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Valse Manouche - Django or not?

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  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 543
    Re Choti, etc, there isn't any doubt that Matelot played these tunes all his life. And if you listen to the versions from 1960 and compare them to the ones from 1978 they are exactly the same except the later ones are played more skillfully on a better guitar. And about that EP with Django on the cover, no need to be cynical, Teddy - Francis Moerman told me that Loulou Gaste (who produced these records) insisted on it, because he was certain that it would help sell records. Matelot took liberties with music - listen to his versions of Echoes of Spain; you can sort of hear the same tune Django played but he was doing it his own way, just as he did with Petit Fleur.

    As Teddy points out, it is usually agreed that these four tunes (and by association, the "valse manouche") were fragments that Matelot had learned from Django when he was a very young man, at about the time that Django was moving on towards jazz. Matelot then finished them off to suit himself. This was discussed earlier in this thread.

    I talked to Francis Moerman at great length about these recordings and these tunes. The only person who knew the whole truth was Matelot and he never gave a clear answer. Reading over my own notes from the mid-90s earlier this week, I found two interesting items that I'd completely forgotten about. The first is that Matelot told Francis that Mt. Ste-Genevieve and Chez Jacquet had their titles swapped by the record company in 1960. Could be possible as "Chez Jacquet" was called "Gin-Gin" on the original recording - I have never seen the label of the 78 so I don't know who was given songwriting credit for it. And on Bousquet's much modified version of M.St-G, he calls it Django's Valse.

    For me, I think that Django probably wrote all or most of Chez Jacquet and Mt St-G. Choti and Gagoug may have had themes originating with Django but the tunes as we know them today are mostly from from Matelot. It's the only thing that makes sense to me. "Valse Manouche"? I still say it's not Django - I can't make it fit.

    The second thing was that Matelot was generally not pleased with the various recordings he did for Loulou Gaste, especially the one with Djalamichto etc, as he felt that he hadn't had enough time to get them right. But Francis felt like they were important all the same because these recordings really do show what Parisian guitarists were playing in the early 60s when he arrived there. Now what about those tunes - Djalamichto and En Verdine, that are also credited to Django. What do you think, Teddy and Spatzo? Django's compositions or not? He never recorded these, either, and I have never heard a version of Djalamichto from earlier than 1960. The published charts are from 1960 also, I think - I will dig them up tomorrow.

    All this stuff is mysterious and it at least gives us something fun to speculate about. I really wanted to know the story behind these pieces of music and I tried as hard as I could to get to the truth but I think I just arrived too late.
    Teddy Dupont
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    edited July 2014 Posts: 727
    Hi Scot! I agree with you it's funny to search among those old stories

    I think that none of those are Django's compositions. The tunes are nice even if some of them have no mandatory trio section (strange omission in the Musette world for a guy like Django).

    They might have been inspired by Django probably, composed by Matelo mostly on my advice. On another hand Matelo was not a first raw man, he always was modest, falsely shy and slightly ironic: in an interview he was asked "Mr. Ferret, You have played with Django Reinhardt" he answered: "Yes, We, the Ferret, have been choosen by Django..."

    Djalamichto for example is for me really too far from any Django's musical phrase I have heard to be Django's composition. Saussois believed the tune was composed by Django but Saussois was part of the Musette-Ferret world.

    A very common pratice among gypsies is the big mismatch approach: things must not be that clear to the gadje, language must be kept secret, names will be easily exchanged or changed to avoid military convocations or to keep clear from eventual judicial responsabilities or to get some business opportunity.

    Look the Ferret of the 2nd generation: they will soon drop the final "t" in their family name as it sounded exactely like the well-known singer Leo Ferré for example and eventually recalled more audience on some concerts.

    Why did Maurice Ferret was ufficialy named "Michel" if not because he could keep easier his social flat and I guess today "Michel" is still in charge of the appartment years after Maurice death...

    And who among gypsies will criticize a tune once it has been attributed to Django and above all when it has been transmitted as a secret legacy directly by him?

