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Interview with Sebastien Giniaux: "A lot is due to the way it's recorded"

TydidesTydides
in Welcome Posts: 30
Hello Jazzers
Great interview. SG is got to be my favorite young gun in GJ right now.

I have been curious about this question for a long long time and I was hoping the community could weigh in.

I once gave a recording of Django to a friend and asked him if he liked it. He said he liked the style but couldn't get over the low "quality" of the recordings. I thought this was a funny thing to say, because I felt exactly the opposite to that notion. And I have always agreed with Giniaux about the vintage recording sound being a big factor. However, how exactly do you interpret his comments?

"Well I don’t want to bash him but I think it’s because of this vintage sound...something from that vintage recording making people feel special about him." Not to say it wasn’t amazing because as an improviser it was indeed awesome but until 1945, a lot is due to the way it’s recorded." -SG

I think we all believe the horn-style solo innovation for guitar, and the whole new vocabulary and compositions and quality of improvisation are enough to make Django a genius regardless of how it was recorded. So, the recording is very secondary. But I must admit that I find the vintage recording method to be...better? Not just with Django, but in general. I personally find high fidelity to be a little overrated. However, how you record is just a style, after all. (for example, I find Cyril Duclos's "lo-fi" recordings to sound actually really good, e.g., Not the same, and a lot more reverberation from where he recorded, but just to show you how a crappy mic makes it sound. And for comparison: )

So my question is, do any of you know of articles or research done on early jazz recordings, and Django's recordings specifically. I know Gonzalo Bergara's Djangophonic utilized this idea. Does anyone know how he recorded it? In any case, Djangophonic does not sound quite like the vintage recordings, as good as it does sound.

If you like Django, you must like the vintage recording sound, as it is integral. So, how is it done?

Thanks!
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Comments

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,116
    we did that for the Rino CD as well:



    just messed with compression and EQ... there are more authentic ways to achieve this of course (using the right gear), but for people with a DAW, this is easily achieavable... I was also looking into using plugins that simulated vinyl crackle, but it wasn't compatible with my 64 bit system
  • anthon_74anthon_74 Marin county, CA✭✭✭✭ Alta Mira M 01
    Posts: 561
    If you really really want that django sound, you've gotta find yourself a pre-war ribbon mic and someone who knows how to record with it. Check out Fappy Lafertins 94 - 96 the recordings. They're all recorded that way and they sound incredible. I've certainly been wanting to record that way, as I'm not crazy about the way modern gypsy jazz albums sound.
  • JonJon melbourne, australiaProdigy Dupont MD50B, '79 Favino
    Posts: 391
    One thing you do need if you want to do it the tech-authentic way is a good room. Use whatever technology you can get your hands on, but you need a room that doesn't reflect too much percussive stuff around and back into the mic. Interesting to listen to the Integrale masters over some of the others to hear how dry some of those recordings were. I think this helps a great deal in making them sound, well, old and a bit low-tech for sure, but still sweet and accurate after a fashion..
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,197
    stuart wrote: »
    "Well I don’t want to bash him but I think it’s because of this vintage sound...something from that vintage recording making people feel special about him." Not to say it wasn’t amazing because as an improviser it was indeed awesome but until 1945, a lot is due to the way it’s recorded." -SG

    Personally I'm not particularly nostalgic about the sound quality of Django's early work and would love to hear him recorded in a modern studio. But there is no vintage recording equipment which will put Sebastian or any other living player on a level with Django. What was special about him was not his technique but his astonishing, fluid musical imagination through which almost all of the genre we all play in was mapped. I don't want to 'bash' any of the great contemporary players but they are all playing in Django's shadow, and Django playing on a toy guitar recorded on a cheap tape player would still be special.

    I totally agree. I feel no nostalgia whatsoever about the sound quality of Django's recordings. For the major part it tends to detract from the performance rather than enhance it. As Stuart says, it is the "astonishing, fluid musical imagination" and for me, the sheer beauty of his music that I love.

    None
  • edited November 2014 Posts: 3,707
    I am of the same mind as Stuart and Teddy in this discussion.

    I disagree with the OP that I must like The old recording sound as its integral. Integral to what? It has nothing to do with his phrasing, his rhymic sense, etc.

