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Gypsy Waltz Songs for Jams

geese_comgeese_com Madison, WINew Martin Tremblay Grand Modèle Busato
in Repertoire Posts: 163
Does anyone have suggestions for a not too difficult waltz (e.g Montagne Ste-Genevieve is pretty difficult) that can played at a gypsy jam?

One of the regular upright bass players who shows up asks if anyone knows any waltzes and nobody does. I think it would be fun to play a waltz at the gypsy jam sometime.



  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    edited March 2018 Posts: 1,034
    Calling waltzes at a Djam is somewhat a faux pas. They're usually long, not very fun to improv over, and might be just an excuse for the guy who learned the melody to show off all his technique -- kind of a jam killer!

    But since it's your bass player who called it, maybe that's not the case here. Take a look at "La Foule", easy to play and instantly recognizable. Also "Dolores" is kinda like a waltz version of Django's tiger, it has a catchy melody and not too hard.

    It's also pretty fun to try and take a swing tune you all know and get it into 3/4 time, seeing how you can rephrase the head to make it work. Well, I'd rather jam on a waltz than a "gypsy bossa", at the very least!
  • BonesBones Moderator
    Posts: 2,758
    La Partita? Jitterbug waltz?
  • nicksansonenicksansone Amsterdam, The Netherlands✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 244
    Here's a simple waltz :

    I certainly agree with Wim as it's not really fun when somebody calls "La Gitane" so they can have 5 guitars play rhythm for them. Also double agree about the disaster that is the "gypsy bossa" , fake bossa, or real rumba.
  • Posts: 2,513
    While I like Gypsy bossa tunes, I agree with Wim that they're not the best choice for jams, along and especially with waltzes.

    Under the Paris Skies (not really a Gypsy waltz but it's a waltz and often found in the GJ repertoire) is one I can think of that's easy melody and a nice form to improvise over. Feel free to skip the major section...
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • klaatuklaatu Nova ScotiaProdigy Rodrigo Shopis D'Artagnan, 1950s Jacques Castelluccia
    Posts: 1,646
    I would echo Wim's suggestion of La Foule. Great tune and not hard to play. Try Valse des niglos.

    Also take a look at songs that are not strictly gypsy waltzes. Charmaine is a lovely tune, as is Lara's Theme from Dr. Zhivago, and Anniversary Song played as a waltz (as originally sung) is another.

    "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
  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Altamira M10
    Posts: 112
    Wim Glenn wrote: »
    It's also pretty fun to try and take a swing tune you all know and get it into 3/4 time, seeing how you can rephrase the head to make it work.

    I have no experience doing this at a jam but Anniversary Song was originally a waltz (Flots du Danube) so would probably be a tune everyone knows, has jammed over, and could be worth a try putting it back into 3/4. You can listen to some of the waltz versions to see how the melody fits.
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,034
    Yes, anniversary song good call. Is dark eyes originally in 3 as well, or am I imagining that?
    There's a south american one (Venezuelan?) called "La Partida" that's popular and works well. Samy Daussat went through it a bit in his classes at DIJ.
    And if you've got an accordion player in the jam, be sure to throw them a few waltzes :)
    Andrew Ulle
  • JonJon melbourne, australiaProdigy Dupont MD50B, '79 Favino
    edited March 2018 Posts: 384
    Autumn Leaves as a waltz brings that tune back from the sad graveyard of great tragic European songs neutered by insensitive, showy anglophone crooning (Mack the Knife, Que Reste-t-il, and others). Learn the verse too - it's almost better than the song.

    Agreed on the more formal waltzes being jam-killers - which is unfortunate, because it means they're not played much, and people don't bother learning them - or they don't stick. The shorter, more tuneful ones - Chez Jacquet, Delores, Ma Theo/La Minch etc - can work nicely at jams if played maybe twice through, with 2 different soloists each presenting their take on the tune.
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 714
    What about "someday My Prince Will Come?
  • Posts: 2,513
    Dark Eyes is definitely a 3/4 song originally.
    We used to play Nuages in 3/4 as well, was fun.
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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