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jmkoel VictorNarraway

[Controversial] Why is there not any great US guitarists?



  • Lets not take ourselves too one else in the music world does :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

    Seriously though I see a big increase in fan and musician interest in our chosen passion in my local area. There are some pretty fine players here and for the second year running there was a sold out one evening Django Festival. :D
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,775
    Jazzaferri wrote:
    Lets not take ourselves too one else in the music world does

    Seriously!!!! I think you hit the nail on the head (at least in my neck of the woods). I bet if you asked all the ASPIRING guitarists (i.e. beginning or novice) in the states over 90% of them would not even know who Django is.

    Conversely, I bet every aspiring guitarist in the gypsy community in Europe knows.

    I think it's mostly cultural, and what passes for 'culture' in the states these days is pretty pathetic. Even mainstream jazz gets little play here. Kind of funny since jazz and blues were born here.

    Thankfully, GJ is still alive here and (hopefully) will spread (along with classic jazz and bebop).
  • rimmrimm Ireland✭✭✭✭ Paul doyle D hole, washburn washington
    Posts: 605
    I'm posting on this as it appears to be the in thing to do. Lets all just take it as read that all Gods children have a place in the choir :D
    I got a fever and the only prescription is more cowbell
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,249
    jkaz wrote:
    There are a number of really really good younger players ........ and that is outside of the guys who have been doing it for awhile....... I can't name them all.

    What he said...

    We got 'em growing on trees over here, brother - and the international guys come over too - and they are indeed amazing players, and they're also some of the nicest people I've ever met. You owe it to yourself to come experience this. Every year I fear that the scene will grow so large that it will become impersonal. Yet, somehow every year it's a little bigger, but... still amazing...

    Red - bottom line, stop pondering the mysteries of the universe and get your backside on a plane and come check out the local flavor ;-)

    Django in June and Djangofest are the biggest festivals and they last the longest and have the most acts so if you're coming over just for the festival - start there to get the most bang for your buck on that expensive plane ticket. But if you're already on vacation here, there are many smaller festivals that run for one or two days.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    edited March 2013 Posts: 386
    I think there are some good players of GJ in the U.S(Rick Olivarez who i met at Samoreau last year springs to mind) but its weird that so few American players really really GET this Music.Why?... i suspect its because the nation that invented Jazz and produced its greatest Geniuses finds it difficult to accept that there is 'another way'.
    Lets face it mention Jazz to 99% of non musicians anywhere and they immediately think Saxophone or Trumpet.Way down on the list is jazz Guitar.And way further down the list is acoustic jazz guitar.For most U.S listeners acoustic guitar means Bluegrass or Blues or 'Singer/Songwriter'.I think its the sound of GJ that alienates U.S Jazz fans.Wasn't it Jimmy Raney who, when asked about his thoughts on Django replied ''Django?...thats Mandolin''
    Really almost the WHOLE American Jazz Guitar tradition has been based on trying to sound/play like Horn players-- i remember Tal Farlow saying in an interview that in the 40's and 50's the use of open strings and 'guitaristic' effects were considered off bounds because they were not Horn based.And here is the most important point--the fact is Django ADORED the guitar as an instrument.Though he clearly loved Parker and, in particular Dizzy, what really inspired Django (and you can hear it in every note) was his love for the acoustic guitar.
    The acoustic guitar is unrivalled in terms of tone colour(just listen to Julian Bream!)-- so isn't it weird that almost the entire American Jazz guitar tradition (with a few exceptions-George Barnes,early Pass,Wes) has made a point of avoiding make it sound like a guitar....It still holds true today--players like Rosenwinkel and Monder still neglect the tonal possibilites of the instrument.And in the UK Holdsworth is exactly the same.The thing about Django,and hence GJ is that Django ADORED the acoustic guitar.Even when he went electric he may have 'edited' out some of the more physical/acoustic elements of his playing,but the fact is Django loved the guitar for its infinite subtleties.So how strange it is that,with a few important exceptions. the american jazz guitar tradition doesn't.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,775
    Stu, that is a really good point. I remember when I was first starting to get interested in jazz guitar (started with blues) and a lot of people said to listen to horn players (which is fine) but I never heard anyone say listen to Django, Charlie Christian, etc. Strange. I pretty much found Django on my own by searching out classic jazz recordings. And of course, playing in a combo with drums, horns, piano, it's pretty hard to amplify an acoustic loud enough to be heard without feedback if the band is playing loud.
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    Its funny but at the moment there is a real bias in this music for electric over acoustic guitar--particularly with the hippest French guys.
    One of the most noticeable French nationalist characteristics since the late 50's,and despite their famed patriotism,is a tendency to overvalue American popular culture,including Modern Jazz.Its a tendency also apparent in the new school of French GJ players--gypsy and non gypsy.
    I love Django 1947 at least as much as anyone.But Django was Django--he made anything work whatever guitar he played, electrified or not.But honestly nothing on Earth moves me as much as hearing Django on an acoustic Selmer.And really, what is the point of spending $3000 on a superb bespoke Selmer style guitar only to stick an expensive pickup on it to make it sound like a Gibson Es175?
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 560
    Stu, your point brings up an interesting aside - I think if you talk to most US born players, who already played guitar, who got interested in Gypsy Jazz later on (which is a lot of us), they will tell you they have spent most of their days playing ROCK. in other words, very few Jazz guitarist seem to gravitate over to Django. In fact, I've heard that many in the US jazz scene are firmly bop, and don't necessarily even respect gypsy Jazz in it's current form.
    Of course, bop jazz requires a very light touch both on rhythm and lead, so perhaps if you're inclined towards bop jazz, you don't like the passionate aggressive nature of Gypsy jazz. Or they think it's too melodic, and not out there enough...

    okay, now I'm rambling...

    cheers !
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,775
    Stu, I can only speak for myself but soloing on an electric is WAY easier so possibly that is why so many people chose to go that way, not wanting to make the effort to develop a strong acoustic technique. Also, comping for modern jazz is also way easier when you have bass, drums and piano behind you you can just do little chord splashes on the top 4 strings once in a while, don't have to pump out the rhythm the whole time.

    Acoustic is just way more physical.

    Not do dis the electric players who are very good, I just prefer the acoustic sound.
  • Posts: 2,570
    Never mind the question that started this whole thing, silly really, but never the less it prompted some very thoughtful responses that were a pleasure to read for me.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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