Gypsy Jazz -- or -- Gypsies Playing Jazz



  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 231
    Small-group string jazz has always been a tiny niche in the jazz world, but it has also had an influence disporportionate to its size--think of the Venuti-Lang duets and small-group recordings. Columbia was reissuing the duets thirty years after Lang's death, before reissues of QHCF got common. I've watched all manner of half-forgotten musics get rediscovered, excavated, and emulated, starting with the various rural American traditions that became the Folk Scare and continuing through klezmer, slack key, "celtic," Tex-Mex, shape-note, and even polka (or, as we call it in Minnesota, old-time). Thanks to recordings, it's gotten to be like that closet full of old neckties--if you live long enough, they come back into style. (Some of mine have been stylish twice.)
  • I used to do the same thing, @Buco, but have often found that people are a bit more curious and interested in the word gypsy, and just as often have no idea what swing and popular music from the 20s-50s is all about anyway, unless the audience is older or we're playing a swing dance.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,785
    I just tell them that I invented it (JK). But seriously, it's so niche and old that it's new to many people.
  • VeedonFleeceVeedonFleece London✭✭ Altamira M01D
    Posts: 13
    scot wrote: »
    Mechanics, in the course of their daily work, often talk about a "zero part" - it's that part that is so difficult to reach, it seems that the entire assembly must have been built around it. Django has always been the zero part, the deux ex machina here in this corner of the musical word, and the machine won't work without that zero part.
    That is a gorgeous metaphor, and really well put!

  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    edited January 2015 Posts: 1,383
    Jack wrote:
    I do know that one thing I absolutely love about most 'gypsy jazz' is hearing the natural sound of the the Dark Ages before I discovered Django I really despised most jazz guitar-it just seemed obscene to have three or four instruments with a beautiful acoustic sound (horns, drums, piano) and then add in that phony-baloney electric guitar tone. It just negated any emotional content of the playing for me...

    A 2005 comment that bears repeating! I agree with Jack 110%.

    That's why I love to listen to Django, Eddie Lang and Oscar Aleman, and pretty much any good flamenco player but find myself indifferent to Charlie Christian.

    I won't mention any names, but some of these modern guys are technically superb players, but alas! their guitar sounds like it's coming from the bottom of a well!
    I live in a little tourist town called Niagara-On-The-Lake, Ontario, Canada, which is about twenty miles north of Niagara Falls.

    If you are ever planning on visiting the beautiful Niagara area, feel free to PM me and perhaps we can get together and do some jamming.
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,785
    So hard to play acoustic guitar amplified thru a mic at a volume that will keep up with a band full of horns, drums and piano without getting feedback unless you have a really great room and PA/monitor setup.
  • Bones, it just takes a lot of technical understanding of mic's and notching. In any noisy environment pretty much a super cardioid pattern or a hyper c. Otherwise too much noise coming in the sides. Good ones are not cheap.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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