Django’s Gypsy Jazz Secrets | Blog

DjangoBooksDjangoBooks Seattle✭✭✭ All of them!
edited September 2016 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 447
imageDjango’s Gypsy Jazz Secrets | Blog

Gypsy-jazz scholar Michael Horowitz shares a primer on the essential elements of Django Reinhardt’s groundbreaking music.

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  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,154
    Check out this free lesson I did for the Premiere Guitar Magazine!
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    That's pretty sweet!

    I love the fact that they did a call-out feature box for the text:

    "The la pompe rhythm is deceptively simple and widely misunderstood."

    Which is not only true, but nigh unto one of the basic certainties of life.

    LaPompe, in retrospect, seems a lot like a golf swing in that it's almost impossible to do well until it becomes automatic so you can stop thinking about it and start thinking about all the other aspects of playing (music/golf). Time & muscle memory seem to play a role in both developing a good golf-swing and a good la-pompe, and both are somewhat infuriating right up till they become incredibly satisfying.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  •[email protected] new mexico (current)✭✭
    Posts: 91
    Sweet!! Hey Bob...your pompe is pretty good for a guy building (and destroying) guitars a few thousand hours here and there...
    Bob Holo
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    Bob s rhythm sound is quite impressive indeed
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    dennis wrote: »
    Bob s rhythm sound is quite impressive indeed


    Muchos Gracias gents. I don't deserve that praise, but will take it and run -- haha!

    A few years ago, Dennis and I were in the green-room packing guitars up and I asked him to listen to my rhythm because it just sounded off. I'd been working hard on it but it was awkward and it just felt wrong and obtuse. I found it hard to sync with bass players and somehow my rhythm didn't seem to support the soloist. So Dennis listened. Stopped me. Changed my hand position. Listened. Stopped me again. Thought about it... and then said: "Oh... I know what it is..." and he changed one thing that I had no idea I was doing, and BANG. Things snapped into shape. I'm not kidding, it turned-on like a light-switch. All of a sudden it just made sense. I'm by no means a pro, but now I'm not embarrassed to back up a good player.

    So - there is a tremendous value in a 1 on 1 lesson. Read and study, watch videos and study, join an academy, tape yourself, use a metronome -- all of that. But whenever you can, get up close and personal with a pro who can tell you if you're doing what you think you're doing. The mind is a great pattern filter, and after doing something wrong for a while, your mind will filter out your mistakes till you can't hear them. So don't forget to periodically take that master class or 1:1 lesson, because no matter how hard you work, it's what you CAN'T hear yourself doing that'll kill you every time.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Jeff MooreJeff Moore Minneapolis✭✭✭✭ Lebreton 2
    Posts: 476
    Thanks Michael.
    "We need a radical redistribution of wealth and power" MLK
  • Posts: 4,784
    Bob Holo wrote: »
    dennis wrote: »
    Bob s rhythm sound is quite impressive indeed

    Thought about it... and then said: "Oh... I know what it is..." and he changed one thing that I had no idea I was doing, and BANG

    Well what was it?
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  •[email protected] new mexico (current)✭✭
    Posts: 91
    Straight up Bob!...I am not a big fan of anything but the tradition of direct lineage and apprenticeship..This was the only way to learn until very recently since the canonization of and more recently the image driven social media version of packaged "mastery" of improvised music (a long paper unto itself that I myself don't have the time or interest to write or debate at the moment...Michael? :)
    In the Indian system which has given the western world such giants as Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar, Zakir Hussain, Hari Prasad, Shiv Kumar Sharma, and arguably even the guitarist John McLaughlin, the only way to learn music for thousands of years was through the Gurukul system which literally translated means roughly "learning while living with the guru in his house". The teacher was someone who had been at the top of their lineage for several decades minimum, and whose family mostly came from generations of musicians. When Ravi Shankar left his guru after only 7 years of torturous study he was considered woefully under trained to give a crazy perspective.

    I think of the development of "gypsy Jazz" as a similar picture. The picking technique likely goes way back long before Django & Hot Club proposal (overly simplified of course) is that the displaced Gypsy's migrated from India and with them likely brought the knowledge of plucked traditional folk instruments as well Sarod, Oud etc. Also more recently the Classical Mandolin employed the same right hand technique imperative to picking and rhythm in the style. I was asking Stocholo if he ever thought that 30 years ago he would be a world renown guitarist and he laughed and said of course not...It's just what they did in their life. The rhythm technique was handed down and digested through exposure, repetition, and a certain osmosis..not at all analyzed and intellectualized until very recently. the neurological patterning only comes with 1000's of hours just like sport.

    In order to sell something we have to make it a thing that is separate from the organic expression itself. A packageable system with steps and proofs all wrapped up in a bow.

    In the end it is really hard to hear the differences in rhythm and the intangible "it" factor and it takes many hours to even hear the essence of its simplicity. Just like the difference between a well trained drummer with credentials, and who through systematized analysis applying all the things that Elvin Jones does, and Elvin jones ain't gonna be the same...i have had a saying for years (I'm sure it comes form somewhere:) that conscious repetition leads to revelation...information is not nearly as relevant as the conscious practice of the action itself...
    I think it's tres genial (though not at all surprising:) that you are able to hear the difference not only in your very impressive guitar building, but also with the subtitles and fundamentals of rhythm.
    Big Love R
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    Posts: 1,252
    Oops. Sorry, Roch. I gave the wrong impression. I've definitely spent a lot of time learning from resources and books and courses and benefited tremendously from them.

    I'm only saying that hearing ourselves through the ears of the experienced keeps us humble and pointed in the right direction. Re-reading your post... actually, we're probably saying the same thing in most ways. But suffice it to say, my copy of Gypsy Rhythm is coming apart at the spine, and so is my Watramez/Robin book, and I have taken a lot of Dennis' courses, going all the way back to his first DVD set from probably 10 years ago.

    Oh, and Buco, I don't remember exactly what it was that he changed. I have tried (and it seems succeeded) to forget exactly what I was doing wrong and put it behind me so it never comes back. But what it amounted to is that I used to have this lopsided rhythm that ran counter-point to traditional gypsy rhythm and so when I was playing with another rhythm player, it sounded vaguely like I was off the beat. It was like that for years because I had a bad habit that was so ingrained that I couldn't hear it. Dennis fixed me and let me make a short recording which I then went back and woodshedded diligently for about a month till it was automatic. It was quite an eye opener though. Imagine pointing out a beautiful blue flower to a friend and having them say: "It's not blue, it's red." and you look back and see they were right. Truth as we perceive it, vs. truth as it is. That's why I'm such a feedback-ho.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  •[email protected] new mexico (current)✭✭
    Posts: 91
    :) Yea Bob..Same song...different words...
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