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Andrew1953

how long has gypsy jazz been played?

edited June 2010 in History Posts: 20
It would be interesting to know if the gypsy idea of playing jazz exhisted before the beginning of the 20th century or if it has been a part of their culture for a long time.
«13

Comments

  • nwilkinsnwilkins New
    Posts: 431
    It pretty much started with Django. In fact, no cultures were playing jazz before the 20th century since it didn't exist yet :)
  • Ted GottsegenTed Gottsegen Rowayton, CTModerator
    Posts: 615
    Hi George,

    Thanks for the great post and welcome to the first non-Ted History post.
    nwilkins wrote:
    It pretty much started with Django. In fact, no cultures were playing jazz before the 20th century since it didn't exist yet :)

    Yes, Nick is right. I'm with Scot Wise in the belief that even without Django, there would have been gypsies playing jazz in Paris, but before Django, there was none - at least none that we're aware of.

    Best,

    Ted
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,164
    I'm with Scot Wise in the belief that even without Django, there would have been gypsies playing jazz in Paris.....
    Not convinced about that. They would have certainly been playing musette and tzigane influenced music but why do you think they would have be playing jazz? Jazz and gypsies do not naturally seem to fit together even today and in the 20's and 30's, I would have thought it less likely that they would have inevitably gravitated together without Django.

    Let's be honest, most gypsies in most countries do not even play gypsy jazz today.
  • Ted GottsegenTed Gottsegen Rowayton, CTModerator
    Posts: 615
    I'm with Scot Wise in the belief that even without Django, there would have been gypsies playing jazz in Paris.....

    Not convinced about that. They would have certainly been playing musette and tzigane influenced music but why do you think they would have be playing jazz?

    Jazz during this period was popular music and Gypsies have always had a tendency to play the music that way popular of the period in order to make money.

    Musette was not a traditionally Gypsy music, it was popular French music. Why is it that they would have played popular French music, but not another form of popular music, especially when it eclipsed musette in popularity?
    Let's be honest, most gypsies in most countries do not even play gypsy jazz today.

    It's best not to generalize, Teddy. Not everyone in America plays jazz, but a small segment does. Same with Russia, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, etc. Believe it or not, there was actually a small jazz scene in Japan before WW2. A bandleader of mine who plays reeds was telling me when he was in Germany that he happened upon a trio of Serbian Gypsies, a guitarist, violinist and a bass player, and he said "They sound like they'd been listening to Django since they could crawl". Who knows? But this is the first time I've heard of a Serbian Gypsy band playing Gypsy Jazz.
  • BarengeroBarengero Auda CityProdigy
    Posts: 527
    Jazz during this period was popular music and Gypsies have always had a tendency to play the music that way popular of the period in order to make money. [/quote]

    At this point I agree to Ted. I remember a sequence in a film portrait about Schnuckenack Reinhardt. In that film Schnuckenack told that he switched from the violin to the saxophone in the late 30´s only because saxophones became so popular at that time! (The only reason why he switched back to the violin soon was that he was unable to flirt with girls in the audience while playing saxophone because he looked like an idiot with blowed up cheeks).

    In the 40´s he lived in Hungary with his family where they took refuge from the nazis and there they played hungarian music. Of course first of all they played music to get money and so they played what the people wanted to hear.

    Barengero
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,164
    Jazz during this period was popular music and Gypsies have always had a tendency to play the music that way popular of the period in order to make money.
    I certainly agree that gypsies have always played the indigenous folk and popular music of the area in which they were residing and we have discussed this extensively elsewhere. I am less sure how high jazz would have featured on this list even in the 20's and 30's but if you are saying that, regardless of Django, there would probably have been some gypsy somewhere in Paris playing jazz, then I could hardly disagree. However, it would almost certainly have had no long term significance; it didn't anywhere else in the world. There is absolutely no reason to think this interest would have been any more than a transient expediency or short term fad, or that is would have coalesced into something so substantive as to be debated by people like us over 70 years later.

    There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that gypsy jazz started with Django Reinhardt in Paris in the early 30's. He created it virtually from nowhere and there is no question of it being part of a gradually evolving gypsy culture. Matelo Ferret crystallised it perfectly in the quote Scot posted elsewhere on this forum. In fact, even in the 30's and 40's there were probably relatively few gypsies playing the music and it was not until the late 70's, early 80's that it really began to spread through their culture for reasons that Scot again outlined elsewhere.

