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Django Legacy – The Music of Django Reinhardt & the Birth of...

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  • Barney Kessel is another of my fave jazz guitarists. My 4 fave JAZZ guitar players Django, Barney, Ed Bickert and Martin Taylor. Musically speaking Django occupies a different place from the others and his spirit still illuminates the music in a way only replicated by a very select few. Pops, Tatum Bird and perhaps a few others.

    @Teddy Dupont you always come up with these little gems. Thanks for sharing.


    Fwiw Incidentally my morning listening so far, Blues for Barclay, Blues for Ike, Farewell Blues and now onto Finesse. Talk about breadth of style and concept
    Buco
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Lango-DjangoLango-Django Niagara-On-The-Lake, ONModerator
    Posts: 1,338
    Yeah, Django was supposed to have been eager to get the gig as Bing's accompanist... how awesome that would've been!

    BTW, you young punks of today who have never heard early Bing accompanied by Eddie Lang are missing something.
    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.
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 419
    At the risk of over-simplifying and probably stirring some hate mail I view the whole GJ history thus: We know Django came from the Gypsy background, as did later on Stochelo, Angelo, Fapy, Bireli and the rest, but they have a fundamental advantage in that the 'feel' is in the genes. So, a Gypsy playing Jazz, but not only Jazz, the mix of other music they had been exposed to, waltzes, flamenco, musette dance tunes, all combined with this unique Gypsy gene to create a unique way of playing I can only describe as 'The Feel'. I am aware of, and indeed a fan of, many good Gadjo players, but they can not learn this 'Feel' however good they are. Sure, many are good Jazz players who have learned some Gypsy techniques, rhythms, scales, chromatics etc, but the thousand years of Gypsy genes can not be learned by anyone.
    I realise, there may be exceptions, and some will by association be closer to it than others, but to take La Pompe as one example, I have yet to see or hear any Gadjo who can replicate the classic sound of the original Hot Club Quintet, or Hono, or Nousche. Am I the only one who thinks this, or am I missing something? Likewise, another example: Who among the Gadje has recorded Dark Eyes or Czardas and sounded authentic Gypsy?
    As for Django's own contribution; his genius was to take any form of music he heard and absorb it as his own. The later years - after WW2 - he was playing his own take on bop and who knows where else he would have gone if he had lived longer; he already had an admiration for Debussy and Ravel and yet could process that into his own style too, but another point that I think a lot of modern players miss is that he started out in the rowdy dance halls and Bals Musette, which were, (like a lot of Jazz bands across the Atlantic that so far he was not even aware of) catering to a lively, often drunk, working class crowd who just wanted to dance and have FUN, and it is this FUN element that is missing from so many modern would-be Djangos who try to copy the early HCQ material. I suggest forget trying to impress with speed and fancy picking and put some FUN into the music.
    I too number Barney Kessel and Martin Taylor among my favourites, but they are not Django.
    And as for roots, I have a caravan (in England) as the address on my birth certificate, but I still can not claim a direct line to the genes or the 'Feel'.
    I will crawl into a safe corner now with my tin hat on and wait for the replies.
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    edited February 2015 Posts: 2,040
    Well that definitely is a lot of oversimplification though I somewhat understand and agree with what you mean but i don't agree with the details and arguments/
    I have yet to see or hear any Gadjo who can replicate the classic sound of the original Hot Club Quintet, or Hono, or Nousche.

    Those are three distinctive sounds... And within the hotclub quintet, as i mentionned in my article, there's more than one way.. Furthermore, some of the rhythm guitarists of django's bands were not Gypsies. Even Charlie Christian was playing a hotclub style rhythm that is reminiscent of django's 1940s rhythm playing.

    Not to show off or anything, but I personally can recreate any of the hotclub style rhythms as well as the rhythms of hono and nous'che; they and their relatives told me themselves... This whole obsession of mine with the "Gypsy feel" started I think in 2000 when I was starting out and a guy told me that I would never be able to play like a Gypsy. So I went out and sought the Gypsies to figure out what their sound was... The answer to that is very complicated and quite vast and at this moment, don't feel like writing another long article! I don't think it's for me to decide whether I sound like a Gypsy, but i've gotten that comment from many Gypsies. However, I must say that nowadays, now that i'm very familiar with the Gypsy style, it's no longer something I aim to do when I play music; nowadays, I just take from everything that I like. Especially with regards to rhythm playing, I don't go for a particular Gypsy or Django sound. In my rhythm playing, I use my knowledge of harmony to play the appropriate chords, something that many Gypsies do not do.

    Am I the only one who thinks this, or am I missing something? Likewise, another example: Who among the Gadje has recorded Dark Eyes or Czardas and sounded authentic Gypsy?

    It depends what you mean by authentic Gypsy. The Sinti do not play Dark Eyes correctly according to Russian Gypsy tradition. Monti Czardas is not even a Gypsy song, it's an imitation of Hungarian music by an Italian composer. When the Sinti play Hungarian music (which they like to do) , the Hungarian Gypsies say that it sounds terrible because it is not authentic. The Sinti play Hungarian music the Sinti way (titi winterstein, wedehli koehler, dorado schmitt, schnuckenack reinhardt, etc..).

