Had an interesting discussion with a friend about improvising in gypsy style. First, I'm an old rock and blues player, so I'm new to this style of playing. In our discussion, we talked about how each of us approached the area (he's a a similar player, maybe more folk/bluegrass than me). He talked about scales, I talked about melody and arpeggios being more important. Since, we are both newbies to the style - we probably should not even discuss it, but there it is, anyway.
Of course, the whole thing got blown up in my face when the first tune we jammed on was 'Minor Swing'. "What's the melody in that tune?", he asked. "umm, er, well, got me." is all I could say. I've only got the transcription for the tune. As we listened to other tunes, it became clear that many of the GJ players do not use the melody, at least as much as some kind of basic 'head' to a tune, and then just kind of follow that gypsy path in using those great arps, licks, and everything else thrown in, and coming back to state a modified 'head' in the outro.
Now, I've heard some more familiar Django tunes based on American Jazz standards, but rarely do I hear Django playing a basic melody - moreless that seems to be the job of the other soloist, Django just wails so nicely, the melody kind of gets swallowed by his beastly playing and creative improvisation. Not a bad thing - it's just I'm wondering how others see their approach to soloing?