Book review – Django by Michael Dregni



Django Reinhardt didn’t spend a lot of time filling in tax forms, buying houses, giving statements to Congressional committees or writing books (thankfully because that left plenty of time to record the wonderful legacy of gypsy jazz he left us) so getting the information to write his biography has always been very difficult. Up until now there haven’t really been any biographies that could be viewed as close to the truth. Charles Delaunay’s attempt is very entertaining but has a particular bias. This biography written by Michael Dregni and published by Oxford University Press in 2004 has good claim to be the first critical biography of Django. The amount of information is amazing and I am sure took years to acquire. The biography follows a fairly strict chronological order and finishes with a section on gypsy jazz after Django’s death which is fascinating. Michael Dregni takes care to set the social and musical context of each section of Django’s life which is very useful especially for the section where Django travels to America to play with Duke Ellington. All in all an essential read for Django fans.


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