Django-ed Nerves

The poor soul who attempted to teach me guitar at age 40 was a jazz man, a fan of the great Django Reinhardt and the Gypsy-infused, swing guitar style he perfected in France in the '30s and '40s. Maybe my teacher thought that if Reinhardt could overcome adversity — born in a poverty in a Romany caravan, severely burned in a fire as a young man that maimed his left, fret hand — then anyone could learn to play guitar at least a bit. Poor teacher. That sad look on his face as we sat down to listen to me mangle a scale and thud out jangled chords was heartbreaking. Lucky for him he had the recordings Reinhardt left behind, filled with wild, jaunty, cheerful improvisation, to ease the burden of confronting the world's worst music student. Let the ghost of Django lift your own spirits this weekend at the 9th annual Django Reinhardt Festival at Arts Fifth Avenue, 1628 5th Ave., in Fort Worth. The three-day festival begins Friday and features film, French food, lessons and tons of live jazz. Saturday's schedule includes a screening of Swing Guitar at 7 p.m., followed by music from Gypsy Moon at 8 p.m. and The Stray Gypsies at 9 p.m. Single-night tickets are $20 or $45 for all three nights. For a complete list of performances and more info, visit artsfifthavenue.org/events.php or call 817-923-9500.
Fri., Jan. 20, 7 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 22, 6 p.m., 2012

 
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