Biography All Music Guide
All Music Guide:
"If there is an argument for the theory that talent is purely inherited, then Babik Reinhardt should be the greatest living Gypsy jazz player." -- Andy Mackenzie
While many jazz artists have followed in the footsteps of Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt, one inherited his legacy naturally: Babik Reinhardt was Django Reinhardt's second son. "Despite being the second son of Django," noted Mackenzie, "Babik has demonstrated little interest in recreating his father." Born on June 8, 1944, in Paris, the younger Reinhardt learned the basics of guitar from his mother, Naguine Reinhardt, and learned more from uncles and cousins. His father, meanwhile, taught him piano (believing there would be more work for a pianist), though the young musician eventually chose the guitar. Babik Reinhardt was nine when his father died.
Coming of age in a different era than his father, his influences branched beyond acoustic jazz guitar and included electric guitarists like Wes Montgomery and Jimmy Raney. "...Babik prudently developed an electric guitar style that was sufficiently personal and far-removed from that of his father to allow him his own identity and to avoid unwanted comparisons," wrote Mackenzie. He recorded his first album, Swing 67, in the 1960s with the Arvanitis Trio, though writer Fred Sharp expressed the opinion that Reinhardt's skill had not fully developed at this point. Reinhardt would eventual embrace jazz fusion, sometimes relying on no more than his Gibson ES-175 and a backing bass player. He also recorded with other fusion players, including Larry Coryell and Didier Lockwood.
Like his father, Reinhardt was also a composer. "He composed many pieces and his ballads have all the warmth and expression of his father's compositions," wrote Sharp. Babik Reinhardt died of a heart attack on November 13, 2001, in Cannes on the French Riviera. He was 57. "The music and legend of Django Reinhardt has lived on for over 65 years," wrote Sharp. "Babik has surely inherited all the musicality of his father, while not trying to copy him...."