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countrygypsy S@nderV MaxGuitar

Getting more Ladies into Gypsy Jazz

kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
in Welcome Posts: 405
I have two brilliant plans.

1. Women overwhelmingly gravitate to music with female singers who really convey emotion well. The mistake many people make is get a jazz/lounge type singer and people HATE that. Not to self-promote or anything but. . . Well Laura Iyengar (formerly Gerhard) is as musically intuitive as Gonzalo Bergara in my opinion, has the tone of Jascha Heifetz. In my life I've only seen two standing ovations break out in the MIDDLE of a song, once with Laura, once with Joscho. She is now a resident of North Carolina, we still fly her in to play with us, if you want her to perform on a recording or in a show with you or in a festival I'd be glad to pass on her info. Swing Je T'aime has NO problem attracting a large female audience, we are about 50/50, and I think she well deserves a career outside my group.

2nd Idea: Quinn Bachand, Olli Soikelli, Max O'Rourke, and Daisy Castro all do a tour together. They dress up snazzy, work out, and develop personas - Quinn can be the sweet one, Olli the smooth operator, Max the jock, and Daisy the Bad one. The formula works! That would get BOTH young people AND more ladies into the music. . . two birds with one stone!


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    edited January 2015 Posts: 5,971
    I have noticed over the years that this recording has been the most popular Gypsy jazz CD among female customers:

    What makes it so special? It also happens to be one of the most musical recordings ever made in the genre. It's comprised entirely of waltzes and slow to mid-tempo vocals.
    Matt Mitchellkevorkazito
  • bopsterbopster St. Louis, MOProdigy Altamira M30, Wide Sky PL-1, 1940? French mystery guitar
    Posts: 506
    There are at least 4 ladies that are regular attendees at my biweekly jam. Guitar, violin, accordion and ukelele are their instruments. They are enthusiastic because the gentlemen are welcoming, very supportive and the music is so catchy!
  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    edited January 2015 Posts: 405
    I'm still thinking boy band of the young heart breakers of gypsy jazz + Daisy Castro and the whole genre will have a revival.
  • Hmmmmmmmm.......very interesting...
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • Andrew UlleAndrew Ulle Cleveland, OH✭✭✭ Antoine DiMauro modele Django
    edited January 2015 Posts: 509
    There's a quintet in South Africa (yes, South Africa) comprised of 4 ladies and one lucky guy:
    Wim Glenn
  • Russell LetsonRussell Letson Prodigy
    Posts: 298
    Maybe I inhabit some pocket universe, but in the swing world there are plenty of women--the ones I hang out with at Augusta not only sing but play guitar, bass, uke, fiddle, and (in one exceptional case) trombone. (And in our household, while my lit-teacher/writer wife is strongly logocentric, she still loves Monk, Steph, Django, and Louis as much as Ella, Frank, Tony, Rosie, or Keely.) Of course, there's a slice of the GJ world that runs on testosterone and hot guitar licks, but I've always seen that as a splinter off the main trunk of dance and cabaret music rooted in the 1920s-40s. I always love to see a GJ band include vocals--it was one of the great charms of Hot Club Sandwich. I also recall that Troy Chapman knows his way around a song. And one of my favorite Zoot Sims tracks has him and Buddy Rich singing alternating choruses of "Gee Baby, Ain't I Good to You?" But I digress.

  • kungfumonk007kungfumonk007 ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 405
    My wife pointed out that it is probably correct - that if we just were not so sexist and demeaning to women we would have a bigger audience of women - you know. . . like rap. . . and country. . . and pop. . . and rock. . . all paradigms of virtue in their treatment and portrayal of women.
  • kevingcoxkevingcox Nova Scotia✭✭✭✭ Dupont MD50
    Posts: 298
    What I find interesting about that comment is that it frames women as potential audience members rather than as potential fellow musicians.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 584
    A lot of women play old-timey music - probably 30% of musicians at any old-time fiddler's convention are women and in smaller groups it's often a lot more than that. These are smart and capable women who are simply musicians among musicians - many of the greatest old-timey musicians are women. Why? Old-timey music is modest and collective by nature, no one takes solos and it's all about playing together and getting that groove. It's easy and fun to play, and while there are contests, it's not really about those contests - and there are no "stars". The culture is established and while it's maybe a bit on the hippie side, deviation is welcome and it's friendly to all. There is a vast and well-connected network of players across the country. No one cares what kind of instrument you have - fiddles and banjos rarely have a visible label. It's about friends and family; I have many friends that I've played OTM with for over 30 years, and we've watched each others kids grow up, worked on each others houses, rode motorcycles together. Plus the final element - the strong romantic ideals that are so much a part of OTM culture.

