limehouse Blues * Marie * Minor Swing * Nuages * Old Folks at Home (Swanee River) * Rose Room * Stardust * Swing 42 * Swing

Songs - Compositions - Recordings
Sort by: Recording artist * Title * Composer

Django Reinhardt Ain't Misbehavin' -
Django Reinhardt Belleville -
Django Reinhardt Daphne -
Django Reinhardt Dinah -
Django Reinhardt Djangology -
Django Reinhardt Honeysuckle Rose -
Django Reinhardt Limehouse Blues -
Django Reinhardt Marie -
Django Reinhardt Minor Swing -
Django Reinhardt Nuages -
Django Reinhardt Old Folks At Home (Swanee River) -
Django Reinhardt Rose Room -
Django Reinhardt Stardust -
Django Reinhardt Swing 42 -
Django Reinhardt Swing Guitar -
Django Reinhardt Tiger Rag (Hold That Tiger) -

Book of the Month 2004-03

Guitar Book of the Month March 2004 - The Best of Django Reinhardt

For a long time I have been looking for good books on the guitar playing of the Belgian born gypsy Django Reinhardt. He is one of the most influential guitar players who has ever lived, he had a unique, personal style, and his influence crosses over to many musical genres, and not only jazz. Less important guitarists get much more coverage than someone like Django Reinhardt.

Django Reinhardt is not the only one who has been largely overlooked by publishers. Until recently, there was nothing on the market covering the playing of Albert King, a man who has had enormous influence on every rock guitaris of today (some of them may not know that it all came from Albert King). But now it is at least one book on his playing (and to my knowledge, more is on its way). There is a little more, both a video and a book, on the playing of Freddie King, the guitarist who was the main influence on the playing of the young Eric Clapton.

Things are getting better. Not too long ago, a good book on the playing of Charlie Christian was published – again in the Signature Licks series. And there are at least two books and a video on the playing of T-Bone Walker. After I started listening to T-Bone Walker, I realized where Chuch Berry had got some of his "trademark" licks. Charlie Christian and T-Bone Walker were the ones who defined the electric guitar playing, and every electric guitarist is indebted to them. If we add Lonnie Johnson, we have most of the pioneers who do not get the kind of credit they deserve. But we must add Eddie Lang, who has not got one single book devoted to his playing. But enough of that, and back to Django.

There have been some books and a few videos on the market. I am not saying that I know everything out there, but of the books I know, none has really been to my taste. Not before now, with the recent release of The Best of Django Reinhardt by Joe Charupakorn in the Signature Licks series.

The book is in the – to many of us – well known Signature Licks format. This is annotated transcriptions, sometimes of a complete tune, sometimes of essential elements of a tune. On the CD that comes with the book, we get the music played up to speed and slowed down.

In this book, we get 16 tunes. And the tunes that have to be there, are included: Dinah, Djangology, Minor Swing, Daphne and Nuages. And then 10 other tunes. Personally, I miss Lambeth Walk and It Don't Mean A Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing), but that is more for personal nostalgic reasons. These are the first two tunes that I tried to learn from Django Reinhardt's records.

The book covers Django Reinhardt's lead work. But comping is also a very important part of this string swing style, and comping in this style is not covered.

If you want more of Django Reinhardt's solos, there are a few other books on the market. Stan Ayeroff's most recent book is the most extensive – at least to my knowledge – with 44 tunes transcribed and analyzed. But he use standard notation only, and no tab, which will exclude many guitarists from taking advantage of his books. The Definitive Collection is a good one if you want transcriptions i tablature, with 20 tunes (but a lot of overlap with the main book covered here). I do not know the other collections listed on my Django Reinhardt Page, but they are all less extensive.

The British (or at least I think they are British ...) string swing band leader Robin Nolan has published 9 books on Django Reinhardt's playing. 6 are "songbooks", one (and one forthcomming) is a collection of Django Licks, and the last one is a "Gig Book". I have two of the songbooks and the currently available lick collection. The songbooks will give you the chord progressions with chord shapes, and the "head" (the basic melody). But you will not get full transcriptions of the solos. Robin Nolan uses his own kind of tablature, which I do not like. I see no reason why one should not stick to the rather standardized version of tablature. To invent a new method will only add confusion. But as it is only the "head" anyway, it is not that important. The lick collection presents licks (surprise!), with chord progressions where you can apply these licks. But what these books really give you, are very good backing tracks to play with and a good understanding of comping. I think that The Best of Django Reinhardt in combination with some of Robin Nolan's books will be a very good basis for learning Django Reinhardt's style of playing. And add a collection of transcriptions eventually, if you want to study more of his solos.

Robin Nolan's books are not sold through any of the retailers with whome I have affiliate agreements. The only way to get them – to my knowledge – is to order via Robin Nolan Trio's Website . There are also books you can get from But I do not know these books, and cannot tell you anything about them.

Music is an art of hearing, and you have to listen to music. Django Reinhardt made somewhere between 750 and 1000 recordings during his career from 1928 to 1953. So there are many to choose from. The three box sets from JSP Records are real bargains, as are all other box sets from JSP Records.

The Best of Django Reinhardt

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