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Martin Taylor/Marc Fosset/Milou en Mai / May Fools

Hi folks. I'm interested in the later Grappelli music, particularly the work with Martin Taylor and Marc Fossett, e.g. the May Fools soundtrack.

Listening to the first track, Milou, it is basically rhythm changes but it doesn't sound exactly like typical gypsy jazz rhythm changes, right? I think it's the chord voicings, also some subs on the middle 8, and it may also be the whole rhythmic feel. The whole album has more jazzy and at times latin take on GJ. Does anybody have any insight on how to achieve this sound? I'm a violinist so it's more about understanding what I should be playing over.

Kind regards, Paul

Comments

  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc et.al. // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    Posts: 600

    hiyaPaul - the middle eight on “Milou” goes, I think, to bIII for 4 bars then V for 4.

    I think the whole ost is more typical of Grapelli’s 1980s quartet sound with Martin Taylor on an archtop, which is more “mainstream” or “straight-ahead” than “gypsy-jazz”, imho - a lot of Grapelli’s music from this time is great, but there’s a bit too much reverb on the violin on this particular soundtrack for my tastes. SG’s whole musical approach in later decades was very different from his time with Django and the QHCoF. p.s welcome to the forum !

  • Posts: 3

    Thanks Andy! Interesting point about the reverb and you're right now I think of it. Do you happen to know if there are any play along series in this style, i.e gypsy jazz instrumentation lineup but more straight ahead playing style?

  • AndyWAndyW Glasgow Scotland UK✭✭✭ Clarinets & Saxes- Selmer, Conn, Buescher, Leblanc et.al. // Guitars: Gerome, Caponnetto, Napoli, Musicalia, Bucolo, Sanchez et. al.
    Posts: 600

    Paul - there are a few Jamey Aebersold series which feature guitar instead of piano in the rhythm section, I'd have to check which ones.

    Martin Taylor himself has quite a few different books with playalongs, i.e. "Martin Taylor Guitar Method", but I don't own them personally. There are CD versions & cheaper options with online audio/ downloads. I'm guessing these will be more "straight-ahead" than jazz manouche.

    More towards Gypsy Jazz style & repertoire, I usually work with this playalong video aggregator site -https://gypsyjazzplayalongs.jpcafe.xyz/channels/all - I particularly like some of Gael Rouilhac's tracks.

    For some of Grappelli's more specific repertoire, you might have to turn to iReal Pro and make your own backing tracks.

    -A-

  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 356

    I came to Grappelli not through Django but via "Paris Encounter" with Gary Burton and then worked my way back (and forward) from that point, so my sense of his style(s) is pretty elastic. I have seventy-something of his albums in my library, and I think I hear all of Steph in the whole range of his work--he always played with whoever he was playing with. What I do think I hear in his post-Hot Club career is a stretching out to become always himself, even in conversation with a huge range of other strong musical personalities. Swing and lyricism are what I hear everywhere.

    And even with Django or emulating "gypsy" style (as on the soundtrack for King of the Gypsies with Grisman), he doesn't sound like the actual gypsy violinists I've heard. In fact, I think some of the influence might have run the other way, just as Django's take on American jazz did with gypsy guitarists.

    AndyW
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    edited June 2023 Posts: 1,261

    "And even with Django or emulating "gypsy" style (as on the soundtrack for King of the Gypsies with Grisman), he doesn't sound like the actual gypsy violinists I've heard. In fact, I think some of the influence might have run the other way, just as Django's take on American jazz did with gypsy guitarists."

    I agree that Grappelli never played like a gypsy violinist. He was a jazz/swing musician. He happened to play with a gypsy for a while which is not the same thing. I don't actually think Django played like a gypsy guitarist either. Baro Ferret did but Django didn't.

    However, unlike Django, Steph played in essentially the same way all his life regardless of who he was performing with albeit he became more fluent and at ease. In the pre-war days I sense he struggled to keep up with Django but when they met again after the war, he felt he was a Stephane Grappelli, a jazz musician in his own right. Despite the fact that Django was changing musically by that time, his creative genius no longer intimidated Grappelli.

    I have always thought it interesting that Gypsy Jazz evolved from a group where one of the two key members creating the music was not a gypsy and did not in any way play like a gypsy.

    AndyWbillyshakesBillDaCostaWilliamsrudolfochrist
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 356

    I'm not a violinist, but I became fascinated by it decades ago, partly via baroque violin pieces--the Handel sonatas and the Bach solo sonatas and partitas, then Paganini and the whole solo violin tradition right up through, say, Ysaÿe and Bartok and Kreisler. Somewhere in there, since I was also exploring jazz, I came across Venuti and Grappelli, which led me to Eddie South and Stuff Smith and Svend Asmussen, and then to Jean-Luc Ponty and Sugarcane Harris (both with Zappa!) and Vassar Clements and Papa John Creach and all the western-swing fiddlers. What a ride.

    What I noticed early on was the extremely wide range of textures the violin offers--among the pre-war jazz fiddlers, Stuff Smith sounds nothing like Grappelli or South, and Venuti always sounds like himself. It's interesting to listen to later fiddlers and notice the influences--two nights ago, I got to hear Randy Sabien live for the first time, and I can hear the Grappelli in his playing (though he has an impressively wide stylistic range).

    Next up: the accordionists!

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