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Getting more popular

kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
edited November 2013 in Welcome Posts: 392
Is it just me, or my area or has gypsy jazz grown in popularity a good deal in the last couple of years. I know all through out the 2000's there has been a slow growth especially in film music, but it seems to have especially popped the last couple years.
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  • Posts: 2,481
    I asked the same question a few years back. It certainly has but it's still very much a niche genre. For a while I was hearing GJ all over the place; movies, TV, coffee shops, even a shopping mall.
    But for example if someone outside of GJ circles sees my guitar, most of the time they'll comment about how cool and unusual looking it is, they don't automatically associate it with Django or gypsy jazz.
    I was pretty happy though to see all the young guys at this year's DIJ.
    My wife once said "if it weren't for you I probably would've never found out about this beautiful music".
    So I think it's mostly musicians who are at the same time consumers of this music. But I speak of the US scene, looks like it's little different in Europe where you see the top guys filling up big concert halls.
    As to why is that the case, that's another topic but certainly isn't for the lack of taste in the US audience.

    Buco
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 392
    Definitely my experience has been people hate jazz (a broad statement but a viscerol emotional hate towards the genre is pretty common), love gypsy jazz, but don't know enough to identify that it is gypsy jazz that they like or even realize it is a sub-genre of jazz. I think if more people made the connection that it is Gypsy Jazz they are hearing in all these movies they love it would help pull bigger audiences to shows.

    Honestly I think the more GJ artists are willing to accept a great front vocalist the more the style will reach a broader audience. Even when we have big name artists play with us honestly I think more people are at our shows to hear Laura Gerhard than anything else, but then they discover the great gypsy jazz guitarists as well and everyone wins!
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,645
    Definitely my experience has been people hate jazz
    Unfortunately true. Most people associate "jazz" with something very complex and cerebral, and to appreciate it you need a university degree in it. They don't realize how broad the term is and how many styles it encompasses, some of them very accessible to the average listener. As we like to tell our fans, jazz was once THE popular entertainment, and it only lost its audience in the late 40s when the musicians started playing for each other rather than the audience. IMHO.
    Honestly I think the more GJ artists are willing to accept a great front vocalist the more the style will reach a broader audience.
    We've certainly found that to be true. My band is fronted by a wonderful "swing diva" who really engages the audience, and that gives us the leeway to play gypsy jazz at them. We would not get half the gigs we do without her nor reach anywhere near the number of people. After all, Django himself performed and recorded with many great vocalists, like Jean Sablon and Beryl Davis.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • Michael BauerMichael Bauer Chicago, ILProdigy Selmers, Busatos and more…oh my!
    Posts: 1,002
    In Chicago, we have a number of bands, who will remain unnamed, who label themselves as "gypsy jazz", but don't really play it. The band that opened for us last night was like that. They played maybe on or two quasi-swing tunes, with nothing approximating gypsy rhythm from any era on an electric and a flat-top. The jazz they played was fine, but nothing at all in the gypsy vein. I know several other bands in town who are similar. It seems some are cashing in on the genre without really playing it. I think that's bad for everyone, because unknowing audiences get a false sense of what this music is. Of course, there's nothing anyone can do about it, but it does suggest that the name "gypsy jazz" has a cachet that makes it trendy and profitable to use right now.
    I've never been a guitar player, but I've played one on stage.
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,645
    The comment we often get is "Is this really jazz? Because we don't like jazz, but we like this!"

    BTW, it's probably way cheaper to buy Argentines in bulk from Michael than to buy locally. The cheapest I've found them around here is $19 a set (taxes in). Buy a five-pack from Michael and even with shipping you're probably looking at less than $10 a set.
    Benny

    "It's a great feeling to be dealing with material which is better than yourself, that you know you can never live up to."
    -- Orson Welles
  • noodlenotnoodlenot ✭✭✭
    Posts: 388
    i feel that recently there´s somehow a stronger presence of gypsy jazz (or gypsy jazz-esque? maybe you could throw in some musette too...) music in your average muzzak settings, which is fine with me. very fine indeed. you´ll hear it quite frequently as back-track to TV ads, super market music, etc.

    i wonder why this is so? cheap to get the rights for it? appeal to a broad audience? some unobtrusive but still likeable, foot tapping quality to it?
  • I have certainly noticed a number of new players in our market area.

    They oftendont have the basics or the history...so I am thinking that there is some other coolness factor ...perhaps JR or ???

    I don't think the number of locals who can play La Pompe is much different than it was 5 years ago.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Posts: 2,481
    stuart wrote:
    I thought of some more factors that might explain a rise in popularity in the genre:

    -- increasing availaibility of cheap but high quality gypsy jazz guitars thanks to Saga and Alta Mira
    -- the Jimmy Rosenberg effect. I am meeting more and more younger players who came to the genre through Jimmy rather than Django
    -- an increasing number of jams fuelled by the internet and festivals (but there are still too many players who never get to jam with anyone)
    -- the quality and availaibility of internet-based tuition e.g. Rosenberg Academy, Robin Nolan's Gypsy Fastrack, Denis Chang's Art of Accompaniment etc.
    -- internet forums like this and facebook groups which enable budding players to interact directly with top players
    -- djangobooks, which has probably educated more people than it has sold guitars to about what gypsy jazz is and how it should be played
    -- the number of books now available both in music shops (Mel Bay's Romane book, the Angelo Debarre book, Stephane's book etc.) and through internet sales (Michael, Robin etc.)

    etc.

    Above are all valid but they only apply to musicians.

    Like I mentioned earlier this rise in popularity is really mostly a rise in musicians wanting to study and perform in this style, musicians who are at the same time it's audience.
    When I go to the Green Mill (jazz club in Chicago) on Wednesdays to watch Alfonso Ponticelli the crowd consists of musicians plus their friends and family and a few jazz aficionados who are Green Mill regulars. When it fills up to the capacity it usually means there was a rock show (or something similar) that just ended at Riviera or Aragon (both music venues) and people are stopping by for a drink in this cool and historical jazz spot.

    Even a mainstream jazz is a niche let alone a gypsy jazz.
    But at least jazz as a term is mainstream, gypsy jazz didn't even get that far.
    However as some had said, it is much more palatable to an average listener who doesn't get jazz at all, and therein lies an opportunity for more gigs at least, that's how we got last few gigs.

    The only way I could see gypsy jazz entering a mainstream conscience is if someone comes out with kind of a mash up between a popular mainstream genre and gypsy jazz and it becomes a global hit.
    'Til then be ready to answer a lot of questions every time you play out.

    Buco
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 392
    I've been doing the Pink Martini Polystylism thing with my group and it has done quite well regionally. But still I think the key isn't even that I've got a lot of styles in there, it is I have 2 great vocalists and people respond to vocals more than anything else.
  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 392
    That should be great vocalists who sing UNAFFECTED. The same thing with jazz people have a pretty visceral reaction against that jazz affected way of singing. One of my singers sings with a very pure tone and the other is Swiss-French so she sings like Edith Piaf. I've heard a few gypsy jazz acts add a vocalist but they add a jazz vocalist who sings in that "jazz" way which people REALLY don't like (including me).
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