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Review of Unaccompanied Django

Django Montreal Web Site – October 2003 – by Archtop Eddy

Those of you who’ve seen Gypsy Picking know how important his first book was to Gypsy jazz. It brought a new level of understanding to the right-hand picking technique.

His next book allows you to take these skills and apply them to unaccompanied pieces by Django as well as contemporary players like Stochelo, Angelo, Boulou, Fapy, and Bireli.

Working on soloing skills is a noble and satisfying undertaking. But, in my mind, studying unaccompanied pieces provides a different and possibly greater satisfaction — especially, if you are a lone player in your neighborhood.

Being able to pull off a Django piece by yourself allows you to dictate the emotional content and expression in a way independent of other’s influences. And there’s nothing like sitting on a deck or walking into a music store and being able to play a whole Django piece by yourself!

The pieces Michael’s picked provide you with more than this, however. They offer you an insight into Django’s head, helping you to form the vocabulary of his music and the mental blueprints he used to develop his Gypsy jazz soloing style.

There are 21 songs in the book. Enough material to keep most of us studying for a long time to come.

This book is the book that Michael worked on for years. Every piece has been carefully noted and tabbed. He has carefully identifed the proper Gypsy fingering patterns and pick strokes, something often missing with other tabs. The very process of memorizing these pieces brings insight and those “AH HA!” smiling moments of understanding.

Think of the first book Gypsy Picking as an “introduction” to the skills you need to appreciate the rest of your studies–much as RA Wilson’s Mask of the Illuminanti prepped you for the great Illuminantus trilogy, or Tolkien’s Hobbit opened the way to the Lord of the Rings. Think of Horowitz’ Unaccompanied Django as the beginning of your Gypsy jazz journey.

Review: Gypsy Picking (Just Jazz Guitar )

Just Jazz Guitar – November 2003 – By Ted Gottsegen

While many books have taught the arrangements and chord changes of Reinhardt oriented tunes, none have attacked the correct manner in which the style is traditionally played. Gypsy Picking is the first such method and is required study by those who take their Jazz Manouche seriously and wish to obtain a correct, legitimate sound. The photographic examples depicting correct posture, the way to hold the instrument, hand and plectrum placement introduce the student to the fundamentals of obtaining a correct tone and the picking exercises are the keys which unlock the door to the unique sound and style of this genre of jazz. The picking exercises – focuses on the correct methods for picking upstrokes, sweep strokes, alternate picking patterns, triplets, horizontal and chromatic arpeggios and double bass triplet runs as played by the Gypsies are just a few of the studies contained herein. Horowitz’ method of teaching, aimed at players of all skill levels, exhibits the quality one would expect from a musician with a BA from Berkley while his lessons reflect his hands-on study with some of Holland’s finest young Gypsy talent. The best thing is that the lessons in this book are easily transferable to other methods out there. Highly Recommended.

Review: Gypsy Picking (The Quarter Note – Dusty Strings Newsletter)

The Quarter Note – Dusty Strings Newsletter – Summer 2003 – by Erling Rockwell

How many times have you tried to execute that new hot guitar lick you just learned only to find that your picking hand was too slow to keep up with your fretting hand? I think most guitarists will agree that obtaining an efficient picking technique is undoubtedly one of the most difficult hurdles for guitar students of any style. Michael Horowitz’s new book Gypsy Picking is unique in that it offers a systematic approach to deal with this under discussed topic of guitar technique. In this 64 page book, Horowitz, a member of Seattle-based Gypsy jazz group Pearl Django, explains the very efficient and loud “rest-stroke” picking technique he learned from the Sinti Gypsies of Holland as part of his dissertation research. The rest-stroke technique (which was used by Django Reinhardt) is explained clearly through a series of 45 examples in both standard notation and tablature. The examples were transcribed from recordings or learned directly from the playing of Gypsy guitar masters such as Django Reinhardt, Stochelo Rosenberg, and Fapy Lafertin. Detailed fingerings, picking suggestions, and photos show you how to play all those fancy Django licks just like the Gypsies do. Additionally, the included CD has recorded versions of all the examples. Horowitz also includes inspirational quotes and photos from his Gypsy teachers, giving the reader a sense of their wonderful musical culture. Gypsy Picking is a “must” for anyone interested in Gypsy jazz but is also highly recommended for guitarists of any style who wish to improve their picking technique.

Review: Gypsy Picking (Acoustic Guitar Magazine)

Acoustic Guitar Magazine – September 2003 – by Dave McCarty

After sitting at the feet of some of the top Gypsy jazz players in Europe and analyzing every component of the music associated with Django Reinhardt, Michael Horowitz has come up with Gypsy Picking, a landmark achievement that unravels the complexities and inner secrets of this fascinating style. In the first instruction book to explore the intricate right-hand picking patterns of Gypsy jazz in such detail, Horowitz takes the reader/student through downstrokes, sweep picking, horizontal arpeggios, syncopations, rest strokes, triplets, and other pivotal techniques. The 64-page text includes a series of helpful musical examples that demonstrate how a guitarist can use each pattern melodically, and Horowitz plays each example on an accompanying CD.

Jam: Michael Horowitz and Paulus Schafer

During my stay in Holland I spent a great deal of time at the Gypsy camp in Gerwen. Gerwen, along with its sister camp in Nuenen, has produced some of the world’s best Gypsy guitarists. Stochelo Rosenberg, Jimmy Rosenberg, Nous’che Rosenberg, and Wasso Grunholz are just a few of the talented guitarists from these camps.

This recording was made in Gerwen during one of my “lessons” with Paulus Schafer. Paulus is one of the immensely talented Gypsy guitarists from Gerwen. Gypsies always appreciate good music. During this jam nearly half the camp was crowded into Paulus’ caravan. One Gypsy even grabbed a camcorder and filmed the whole thing. I’ve never seen the video, but this mini-disc recording captured Paulus and I playing the Reinhardt composition Douce Ambiance. I solo first and then Paulus solos (he is also whistling throughout the performance!). Recorded on June 7, 2002. Enjoy! -Michael

Douce Ambiance MP3
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