Put It In Your Pantry with Your Cupcakes

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Django Reinhardt:

"Which returns us to the mystery--why do Django imitators persist, and move us? Part of it is that the tone, with its signature heavy vibrato, is imitable. And part of it is that the time is short; there is not much second- and third-act Django. But surely another reason we respond is that few artists are so tied to a place; Django is Paris, modern tragic-beautiful Paris, broken Paris, imaginary Paris, fallen Paris, happy Paris, and the emotions of the city still pour out of his music, whoever plays it. When an artist belongs so entirely to a single decade, even the catastrophic decade of Europe from the mid-thirties to the mid-forties, then hearing his music revived revives the era, and reminds us that even the hardest times are human times, filled with music. There is something at once terrifying and beautiful in the thought that, while half a million Gypsies died, this Gypsy jazzman went on making music neither demonic nor mad but merely sad and lovely. By reviving an artist's time, we revive both his resistance to it and his response."
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