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Django's Comping

JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
edited October 2005 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 1,911
It's a great thing, Django's rhythm work-the tremelos, the stabs, the rolls-and I wonder if we can gather up a short list of tunes that feature some of his best stuff. For this I'm not thinking of the duets he did a la Out of Nowhere, but tunes where he's playing over Joseph or another rhythm guitarist, adding accents and helping to drive the tune. (A basic idea is his backing on the '37 Minor Swing behind Stephane.)

I'd love to see something similar to the Licks & Patterns forum examples, if anyone's interested: some notated examples with reference to particular recordings. For me, this is a big part of the QHCF sound that's often overlooked by more modern amateur players. Any favorites, anyone?

Best,
Jack.

Comments

  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
    The rome sessions 1948-49 where he´s the only guitar player, really feature his rhythm work...amazing.
    There are lot of examples plus another Minor swing :D
  • trumbologytrumbology San FranciscoNew
    Posts: 124
    Great topic, Jack.

    As many astute commentators have noted, all those tremolo swells and chord stabs function like a drummer's press rolls and snare accents, and are one of the ingredients that the QHCF used to keeps the arrangements engaging.

    I think the QHCF's arranging touches don't get enough analysis (maybe that's because the basics like la pompe and gypsy picking are so dang challenging in themselves).

    I don't know who was responsible for the planned arranging aspects (like stop-time breaks), but the tremolos and chord stabs were obviously Django contributing as the mood struck him.

    Take the 1937 Minor Swing. As much as anything, that record never wears out its welcome because the arrangement is as strong as the soloing and the groove.

    And along with the stop-time breaks, slap bass licks, and Django's charming interjections ("yeah man...come on...ahhhh--YEAH!"), are Django's great tremolo swells.

    I think it's at the beginning of Stephane's second solo chorus that Django does these two heavy tremolos that seem to push against the beat--they kind of sound like very musical jackhammers. To me, those bits are as cool as anything he does with single-note lines (the whole thing is perfection--I'm not dissing the single note stuff in the least).

    Those arranging touches, combined with the playing time limitations of 78s, make the QHCF records so often little highly polished masterpieces. Like Ellington's Blanton-Webster recordings from 1940-1941. When all those greats were given the larger canvas of the Lp record, they didn't necessarily surpass their early work.

    Maybe they did, and I just have attention-deficit issues and can't appreciate the longer pieces.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    trumbology wrote:
    I think the QHCF's arranging touches don't get enough analysis (maybe that's because the basics like la pompe and gypsy picking are so dang challenging in themselves).

    Agreed! My beef is that although they don't get enough analysis, people still want to use them ALL the time, thinking 'it's just rhythm guitar' and not making any effort to really get it right, and tight. I've done it myself-Viper's Dream comes embarrassingly to mind-and it can just destroy a tune if it's not done right (though I like to think I know my limitations these days). I suspect Michael's book will cover some of this, so there's hope yet!

    Best,
    Jack.
  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 5,790
    The forthcoming rhythm book will have detailed transcriptions of:

    1) What the rhythm guys played

    2) Django's rhythm playing

    3) Django's comping

    Django's comping stuff was so cool....I wrote a good 30 or 40 pages worth so that will keep you all real busy for a while!

    'm
  • SoulShadeSoulShade NW Ohio, USANew
    Posts: 56
    The forthcoming rhythm book will have detailed transcriptions of:

    1) What the rhythm guys played

    2) Django's rhythm playing

    3) Django's comping

    Django's comping stuff was so cool....I wrote a good 30 or 40 pages worth so that will keep you all real busy for a while!

    'm

    Very much looking forward to that!
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,378
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