Joseph "Nin-Nin" Reinhardt (March 1st 1912 - February 7th 1982)
If anyone was born in someone else's shadow it was Joseph Reinhardt.
Brother to Django Reinhardt he selflessly played a rhythm guitarist's role for his more famous brother, even though he was a great guitarist and composer himself.
Joseph could be found accompanying his brother in cafes and in the bal-musette halls on either guitar or banjo and soon progressed to play with Louis Volas's Palm beach Orchestra. By 1933 he was popular and was found playing in various groups playing hot jazz. He even filled in for his brother on several occasions when Django failed to show up.
By 1934 he was a full time guitarist in Le Quintette du Hotclub de France alongside his brother. Other roles including being Django's guitar carrier and spare string keeper, this eventually got the better of him and he decided to quit in 1937. Hot Club Garden - Aimé Barelli, Joseph Reinhardt, Pierre Fouad, Charles Hary, Jerry Mengo, Hubert Rostaing.
After his departure from the Quintette he worked with Aimé Barelli's big band and Alex Combelle's Jazz de Paris and recorded his first solo recordings with various groups, Gus Viseur "Swing 42", Hubert Rostaing "L'oeil Noir", Alex Combelle "If I had You".
In 1943 he formed his own group recording with violinist Claude Laurence (alias Andre Hodeir).
In 1947 he was to be found playing electric guitar with Stéphane Grappelli's Hot Four. Django followed his brother in the same year and started playing electric guitar with less positive results.
Joseph apparently still lived the nomadic existence of his forebears and enjoyed nature at first hand, he showed this love for nature in various paintings of caravan scenes, campfires, horses etc..
After his brothers death in 1953 Joseph laid down the guitar and did not start playing again until 1957, at this point he attempted to finish Django's unfinished Messe Gitane. In 1958 he appeared in the documentary "Django Reinhardt" which led to his appearance in a short film Paris Blues (1961). At this time he formed his own quintette and recorded two LP's
Joseph ReinhardtThe 60's was quite an active period for Joseph, recording with his own string quintet and at the "Blue Jazz Museum" with his regular accompanists of the period, Dingo Adel and Jacques Montagene (Hot Club Records - "Live in Paris 1966"). He appeared at several concerts, performed in various Paris nightclubs occasionally with Babik Reinhardt and even visited the UK, playing and recording with Diz Disley. By the 1970's, however, his public performances had reduced although he did appear at the Samois Festival.
The long, lonely walk home For almost all his post-Hot Club Quintet work, Joseph Reinhardt used a very odd looking guitar that he made himself which, surprisingly, had a nice acoustic tone although it was frequently amplified. His early solo playing was considerably less flamboyant than Django and he subsequently developed a modern jazz style reminiscent of his brother's '47/48 electric work. He was above all else, a lyrical performer capable of producing some quite haunting compositions.
Nin-Nin died on 24th February, 1982 and was buried beside Django at Samois perhaps, thereby, publicly condemned to remain in the shadow of his illustrious brother for eternity or, perhaps, ensured a posthumous recognition that he otherwise could not have expected.