    GJ, for all that I like about it, has a different social aesthetic because it's a boys club of like-minded individuals, with certain hierarchies which doesn't appeal to all musicians. The romance is mostly gone, replaced by various obsessions - technique, speed and equipment, which typically are things that appeal to men. It's fun to play but extraordinarily challenging for a hobby musician. It feels like a boys club because it is a boys club, and I don't see that changing any time soon. So don't expect many women to enlist.

    You see the exact same thing with Joe Satriani or Mike Stern - you won't see many women at their concerts either.

    My 2 cents, of course.

    Matt MitchelljonpowlJSanta
  • Bob HoloBob Holo Moderator
    edited January 2015 Posts: 1,252
    Two of the founding members of Portland's GJ scene are women. Quite a few women spanning quite a range of backgrounds and ages have been keystones of the scene since its inception here in the late '90s. I suppose there are more men in it, but if that ratio were to invert, no one would even blink. It's about the music and friendship.

    The problem we've had is not one of exclusion but of inclusion... of people who had no respect for the culture & music. There used to be four public GJ jams in Portland. It was brilliant. Musicians who've attended public GJ jams in Portland include Dennis, Romain, Tchavolo, Adrian, Stephane, Roy, Adrien, Mathieu, Jeremie, Gonzalo, Jeff, Brian, Rob, Sebastien, Mano, Samson, Norig, Lulo, Doug.... and on and on and on.... becuause that's what happens when you have a really vibrant jam community. But then we lost two jams because we attracted a group of hipsters who lived next to the Star-E-Rose cafe. The first one of them to attend the jam was AWESOME and we were all psyched that this young hipper-than-thou guy wanted to learn about GJ. But then his friends started showing up with ukuleles and banjolins and tinwhistles. They were there to be "ironic" and sing over people's solos and be assholes. The Star-E-Rose coffee house and the Clinton Street Cafe politely restricted and then closed the two jams they attended. We tried to get them to embrace GJ music and learn about its roots and artists and style so they could be part of the jam, but they were simply there to be immature. A big blow--up happened about whether the Portland GJ community needed to lay some ground-rules or uphold our spirit of complete openness. We chose openness believing it was the right thing to do and trusting that the strength of the community would prevail.

    Within a few months, half of the public jam scene died.

    Then we lost the "It's a Wonderful Pizza" pizza-pub jam when a group of bluegrassers joined the jam and began inviting their friends and trying to transform it into a bluegrass jam. GJ musicians stopped going and the restaurant closed the jam. I was one of the guys who stopped going, so I don't know the specifics of why the jam died a few months later.

    So there was one public jam left... the Moon & Sixpence pub jam... not sure what happened. I hadn't jammed in a while because I was building a lot in preparation for Djangofest. One day the email Djam-report from the Moon & Six said: "A saw player and a ukulele player attended." A few months later, the jam was closed at the request of the pub.

    Anyway, now the only public jam that features any GJ is an old-timey / swing jam in the parking lot of an eco-bicycle-store-coffee-bar. Make no mistake about it... there are still a lot of people who get together to jam privately, but the public GJ jam scene has changed and a lot of dedicated GJ players are gun-shy about public jams.

    But to the point of inclusion... I miss it. GJ jams are now Invitation-only and the quality of music is higher because they happen mostly between gigging musicians - and I love my friends and hanging out with them - I don't do it enough. But I miss the big raucous messy family oriented public jam scene. I watched three of my local friend's kids grow up from learning a G chord to becoming better players than I'll ever be. I can't count the number of times I've jammed as kids danced around in the center of the jam circle.

    So this is a ramble... Yes I was up late last night with a fretboard that took some extra TLC, but this inclusiveness thing is something I've been thinking about for years now. How do you build a big inclusive creative jam scene and protect it from rigidity, stupidity, self-entitlement, and people who have no respect for community?

    Adrian & Aaron, I'm not by any means a sensitive or PC kind of person, but the fact of the matter is that regardless of any crap you may take for raising the "broaden the community" idea and whether I agree on which words are or aren't offensive... I think that the topic you've raised is among the most important raised on this board in half a decade.

    How do we take our interest and passion and turn it into communities that celebrate the music we enjoy. Without that, it's all just wanking.

    Who on this board runs or is part of a thriving and kickass open jam and how do you keep it that way? Anyone who has ever been to a Sinti camp will tell you it's all about community; so if we're not doing it like that - maybe we have a lot to learn.

    You get one chance to enjoy this day, but if you're doing it right, that's enough.
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