Django Reinhardt - Coucou
I’m out of my league here, but I’m going to do my best - which is a phrase I’ve uttered in much more intimate situations than this, believe me. Django Reinhardt is a musician who deserves a much better tribute than I can muster, but he has one hell of a story none the less. Django was Belgian, which if you’re not familiar, is like being French after being hit in the head with a brick. He’s also a goddamn jazz legend, which is news to me because I don’t listen to jazz, mostly because I have a job and I understand that’s frowned upon in jazz circles - but ask any jazz guitarist friends of yours about Django and you’re likely to see their berets nodding up and down as they slowly exhale. Well, slower than normal. Then ask yourself why you’re friends with these fucks who eat all your cheese and have parlayed their major in music history into a job in help desk and yet somehow have this inexplicable air of superiority that you’d probably try to correct with kind words if they weren’t such assholes they weren’t worth the effort. Sorry, sorry. Serenity. As my pastor MF Doom once said, ‘Not to call the whole crowd out. It’s just a few chumps, and you know who you are like a shoutout.’ It’s not the jazz I hate, it’s their fans.
Meanwhile: Django, gypsy MF that he was, lived with his first wife Bella in a carvan that they had either partially constructed or at least decorated with thin colorful film and paper that she used to make flowers that she sold to try to put some bread on the table because she pulled the short straw and married a deadbeat musician. Surely a gypsy fortuneteller in their midst could have seen this coming a mile away, but if there’s anything more flammable than paper and celluloid, it probably hasn’t been named due to immolating immediately after being looked upon. Needless to say, a perhaps somewhat drunken Django knocks over a candle coming home after a show, nearly burns down the whole mess, and is himself burnt horribly in the fire. He makes a somewhat miraculous recovery but loses most of the use of two fingers of his left hand. Now, I know we’re not all mathletes like me, but that’s 50% of the fingers used in guitar playing, unless you’re Richie Havens, in which case give me back my djembe bro.
Django went on to play some goddamn groundbreaking jazz guitar, performing with the use of only two of his fingers, the other two occasionally coming into play while strumming chords or probably just when he wanted to freak the crowd out. He’s like a jazz special Olympian! That’s unduly harsh and I apologize. Jazz musicians are all special.