And we’re back with another popular figure in my “Famous Belgians” series. In announcing the name of our recently released Django Hop Bier to customers in the taproom, a number of people have replied “Like Django Unchained?” In fact, what we are getting at is Django Reinhardt, the highly influential Belgian born gypsy jazz guitarist.
Jean “Django” Reinhardt (1910-1953) is known as one of the greatest guitarists of all time and a contributor to the evolution of the genre. He was the son of a travelling entertainer and grew up in a gypsy settlement near Paris.
In 1928, Reinhardt badly burned and paralyzed his ring finger and fifth finger in a fire, which forced him to learn how to solo on his guitar with only his index and middle finger. The technique later became dubbed the “hot” jazz guitar method and has become tradition with French gypsy culture. He worked in Paris cafés with the singer Jean Sablon, and in 1934, he was a founding member, with Stephane Grappelli, of the ensemble that became known as the Quintette du Hot Club de France.
The years prior to World War II the group gained in popularity and reputation and released numerous recordings of great originality, including such standards as “Djangology”, Minor Swing“, “Swing ’42”, “Nuages,” among others. He travelled the world as a celebrity and plugged in his guitar for the first time soloing with Duke Ellington’s band in New York. Reinhardt seamlessly adapted to the electric guitar, and his style continued to flourish.
Django Reinhardt was a gifted composer and played with a flair, sensitivity and variety that have forever cemented his place as one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time. Fittingly, it’s the name of our newest beer as well, so you can get a bit of swing in your step right out of the glass.
And our passion for music and beer doesn’t stop with our Django Hop Bier. In an effort to bring music into our corner of the world, we’re beginning a new music series at the taproom, called Boom Room Jazz. Every last Saturday of the month, we’ll host a free jazz concert right in the taproom, with music beginning at 7pm. There is no need to wear a striped shirt or don a beret to enjoy these concerts; they are a celebration of great jazz music and Belgian-style beer. All concerts will be free; there is no cover to enjoy the Boom Room Jazz series. Local jazz musicians will rotate for each performance and will be announced by the brewery prior to each concert. To top it off, each concert will feature an exclusive taproom-only Boom Island beer during the performance.
At Boom Island, you’re guaranteed to find a bit of jazz somewhere, whether it’s in your glass or perhaps floating through the air. We hope you’ll join us as we bring music & beer together with the Boom Room Jazz series!