Valse Manouche - Django or not?



  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,204
    MinorBlues wrote:
    Is there any Baro recording out there that suggests he can handle that chromatic line so perfectly? I'd be curious to hear it for comparison.

    I second that

    When he listens to the recording of Choti, Stochelo Rosenberg is 100% sure it's Django.
    ...And so apparently is Fapy Lafertin. The perfect technical execution of the tune is pure Django but other elements of it's construction still leave questions in my mind. However, as I said in my first post, the possibility of it being part of that 1934 BBC broadcast does reduce one of my reservations.

    Although Baro Ferret once said that he felt he was the technical equivalent of Django, and despite him being a fantastic technician, I do not believe he was. Django was a smoother player with a greater variety of attack. However, my biggest problem with Baro is that he was not a convincing jazz player nor a good improviser.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 560
    Weighing it all out, I still believe there are more reason to think it's not Django than to think it is. For one thing, the chromatic passages sound articulated rather than glissed to me. But most of all, this (bizarre) composition just does not sound like Django to me. I just can't make it fit. I've begun to think it might actually be Joseph Reinhardt, that forgotten man. His own musical ideas and compositions, not to mention his personality, are notoriously bizarre. His sister was once quoted as saying "My brother Joseph? He's an Arab..." He certainly had the chops to play this. The only person in recent times who really knew the story about Choti and Gagoug was Matelot and he took it to the grave. Francis asked him many times about these tunes and never got more than a vague reply, never an answer. Choti and Gagoug were in fact the names of two of Lousson's children, bestowed by Naguine - two different people told me this story. And of course the valse could have been someone like Lulu Gallopin or Roger Chaput...

    At the time the valse was recorded, Baro's technique was probably the equal of Django's. The guitar technique displayed on the Trio Ferret recordings is as perfect as you could ask for, no lack of charm or confidence, no sort of hesitancy at all. And has been noted by others, Baro ultimately realized that he was not Django's equal as a jazz player and consciously turned away from jazz to go his own way. I don't think I have many recordings of Baro playing jazz, so it's pretty hard to say what kind of improvisor he was. But according to people who played with him, and I have talked to a few, he was not lacking in those skills. There are some recordings of him playing with Viseur in the late 30s, tunes like "I've Found a New Baby" that give some clue to his jazz playing, but no one claims as him Django's equal at jazz anyway. Baro was a unique musician and composer who can't exactly be compared to anyone else - no one else was remotely like him.

    The tunes En Verdine and Djalamichto on that Matelot Ferret EP - I have 1960 charts for these tunes. The publisher was Caramel Music which has the same address - a basement in Neuilly - as Carrousel Music who was also the publisher of many of Matelot's compositions. The tunes are attributed to Django. Who was Caramel/Carrousel? Tunes attributed to Django but not recorded by him - what to make of this? Marketing at work? Tunes finished by Matelot from fragments he'd heard Django play decades before? Another mystery we probably will never have the true answer for. But Francis and I came to the conclusion that they probably were fragments finished by Matelot years later.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,204
    scot wrote:
    But Francis and I came to the conclusion that they probably were fragments finished by Matelot years later.
    That is certainly my view.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,204
    Here is Baro Ferret playing a presumably improvised "jazz" solo on Daphne from 1938. I must say I find this singularly unimpressive. At best, it is very ordinary and I think Marcel Bianchi was more exciting and could swing more effectively at this time. I hope this solo was improvised otherwise it would be even less impressive.

    Although he did not have the technical panache or creative eccentricity of Baro Ferret, I think Joseph Reinhardt was a more convincing jazz musician but there again, Joseph was only ever interested in jazz.
    Wim Glenn
  • MitchMitch Paris, Jazz manouche's capital city!✭✭✭✭ Di Mauro, Lebreton, Castelluccia, Patenotte, Gallato
    Posts: 159
    To appreciate Baro's talent I wish I could make you listen to the rehearsal tapes Alain gave me (on audio casette...)
    Accompanied by Moerman and Jacques Montagne+ Serani, he's a Thelonious Monk of the Gypsy waltz, he explodes the style. To me he's the best after Django: style, technique, authority...
    HIs swing playing is indeed not as striking as Matelo's but we have so few examples...

    Anyway here are the infos I got regarding the rest:

    MONTAGNE SAINTE-GENEVIEVE : Matelo used to listen to Django practising his guitar behind his appartment door when they lived in the same building in Paris, rue Damrémont.
    So Django has these e-minor arpeggios he did for practise, or maybe an esquisse of a theme but Matelo did compose or finish to compose the piece for sure.
    I got this from Antonietto or Elios, I dont' remember but it seems perfectly logical.

    CHEZ JACQUET : was indeed composed by Django in his teens when he played at "La petite chaumière".
    Mano Drey got this from Baro himself : Django was playing in the venue and the owner, Jacquet, asked him something like "what's that nice tune you're playing?" and Django answered "euh.. Chez Jacquet !"

    CHOTI : I'm still hesitating but I met Gagoug in Samois 3 or 4 years ago. He's the son of Lousson along with his brother Kulun, another sister I think and his sister... Choti. Gagoug told me Django composed those 2 tunes for him and his sister. He showed me a picture of him in Samois when he was roughly 3 years old, it is blurry but he's running around and Django sits on a table at the back.
    So either Django composed this in the late 40's /early 50's for his grandchildren or they were name after the songs but the link is definitely there.
    I don't know the gypsy meaning of Choti and Gagoug.
    Wim Glenn
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 560
    I tried to post this recording as an mp3, could not get it to upload. It's a large file, around 18M. Is that too large of a file to upload?
  • redbluesredblues ✭✭
    Posts: 456
    Yes 18MB is too big for a phpBB forum. Go soundcloud instead.
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited November 2011 Posts: 1,252
    I think Choti means "little" or "little sister" in Hindi. I assumed that was the etymology as Romany derived from Hindi or they both derived from the same root language or some such thing... like Norman & Briton are to English. I couldn't find it on the Romani dictionary, but Romani is a living language often taught verbally - so perhaps it cannot be captured by a dictionary with rigid spellings. Also, spelling is always tough when you're translating between languages of differing scripts so if it did come from Hindi, who knows how many ways it is spelled.
    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,204
    If this version of Valse Manouche/Choti is actually by Django as many people think, I believe it was probably taken from a radio program Django appeared on during this visit to the UK.

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