Dec. Song Of The Month--My Melancholy Baby



  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-30, Altamira M-10
    Posts: 389

    Spatzo, what a beautiful version you posted. Thanks for the link & the history lesson. Those guys sound great. Such a full & eerily beautiful sound for just 2 guitars. That would have been fun to see them live in Paris.

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    edited December 2021 Posts: 2,161
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited December 2021 Posts: 768

    Tks MikeK! I'm glad you enjoyed.

    On the record there's also Sauveur Caminita that had been rented on bass just for the record session but they usually played only in duo.

    I've been a lot of nights hearing to them in Montmartre at the Place du Tertre and yes it was a lot of fun and good music. You just had to take the table at 1 meter from the stage (just in front of them) and to watch Joseph's chords to memorize the charts. They played all nights from 9PM to 2:30AM - 6 days a week and when it was the end of the show and the bar was almost empty if they recognized you as an "habitué" and knew you were studying guitar, they invited you to play a couple of tunes with them. Great memories... Usually Joseph gave you both Gibson and plectrum and, looking right in your eyes, said seriously: "Don't stole me the plectrum".

    One night a guy came in with a guitar and asked to play with them: it was Barney Kessel. They played together for a whole set and after that Maurice said: "Thanks God he played with our chords and not with his own handfulls of f!fteen"...

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,337

    @spatzo Yes indeed, thanks for posting that album w/Joseph and Maurice. I've seen a bunch of converted VHS clips of them playing live (usually with awful sound), but had not heard this album before. I found a good playlist of the whole thing on youtube and have been enjoying listening all morning.

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-30, Altamira M-10
    Posts: 389

    Willie--thanks for posting the versions from Bean & Brother Ray. It's just more evidence of how eclectic the gypsy jazz catalog can be, and how far & wide these songs that we play & know so well can reach.

    Dennis--what a great band you have! Thanks for sharing that footage. If I've ever heard a hotter version of this month's Song Of The Month, I cant recall it. Great stuff in a casual setting, you all have everything that's right about gypsy jazz, running on all cylinders.

    Spatzo--I'm really enjoying your stories about Joseph & Maurice. Those experiences in Paris sound so magical.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,337

    Well, Dennis just posted this video on the other thread, but in case you missed it, here's their version of the song of the month (should be cued to the start of the song) with Paulus Schaefer.

  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited December 2021 Posts: 768

    In 1938 Django played it in C with the harmonica player Larry Adler

  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited December 2021 Posts: 768

    Going back to the fact Maurice Ferret said that Barney Kessel played with "their" chords we have to observe that indeed there is a different harmonic treatment in both all Django's versions and Maurice Ferret and Joseph Pouville's one in opposition with the charts played by many other jazz musicians: fact is that the harmony choosed by django is slightly different and changes in three ways:

    1- The first chords are usually intended to be [C][./.][Bb7][A7] or [Eb][./.][Db7][C7] but Django plays a smoother harmony on bar 3 with a Em7b5/Bb (instead of Bb7) and then the A7 (or Gm7b5/Db going to C7 in Eb).

    By doing this Django still benefits of the same strong root movement Db => C but he also introduces a clear IImb5-V7-Im minor progression and in fact then he resolves directly on Fm

    2- On bar 8 where usually a Bb7 [in Eb] is awaited Django just plays an Fm (ref G7 [in C] on MikeK chart) - please note that this phenomenon was first observed by Samy Daussat - and this is a very interesting subdominant approach (instead of the classical DOMINANT one) that Django uses many times.

    3- Last but not least we all know that My Melancoly Baby is a 2x16 bars tune and that on the last 8 bars we usually find the harmonic progression called "The Rag" - a progression that Django loved so much - that is to say Ab-A°-Eb-C7-F7-Bb7-Eb but here Django surprises us again as he insists and performs an harmonic variation using a MINOR RAG instead the classical major one with Fm-F#°-Eb-C7-Fm-Bb7-Eb (ref part C in chart below).

    Here's finally the chart - try it and play it with Django (it works so well) and you will discover one of the many magical hidden aspects of django's genious and I guess you will soon change the way you play that tune...

  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited December 2021 Posts: 768

    Two interesting transcriptions:

    Tim robinson's transcription of Django's solo in Rome [1949]

    François Requet's transcription of Grappelli's solo in Rome [1949]

  • edited December 2021 Posts: 4,817

    Can't wait to play this chart along with Django tonight! Thanks @spatzo

    PS yes, it plays so nicely along with Django recording.

    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
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