  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,173
    scot wrote: »
    "Valse Manouche"? I still say it's not Django - I can't make it fit.
    I can only make it fit if it was recorded as early as 1934 in that UK radio broadcast otherwise there is no sense to it in the context of Django's musical development. Yet, as I have said before, I do feel it sounds incredibly like him. - If it is him, then obviously it is one of his compositions.
    scot wrote: »
    Now what about those tunes - Djalamichto and En Verdine, that are also credited to Django. What do you think, Teddy and Spatzo? Django's compositions or not? He never recorded these, either, and I have never heard a version of Djalamichto from earlier than 1960.
    I have not listened to these for many years and I can't find my copies for the moment but I remember totally discounting them as Django compositions at the time.
    scot wrote: »
    All this stuff is mysterious and it at least gives us something fun to speculate about. I really wanted to know the story behind these pieces of music and I tried as hard as I could to get to the truth but I think I just arrived too late.
    Yes it is great fun debating these things but sadly we will never really know the truth

    To confuse things further, listen to Django's tremelo playing at 3.08 from 1932. For me, it makes the whole "Django played Valse Manouche" theory just a bit more plausible.



  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 727
    Yes but is Django playing the melody on mandoline here or is he playing the guitar in the background?
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 727
    From 3:20 in the background the line up looks like Django and the melody should be played throught frets 15-18 on guitar. The sound looks a mandoline or not?
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,173
    Yes I had considered the possibility that Django was playing rhythm here but if you listen to his solo earlier on, his guitar does have a mandolin type sound at certain points. The tremelo stuff is, in may ways, quite unlike Django but if that is what they wanted, I'm sure he would have done it. On the other hand, I do think the rhythm guitar playing in that section is very Django of that time.

    Another conundrum for us.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,173
    Back to Valse Manouche (and I may have mentioned this in the very early discussions), a point against it being Django is that Delaunay does not include it in his discography and he didn't miss much. In fact, I would have to go back to check whether anything he didn't include has subsequently appeared.
    MichaelHorowitz
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 543
    The valse manouche isn't in the discographies of Delauney, Abrams, Vernon, Haederli or the little 1945 booklet from England. The Haederli and Vernon discographies represent an incredible amount of work and both are exhaustive in their detail.

    The older discographies provide a different perspective because while it was harder to get information pre-internet, there were not as many people looking for it (and they all knew each other); the consequence of that is that there was less speculation and BS going around. People were looking only for facts. Bajo gave me his copy of Abrams and it's heavily annotated with corrections and additions and extra details like matrix numbers etc.

    Roger, I think it is more likely that you got your recording of this tune from Fred Sharp. And I wonder if it wasn't Fred who added the VO to the beginning of the recording. He had that sense of humor and he firmly believed himself to be the foremost authority on the subject of Django. And in fact the cassette of that tune he sent me had the VO on it and had "Naguine" written on the box. Which is actually kind of weird because most people I talked to who knew her thought she was actually known as "La Guigne". I think Fred also had a copy of the acetate because he sent a photograph of it to me with the cassette. John Bajo was always fully forthcoming about everything just as Francis Moerman was. Fred Sharp knew a lot but he was not as willing to share information as John was. And Fred embellished his stories.

    Regarding Matelot's memory of those old tunes, listen to the version of Gin-Gin from 1935, then to the one from 1960 - they're the same. According to Francis, Matelot had an incredible memory for music. Plus, 25 years isn't a long time to remember a simple tune like that. I arranged or learned many complex fingerstyle arrangements of Joplin rags in the early 1980s and can still play them from memory exactly as I learned them over 30 years ago. My execution isn't as good but the muscle memory is still perfect. Things you learn like that when you are young, they'll stay with you over the years. That's especially so if they have any special meaning for you. That's my experience anyway.

    Does anyone here have a picture of the label of any of the original 78s by the Trio Ferret? Especially interesting would be "Gin-Gin" just to see who got writer's credit.
  • spatzospatzo Virtuoso
    Posts: 727
    I agree with you as we know that Delaunay asked Django about his early recordings so if he speaks of the very first records why not mention this one? if it was a radio recording quality in 1935 should have been really worse as we have seen in all the broadcasts of the Integrale Frémeaux
  • You know @Teddy Dupont @spatzo and @scot , going back and rereading this thread, we are so lucky to have your vast knowledge available to us. Thanks so very much. For me it gives a much richer understanding of the music.
    Teddy Dupont
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
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