    We are probably not disagreeing on the fundamentals Ted. It is perhaps question of emphasis.
    It's best not to generalize, Teddy. Not everyone in America plays jazz, but a small segment does. Same with Russia, Germany, Spain, France, Greece, etc. Believe it or not, there was actually a small jazz scene in Japan before WW2. A bandleader of mine who plays reeds was telling me when he was in Germany that he happened upon a trio of Serbian Gypsies, a guitarist, violinist and a bass player, and he said "They sound like they'd been listening to Django since they could crawl". Who knows? But this is the first time I've heard of a Serbian Gypsy band playing Gypsy Jazz.
    Yes but these are probably more an exception than the rule. I doubt whether most gypsies in the UK have heard of Django Reinhardt or gypsy jazz anymore than the rest of the population.
  • kimmokimmo Helsinki, Finland✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 158
    There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that gypsy jazz started with Django Reinhardt in Paris in the early 30's. He created it virtually from nowhere and there is no question of it being part of a gradually evolving gypsy culture. Matelo Ferret crystallised it perfectly in the quote Scot posted elsewhere on this forum. In fact, even in the 30's and 40's there were probably relatively few gypsies playing the music and it was not until the late 70's, early 80's that it really began to spread through their culture for reasons that Scot again outlined elsewhere.

    The most popular accordionists transformed their repertoire from java and mazurka to swing (Viseur, Murena etc.) in the thirties, and they employed mostly Gypsy guitarists in their bands (Joseph Reinhardt, Ferrets…), which would quite sure have happened even if Django wouldn’t have existed – after all, they were the most capable dance musicians around. Whether it would have evolved into the distinctive, internationally interesting music form that still continues to live and evolve, is of course far more questionable, I agree with you there.
    I doubt whether most gypsies in the UK have heard of Django Reinhardt or gypsy jazz anymore than the rest of the population.

    To my limited experience the Gypsies in Finland are generally not interested in jazz at all. Few of them know who Django was, but surprisingly many of them seem to be familiar with The Rosenberg Trio. Perhaps present is more important than the past?

    kimmo
  • Ted GottsegenTed Gottsegen Rowayton, CTModerator
    Posts: 615
    Jazz during this period was popular music and Gypsies have always had a tendency to play the music that way popular of the period in order to make money.

    I certainly agree that gypsies have always played the indigenous folk and popular music of the area in which they were residing and we have discussed this extensively elsewhere. I am less sure how high jazz would have featured on this list even in the 20's and 30's but if you are saying that, regardless of Django, there would probably have been some gypsy somewhere in Paris playing jazz, then I could hardly disagree.

    Teddy, you wouldn't be trying to snooker your old pal, would you? I'm could be mistaken...but I do believe that that is exactly what we discussed...no more, no less. The statement that I wrote "There would have been gypsies playing jazz even without Django" bears witness to this, right?
    However, it would almost certainly have had no long term significance; it didn't anywhere else in the world.

    Let me play Devil's Advocate for a minute. It didn't anywhere else in the world? There are more brass bands (i.e. dixieland) in Holland and Germany than just about any place else.
    There is absolutely no reason to think this interest would have been any more than a transient expediency or short term fad, or that is would have coalesced into something so substantive as to be debated by people like us over 70 years later.

    Probably not. But the idea that Django's impact was still being felt in a jazz context from the 1950's - 1970's is certainly questionable. I spent lat night looking through my vinyl collection - Bousquet, Tchan-Tchou, Les Manouches (Mondine & Ninine), Maurice Ferret, Matelo, Sarane, and on and on. This is all post Django and most of the content is actually little jazz. There is the obligatory "Minor Swing", "Les Yeux Noirs" and "Nuages" - maybe a "Melancholy Baby", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" - that's it. I wouldn't consider this jazz per se, nor would I consinder a lot of what was recorded post Django as 100% jazz. In many cases, were it not for Django's compositions being covered, and the copious number of records titled "Hommage a Django", Django wasn't much of a factor. Yes, the use of the Selmer (or variant) guitar is there, in some cases there is use of rest stroke picking, but overall, the influence is pretty shallow.
    There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that gypsy jazz started with Django Reinhardt in Paris in the early 30's. He created it virtually from nowhere and there is no question of it being part of a gradually evolving gypsy culture. Matelo Ferret crystallised it perfectly in the quote Scot posted elsewhere on this forum.

