Some people believe this new musical direction taken by Raphael Fays would lead him away from Django’s music to the point of putting him out of the running for the title of “first heir to”. Such thoughts indicate incomplete knowledge both of Django Reinhardt’s musical universe and of Raphael Fays’ personality. He was not running any race or applying for any post; all he wanted was to be recognised as a man who served the cause of acoustic guitar with passion and constancy. He avoided anything that would shut his playing into a single category, and always summed up his artistic itinerary as that of an eternal pilgrim devoted to a cause. As for Django Reinhardt, his fascination for and interest in classical composers whose works he either played or adapted (in a manner of speaking), e.g. Bach, Debussy, Grieg, Tchaikovsky, together with his attraction for Spain (Cf. his improvisation ‘Echoes of Spain’ of June 1939) are all too easily forgotten. So when Raphael Fays gave the impression of moving away from Django in formal terms, everything was, in fact, leading him back to his original passion, simply making him a true brother of the Master in spirit as well as to the letter.
The fact that he didn’t devote himself exclusively to Django-type jazz nor fall into the trap of following passing trends and styles dictated by fashion decade after decade, is precisely what has given Raphael Fays’ art its timeless, universal quality. On the edge of all the different milieus, without the restrictions of any hostile contractual obligations, and with a wealth of varied experience behind him, Raphael Fays is now an accomplished artist who is free. Each time he appears, all his concerts, are moments of rare intensity to be savoured for their intrinsic and lasting value.