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ever feel lonely? plight of a gypsy player in a small city

dapperdan7dapperdan7 ✭✭✭
edited May 2009 in Welcome Posts: 125
i know at least a few of you can relate to this.Im a gypsy jazz student/player in the burgeoning cultural hub of reno im half being sarcastic because reno aint paris but its getting better.when my buddy and i formed our group there was nobody here to teach us the django we learned through listening,buying the books,watching the videos, seeing the shows (ok show.there has only been john jorgenson in the area) roadtrips to nevada city to see robin nolan and the djunkyard gypsies and my periodic trips to chicago to take lessons with the amazing alfonso ponticelli.

I have found many people love this stuff! they may not know it as gypsy jazz or jazz manouche but they have all heard it before somewhere. Some guy the other night described it as 20's music.he is off by a decade but you get my point.I have been giving disks of the gypsy players past and present to young people who express interest.despite my being at best an average player, i am an expert in reno so i have begun to teach others the stuff i know since when the young musicians seen my group play they inevitable want to learn.

still, sometimes i wish i was not the proverbial big fish in the small pond. oh well,it gives me an excuse to doing that roadtrip i have been thinking about, to find teachers and will be utah,colorado,new mexico texas and arizona,maybe california.anybody out there relate to what im saying or want to learn/teach as i am passing through?

have a great day!


  • Posts: 3,012
    Wow dude, you flew in to take lessons with Alfonso. I guess I can feel fortunate 'cause it was 15 min ride for me. Hope it was worth it.
    What can I tell you, keep spreading the joy of GJ!
    If you're in Chicago let's have beer in Green Mill on Wed's when Alfonso is playing!
    Every note wants to go somewhere-Kurt Rosenwinkel
  • CalebFSUCalebFSU Tallahassee, FLModerator Made in USA Dell Arte Hommage
    Posts: 557
    I can completly feel your pain :lol:
    Hard work beats talent, when talent doesn't work hard.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    I live in Mexico City so I can definitely relate.
    Good news is we're the only "authentic" gypsy jazz band here so we're getting a lot of gigs and people seem to be responding very well to this genre.

    Great news is Denis Chang's dvds and Michael Horowitz books are available now and they make it possible to learn how to play the "right" way for those of us who don't live close to real gypsies.
    Djangobooks is an amazing resource for everything gypsy jazz, this site has made an enormous difference to me.

    Bad news is I spend half a year saving money to go to Samois... but it's worth every cent.
    Samois is the pond where most of us will always be small fishes and that for me it's priceless.
  • dapperdan7dapperdan7 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 125
    buco i will be there in may (my folks are getting old so i visit more often) so lets play and get a beer! blues bop, how much did you spend going to samois? i really would love to go someday. got schooled by gonzalo and his group when they were in reno.he gave me a years worth of pointers. i would love to get alfonso out to the west coast but he is a very busy man.
  • BluesBop HarryBluesBop Harry Mexico city, MexicoVirtuoso
    Posts: 1,379
    Samois is definitely worth it but you need quite a bit of dough just to get there from this continent.

    The big bucks go on the plane ticket, then a few days stay in Paris will put you out some more.
    The festival itself is not that expensive 60-80 euros for the 4 day pass, camping grounds are less than 10 euros a night. Food and booze depend on what you want and how much.

    If you only went to Samois (no Paris getaway) for two weeks and stayed on a budget, you're looking at least at a 400-500 euro investment + plane tickets+ metro+ train+ etc.

    Me being a working musician and being in love with Paris it takes me a long time to save enough
  • MundoMundo Las Vegas, NevadaNew
    Posts: 104
    You're right about people not knowing it's gypsy jazz/manouche. My group The Hot Club of Las Vegas recently had an article written about us in the Las Vegas Sun. Our next two gigs were packed with many new faces, because of the article. What resonated, and made them come out was the many "Django" references from the article! I spoke to many of these new friends and almost all of them said they never heard of "gypsy jazz" but loved jazz and especially Django!

    A big eye opener for us..... We are actually thinking about shifting gears and selling us by way of "Django" as opposed to a gypsy jazz band. And while we are jazz fanatics we know we can't use "jazz. " Jazz is a bad word when your trying to sell a group here in Vegas!- hah!

    Aloha- Mundo
  • Ian RossiterIan Rossiter Fort Vermilion ,Alberta ,CanadaNew
    Posts: 203
    CalebFSU wrote:
    I can completly feel your pain :lol:

    Same here!!! There's a few guys into GJ here, but alot of the players seem, "guarded" when it comes to sharing ideas ect. The Gitane gets lots of attention when I pull it out ,and the crowd gets dead quiet when I play solo stuff at coffee shop open mic things, and they applaud loudly. But, it's still a lonely pursuit up here.
    If anything, they expect ME to help them.....but I'm still in the early stages of the style (lol).
    ".....ummm ok, arch yer wrist and pretend your flicking out a match, got it? Now ,take that E7/9 chord but put the bass note on the sixth f'n do it!!! Alright, now...POMPE damn you!!! (lol)
    Practice ,Practice,EAT PRACTICE- Tommy Tedesco
  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,121
    Ian!!! Find me some gigs for my trio! we'll come over and give you free lessons!! alberta is my dream province!
  • dapperdan7dapperdan7 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 125
    dennis u need to stop off in reno next time u are on the west coast.i can make it worth your while.there is a burgeoning community here.i am a major prosletyzer as i hand out cds to the youngsters who see me playing in public often with others (i am a street musician at times). mundo,glad to see u guys here in the silver friend justed moved there and he is one lonely gypsy guy there.u should get in touch with him.

    every time my ex girlfriend and i play as a duo live people are coming up to me and asking what we are doing and will i teach them. its motivated me to learn as much as possible so i can teach as well as play. hoping to bring a few more groups into reno/tahoe to keep the scene growing. the audience we had for the gonzalo show was a bit older so i think its important to bring this music to the young folks.this shit is hip not stodgy! my goal is a small django fest here in the next year.

    harry,thanx for the info on samois.i need a french girlfriend! ;)

  • dapperdan7dapperdan7 ✭✭✭
    Posts: 125
    i have called the style "gypsy swing" sometimes instead of "gypsy jazz".
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