    <sigh> You're preaching to the choir here. No one is disputing this and no one has. Gypsy Jazz did start with Django, but it's in the Gypsies own way to assimilate into the times in which they are in in order to get work. Therefore - jazz would've been part of this, especially in the '30's and '40's. Would it have as much of an indelible stamp as with Django, probably not because Django was a hero to both the French and the Manouche, in addition to being a superstar.
    In fact, even in the 30's and 40's there were probably relatively few gypsies playing the music and it was not until the late 70's, early 80's that it really began to spread through their culture for reasons that Scot again outlined elsewhere.

    Relatively few compared to what? Just because there isn't a lot of recorded evidence, doesn't mean it didn't exist.

    Teddy, you keep quoting Scot in every other paragraph, yet Scot and I are the ones who posed this very idea.... :?:
    Yes but these are probably more an exception than the rule. I doubt whether most gypsies in the UK have heard of Django Reinhardt or gypsy jazz anymore than the rest of the population.

    OK.....and that has what to do with anything? There has never been an actual UK Gypsy Jazz presence, right? So that seems accurate. This music has always been France based, and extended from there. It touched the Dutch and the Germans and I and others have pointed out in previous posts, eastern Europe as well.
    We are probably not disagreeing on the fundamentals Ted. It is perhaps question of emphasis.

    Actually, I don't think we're disagreeing on anything, but like Stu I guess you like to infer something different than whats actually written and start up the debate, which is good because it gets too boring. But if you'd just read what I originally wrote and try to infer meaning from it and read your response, they say the same thing!
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,164
    kimmo wrote:
    The most popular accordionists transformed their repertoire from java and mazurka to swing (Viseur, Murena etc.) in the thirties, and they employed mostly Gypsy guitarists in their bands (Joseph Reinhardt, Ferrets…), which would quite sure have happened even if Django wouldn’t have existed – after all, they were the most capable dance musicians around.
    That is certainly possible. It is also possible that their desire to employ gypsy musicians was influenced by the activities of Django and I am doubtful whether "normal" jazz fans would consider Viseur, Murena & Co to be jazz musicians.
    Teddy, you wouldn't be trying to snooker your old pal, would you?
    :shock: :shock:
    The statement that I wrote "There would have been gypsies playing jazz even without Django" bears witness to this, right?
    Perhaps I interpreted a fatalism about this statement that was not intended as if jazz and gypsies would have inevitably come together in a significant way without Django and that I do not believe.
    However, it would almost certainly have had no long term significance; it didn't anywhere else in the world.

    Let me play Devil's Advocate for a minute. It didn't anywhere else in the world? There are more brass bands (i.e. dixieland) in Holland and Germany than just about any place else.
    I was referring specifically to gypsies here not people generally.
    But the idea that Django's impact was still being felt in a jazz context from the 1950's - 1970's is certainly questionable. I spent lat night looking through my vinyl collection - Bousquet, Tchan-Tchou, Les Manouches (Mondine & Ninine), Maurice Ferret, Matelo, Sarane, and on and on. This is all post Django and most of the content is actually little jazz. There is the obligatory "Minor Swing", "Les Yeux Noirs" and "Nuages" - maybe a "Melancholy Baby", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" - that's it. I wouldn't consider this jazz per se, nor would I consinder a lot of what was recorded post Django as 100% jazz. In many cases, were it not for Django's compositions being covered, and the copious number of records titled "Hommage a Django", Django wasn't much of a factor. Yes, the use of the Selmer (or variant) guitar is there, in some cases there is use of rest stroke picking, but overall, the influence is pretty shallow.
    Whilst accepting that much of this music is only jazz influenced, you are surely not suggesting that these musicians would have played the way they did without Django?
    In fact, even in the 30's and 40's there were probably relatively few gypsies playing the music and it was not until the late 70's, early 80's that it really began to spread through their culture for reasons that Scot again outlined elsewhere.

    Relatively few compared to what? Just because there isn't a lot of recorded evidence, doesn't mean it didn't exist.
    Not too sure about this logic. It's a bit like Dan Brown's assertion in the "Da Vinci Code" that since you cannot definitively prove the Holy Grail does not exist, there is a strong possibility that it does.
    Yes but these are probably more an exception than the rule. I doubt whether most gypsies in the UK have heard of Django Reinhardt or gypsy jazz anymore than the rest of the population.

    OK.....and that has what to do with anything?
    Only that I do not believe there is any natural synergy between gypsies and jazz. There was not in the 30's and there is not today. As I said earlier, perhaps I read too much into your statement "There would have been gypsies playing jazz even without Django" as if that would have been of anything more than a passing, quickly forgotten phase.

