Django Reinhardt plays violin and guitar

Django Reinhardt (1910-1953)

Django Reinhardt was a gypsy guitarist famous for co-founding the Quintet of the Hot Club of France with jazz violinist Stephane Grappelli in 1934. He made hundreds of recordings with the Quintet. Django also recorded with saxophonist Coleman Hawkins, jazz violinist Eddie South, and lots of other jazz musicians in Europe and America.

During World War II the quintet split up. Django lived in Paris throughout the war and managed to avoid getting sent to a concentration camp. He kept on playing and recording.

Here are 4 rare Django Reinhardt recordings made in Belgium in 1942. These recordings are unusual because Django Reinhardt is accompanied by stride piano (stride piano was a form of jazz piano popular during the 1920s). Django plays solos on the guitar and violin accompanied on the piano by Ivon de Bie. He is famous for his virtuosic jazz guitar solos but violin was his first instrument. I hope that you enjoy this music.

Angelo Debarre and Ludovic Beier – Troublant Bolero

Troublant Bolero is a tune by Django Reinhardt.  He first recorded the tune in 1948.

Here is a recording of Troublant Bolero palyed by the Romani “gypsy jazz” guitarist Angelo Debarre, and “gypsy jazz” accordion virtuoso Ludovic Beier.

“Gypsy jazz” is a style of jazz that is believed to be invented by the Romani guitarist Django Reinhardt in the 1930s.  It combines dark, chromatic gypsy sounds with swing.

Minor Swing – Ludovic Beier (accordion), Angelo Debarre (guitar)

Minor Swing is a popular “gypsy jazz” tune by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli. It was first recorded by Grappelli, Reinhardt, and the Quintet of the Hot Club of France in 1937.

Here is a recording of Minor Swing by Ludovic Beier (a “gypsy jazz” accordion virtuoso), and Angelo Debarre (a Romani “gypsy jazz” guitarist). Enjoy!

Mauro Giuliani – Sonata for Violin, Cello, and Guitar in A Major

Mauro Giuliani (1781-1829)

Mauro Giuliani was an Italian composer, guitar virtuoso, cellist, and singer. He was one of the leading guitar virtuosos of the 19th century.

Giuliani taught guitar, performed on the guitar, and composed a rich and varied repertoire for the guitar. His compositions include three guitar concertos, sonatas, studies, variations, duos for guitar with flute of violin, quartets, and songs.

Here is a recording of a Sonata for Violin, Cello, and Guitar in A Major by Mauro Giuliani. It is played by Leonid Kogan (violin), Alexander Ivanov-Kramskoy (guitar), and Fyodor Lusanov (cello). Enjoy!

Luiz Bonfa – Manha de Carnaval – The Rosenberg Trio

Luiz Bonfa (1922-2001)

Luiz Bonfa was a Brazilian guitarist and composer.  He is known for the music he wrote for the film Black Orpheus.  He helped to bring Brazilian music to the world stage.

Here is a composition called Manha de Carnaval.  It is a bossa nova (a lyrical fusion of a samba and jazz).  Bossa novas were developed and popularized in the 1950s and 1960s.   It is played by the Rosenberg Trio (a solo guitar, rhythm guitar, and string bass).  Enjoy!

Leonid Kogan – Paganini Sonata for Violin and Guitar, Op 2a

Nicolo Paganini (1782-1840)

Italian violinist, guitarist, and composer.  Paganini was famous as a violin virtuoso and a composer who helped expand violin technique through works such as the 24 Caprices and 6 violin concertos.  Paganini also composed close to a 100 duets for violin and guitar.  Sadly the duets for violin and guitar have been neglected because most people only know about the 24 Caprices for solo violin and the violin concertos of Paganini.  Paganini’s caprices and concertos were the only works of his published during his lifetime.

Leonid Kogan (1924-1982) was one of the great Soviet violinists of the 20th century.

Here is a recording of Leonid Kogan (violin) and Alexander Ivanov Kramskol (guitar) playing Paganini’s Sonata in A Major, op.2.  Listen how the violin melody cascades in between the guitar chords.  What a beautiful tone that Kogan produces on the violin!

I decided to post this piece because it is a Paganini piece that most people have not heard.  It is also very simple and beautiful.  This music also shows a different side of the composer and virtuoso.  It is not simply virtuosity for the sake of virtuosity, but real music.


Django Reinhardt & Eddie South – Somebody Loves Me – Paris, 23.11.1937

Eddie South (1904-1962) was a black American jazz violinist.  He has been referred to as the “Black Angel” of the violin.  Eddie was a child prodigy who was trained as a classical violinist.  He later switched to jazz violin because there were more opportunities for black musicians in jazz than in classical music.

In the 1920s Eddie visited Europe and was influenced by Hungarian folk music and gypsy music that he heard.  He later incorporated Hungarian music and gypsy music into his style of playing.

In the 1930s Eddie performed and made recordings with guitarist Django Reinhardt and violinist Stephane Grappelli of the Quintet of the Hot Club of France.

Here is a recording of Eddie South and Django Reinhardt playing “Somebody Loves Me.”  The recording was made in Paris in 1937.

Eddie South (violin) and Django Reinhardt (guitar) :

You can find mp3 recordings of Django Reinhardt and Eddie South on the website The piece ‘Somebody Loves Me’ is also on the cd Classics and Rarities: Django Reinhardt which can also be found on