    Furthermore among the Sinti, there are many different approaches... I've mentioned this story before, but in Holland, the Sinti have asked me to not learn from the Eastern French Gypsies because they are too "sloppy" and sound too "Gypsy".. And then when I was in the east of France, the Sinti would tell me not to learn from the Dutch Gypsies because they are too "perfect" and not Gypsy enough. For many French Gypsies, the Dutch Gypsies don't play "Gypsy" (ironic as it may seem)...

    As far as Gadje go, the ones who could pass for Gypsies (whether French or Dutch or whatever) are few indeed but there are some. Thomas Baggerman could easily pass for a Dutch Gypsy. William Brunard could pass for an Alsacian Gypsy. In his early days Serge Krief, could have passed for a Gypsy very much in the style of Django and the old style players. If Adrien Moignard did not play too many modern sounding phrases, he could pass for a Gypsy with a heightened sense of awareness. I would say that Sebastien Giniaux does not sound like a Gypsy, but I would argue than he is much closer to the spirit of Django than most Gypsies... Sebastien is in a league of his own , stylistically speaking. A lot of the Parisian non-Gypsy players use the "gypsy technique" and yet don't sound Gypsy either, they are combining the superficial elements of the Gypsy style with a more mainstream jazz mentality, which is totally cool. In Belgium , there's a whole school of jazz guitarists associated with Tcha Limberger and that have no contact with the gypsy jazz community . These guys sound like Tcha Limberger!

    That said, sounding like a Gypsy is just a description, it does not make it any better or worse than Gadje. There are some Gypsies who sound Gypsy but who play random stuff , wrong chords , etc... As i said in my article, the Gypsy way is more of an attitude in the manner of interpretation than a specific set of scales or rhythms.
    JazzaferriSvanis1337
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    edited February 2015 Posts: 2,040
    I would like to add one final thing: i've met tons of sinti. The ones most people are familiar with are the famous ones, but i've had contact with your average joe reinhardt ;-) who doesn't play professionally or doesn't even really play ; Chris is right, they have it in their genes. Or rather, they have an advantage in being in close contact with people who do play music.

    I've met tons of Sinti who told me that they don't play concerts, nor do they really play guitar. They just tell me that they know a few chords and that's it, but when they grab the guitar and play rhythm, they have the "sound" that many non-Gypsies chase after! These are literally people who probably pick up the guitar a few times a year, if at all, yet they have the sound! The only song they might know would be something along the lines of Minor Swing, and that's it. It's really quite interesting!
  • Well said Dennis. I have heard The arguments many times that you have to be a Gypsy, Andalusian etc etc in order to play whatever style of music. Yet I Have heard or read comments from leading musicians in the relevant style say or write that all you need is good ears and lots and lots of active listening 24/7.

    I have heard Dennis play sounding just like a Sinti (though honestly don't quite know what that is supposed to mean) and heard him play other styles. Sounded good to my ear.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Kevin FurnissKevin Furniss France✭✭ AJL 503 XO
    Posts: 85
    In the world of motorsport the kids raised in the paddocks have a head start, but thats all it is.
    Jazzaferri
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 419
    Thanks for taking the time to reply Dennis. Two points: First, the word Czarda, or Csarda came from the word for a country inn in Hungary where dancing would often occur, and a Czardas, (or Csardas) is a general term for any typical dance tune. You are right, the most famous Czardas is that credited to an Italian one-hit wonder named Vittorio Monti, but I was referring to the east European dances in general, a tradition passed on through many Gypsies and Gadje equally. Secondly I do not question the musical ability of any of those named above, and sure Sebastian Giniaux is one of my favourite players of the current generation, but I was not questioning who 'sounded' like a Gypsy or not, my intention was to identify the 'Feel' which is always going to be hard to explain or quantify but it is definitely there (or not) and you know it when you hear it. I can recognise the two different styles you mention from the more correct, cleaner Dutch way of playing or the 'sloppy' style from Eastern France, and maybe that is why although Stochelo and Fapy, who I had seen many times when I was in England, are among my heroes, my personal preference is for Tchavolo Schmitt, who might just be the absolute 'King of Sloppy'! But what heart and soul he puts into it, Tchavolo even looks like he is having FUN, the other ingredient most students of GJ are missing! I guess my oversimplification is really this, Gypsies can play Jazz, but can Jazzers play Gypsy?
  • Chris MartinChris Martin Shellharbour NSW Australia✭✭ Petrarca, Catelluccia, Bucolo, Martino, Hofner, Hoyer, Burns
    Posts: 419
    terrassier wrote: »
    In the world of motorsport the kids raised in the paddocks have a head start, but thats all it is.
    Well said Terassier, totally irrelevant here, but you have just told my life story, born in a caravan behind a garage, and ended up working fifteen years in F1 (now retired).

  • Chris I have to disagree, his metaphor is quite relevant and IMO true.
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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