    I am in no way trying to detract from the contribution gypsies have made to this music or how they have "popularised" it over the last couple of decades. It is simply my personal conviction that this music exists solely because of one man and not because of any particular culture. Without him, I do not believe there would be any tangible relationship between jazz or even jazz influenced music and gypsies.
    Actually, I don't think we're disagreeing on anything, but like Stu I guess you like to infer something different than whats actually written and start up the debate,.....
    I am deeply wounded by this assertion.
  • stublastubla Prodigy Godefroy Maruejouls
    Posts: 386
    Jazz during this period was popular music and Gypsies have always had a tendency to play the music that way popular of the period in order to make money.

    I certainly agree that gypsies have always played the indigenous folk and popular music of the area in which they were residing and we have discussed this extensively elsewhere. I am less sure how high jazz would have featured on this list even in the 20's and 30's but if you are saying that, regardless of Django, there would probably have been some gypsy somewhere in Paris playing jazz, then I could hardly disagree.

    Teddy, you wouldn't be trying to snooker your old pal, would you? I'm could be mistaken...but I do believe that that is exactly what we discussed...no more, no less. The statement that I wrote "There would have been gypsies playing jazz even without Django" bears witness to this, right?
    However, it would almost certainly have had no long term significance; it didn't anywhere else in the world.

    Let me play Devil's Advocate for a minute. It didn't anywhere else in the world? There are more brass bands (i.e. dixieland) in Holland and Germany than just about any place else.
    There is absolutely no reason to think this interest would have been any more than a transient expediency or short term fad, or that is would have coalesced into something so substantive as to be debated by people like us over 70 years later.

    Probably not. But the idea that Django's impact was still being felt in a jazz context from the 1950's - 1970's is certainly questionable. I spent lat night looking through my vinyl collection - Bousquet, Tchan-Tchou, Les Manouches (Mondine & Ninine), Maurice Ferret, Matelo, Sarane, and on and on. This is all post Django and most of the content is actually little jazz. There is the obligatory "Minor Swing", "Les Yeux Noirs" and "Nuages" - maybe a "Melancholy Baby", "I Can't Give You Anything But Love" - that's it. I wouldn't consider this jazz per se, nor would I consinder a lot of what was recorded post Django as 100% jazz. In many cases, were it not for Django's compositions being covered, and the copious number of records titled "Hommage a Django", Django wasn't much of a factor. Yes, the use of the Selmer (or variant) guitar is there, in some cases there is use of rest stroke picking, but overall, the influence is pretty shallow.
    There is absolutely no doubt whatsoever that gypsy jazz started with Django Reinhardt in Paris in the early 30's. He created it virtually from nowhere and there is no question of it being part of a gradually evolving gypsy culture. Matelo Ferret crystallised it perfectly in the quote Scot posted elsewhere on this forum.

    <sigh> You're preaching to the choir here. No one is disputing this and no one has. Gypsy Jazz did start with Django, but it's in the Gypsies own way to assimilate into the times in which they are in in order to get work. Therefore - jazz would've been part of this, especially in the '30's and '40's. Would it have as much of an indelible stamp as with Django, probably not because Django was a hero to both the French and the Manouche, in addition to being a superstar.
    In fact, even in the 30's and 40's there were probably relatively few gypsies playing the music and it was not until the late 70's, early 80's that it really began to spread through their culture for reasons that Scot again outlined elsewhere.

    Relatively few compared to what? Just because there isn't a lot of recorded evidence, doesn't mean it didn't exist.

    Teddy, you keep quoting Scot in every other paragraph, yet Scot and I are the ones who posed this very idea.... :?:
    Yes but these are probably more an exception than the rule. I doubt whether most gypsies in the UK have heard of Django Reinhardt or gypsy jazz anymore than the rest of the population.

    OK.....and that has what to do with anything? There has never been an actual UK Gypsy Jazz presence, right? So that seems accurate. This music has always been France based, and extended from there. It touched the Dutch and the Germans and I and others have pointed out in previous posts, eastern Europe as well.
    We are probably not disagreeing on the fundamentals Ted. It is perhaps question of emphasis.

    Actually, I don't think we're disagreeing on anything, but like Stu I guess you like to infer something different than whats actually written and start up the debate, which is good because it gets too





    Yes Ted
    "Devils advocate" is my middle name(s)
    Sometimes i use the old 'dialectic' to challenge my OWN opinions!
    You seem like a more than good enough foil--as is Teddy--as is Scot! :-)
    Kind regards fellow addicts
    Stu
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