    I certainly like the live nature of the recordings, where everyone is gathered around a single mic...at leat in the early ones. Whether in modern recording one uses a single omni or a number of supercardioids ....it's the live nature that I enjoy. Overdubbing is a fun and useful technique but there really is something special about a"live" unedited un corrected recording.
    pickitjohnTeddy Dupont
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • JasonSJasonS New
    Posts: 8
    You'll hear a lot of bassists complain about pre-1950 (or thereabouts) recordings because it's unbelievably difficult to work out exactly what the bass was playing. The technology just didn't exist to accurately capture a pizz bass in the context of a larger ensemble.

    On the other hand, the nature of the recordings with extremely pronounced mids and rolled off lows are perfect for highlighting a guitar... especially a Selmer style guitar.
  • lukejazzlukejazz Natchitoches, Louisiana✭✭✭ Dunn Belleville
    Posts: 22
    I can commiserate with your friend's feelings about the recordings. I found it too hard to listen to the recordings I had early on (for me the late 70's) because of the limited fidelity. It seemed like a lot of them had been reproduced from recordings with serious defects (lots of popping etc.). I would think "amazing playing but I can't listen to it". I've learned to ignore that for the most part over the years. I might have gotten interested on a more serious level earlier if it would have been easier to listen to. Just my 2 cents.
  • Wim GlennWim Glenn oƃɐɔᴉɥƆModerator 503
    Posts: 1,148
    I love the old sound and understand where Seb's coming from on this. I also love the crisp high-fidelity sound of les doigts de l'homme and others. But there's something magical about the "low quality" sound.

    Another interesting thing I noticed, there are plenty of times where you can hear Django make mistakes or fart out a note (yes he was human and did screw up in his playing occasionally, no matter how many try to deify him), and for some reason these mistakes somehow sound less.. bad .. on an old recording. When you hear the same kind of little technical mistakes on a modern recording it really sticks out.

    Check out "Duved's Hot Five", some young guys in Paris today. They're a new band so not very well known just now, but it's great playing and they do the old style sound!



    Duved told me they record all together on one mic (a zoom) and then he just fiddles with the EQ a bit to get the sound. Well it sounds so simple but I like the result.

    A few more up there ->

    https://www.youtube.com/user/duved/videos

    Jon
  • TydidesTydides
    Posts: 30
    Jazzaferri wrote: »
    I am of the same mind as Stuart and Teddy in this discussion.

    I disagree with the OP that I must like The old recording sound as its integral. Integral to what? It has nothing to do with his phrasing, his rhymic sense, etc.

    I guess I'm just pointing out that everything is integral, or nothing is. I think everyone knows that, or why would they bother using a selmer, or a string band. Why not use a organ? Notes can be played on any instrument. Every aspect of how they were played matters. Guitar is inherent in his style, but so is the recording, because that's all we have. I think that's SG's point.

    I was just curious why people would obsess over every detail of Django's playing and somehow leave out how it was recorded (except for a minority of people).

    But, in my case, nostalgia or not, I just think it sounds better in general---not just with Django. Recording is your instrument just as much as your guitar is. There isn't a "standard" way to do it now (like there was) any more than there's a standard instrument to play jazz on.

    I'm curious as to whether anyone has done any serious research, like sound engineers, or simply have software ways or modern hardware that achieves something different than: fidelity = good. That just doesn't make sense. I think our love of Django and all classic jazz should inspire us to think differently about how music can or should be recorded in general. It's common to say now that popular recording artists are "overproduced." What if we thought of the recording quality in the same sense? Full fidelity is only live. Period.

    Denis
    [quote=just messed with compression and EQ... there are more authentic ways to achieve this of course (using the right gear), but for people with a DAW, this is easily achieavable... I was also looking into using plugins that simulated vinyl crackle, but it wasn't compatible with my 64 bit system[/quote]

    That sounds great! But how exactly did you mess with the compression and EQ, if you remember?
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,197
    Tydides wrote: »

    I was just curious why people would obsess over every detail of Django's playing and somehow leave out how it was recorded (except for a minority of people).

    Obviously the way Django was recorded affected the sound of his guitar particularly his solo tone but that is true of any recording including those made today. I do agree the impression often given is that Django had one single definitive tone whereas, in reality, it varies considerably from one recording to another depending upon the nature of the recording equipment and the engineer involved. The point I was making is that I do not feel the varied and, by today's standard, archaic equipment used to record him in any way enhanced Django's sound or the perceived quality of his music. I believe the opposite is true.

    Ken Sykora (British guitarist, broadcaster and critic) who had seen Django play in person once said he did not feel any recording truly recreated the beauty of the tone Django achieved.

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