Song of the Day: Django Reinhardt “September Song”
Now that summer is ending and September has arrived, I can share my absolute favorite version of the Kurt Weill classic, “September Song”. This version, by gypsy jazz guitar genius, Django Reinhardt comes from a rare electric date by Django in 1953. While Django perfectly captures the feel of the song, imbuing every note with a certain slight melancholy that early fall can bring, it is also interesting to see a clear evolution in Django‘s musical style.
While Django would die later that year (shortly after this recording was cut) of a sudden brain hemorrhage, we can see the musical direction he might have gone in had he lived. While the melodic work that characterized his playing is still clearly there, his late embrace of the electric guitar also appears to coincide with his incorporating ideas from bebop. Django had clearly been listening to the new music that was coming out of the United States and decided to change with the times. In particular, you can hear the influence of Charlie Christian in how Django is choosing to attack the guitar: complete with Django‘s repeated use of hammered on triads in direct tribute to Christian‘s hallmark lick. The whole recording date is notable for its ‘bop’ sensibility.
The song then has a dual function: it is not only slightly melancholic in its reflection on the end of summer and the start of the fall, but also as a reflection on how Django‘s musical sensibility had begun to change and how his music might have further evolved.
For more Django Reinhardt, see this song of the day post from earlier this year.