Django Legacy – The Music of Django Reinhardt & the Birth of...

DjangoBooksDjangoBooks Seattle✭✭✭ All of them!
edited March 2015 in History Posts: 447
imageDjango Legacy – The Music of Django Reinhardt & the Birth of...

by Denis Chang Since the early 2000s, there has been a global surge in the popularity of Gypsy Jazz and the music of Django Reinhardt. Many articles have been written about it, and many myths have been perpetuated as to the origins of Gypsy Jazz. As of this date of January 23rd (Django’s...

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Charles MeadowsNonergriceJazzaferriRob MacKillopBuco


  • MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
    Posts: 6,155
    Enjoy this in-depth look at the origins of the Gypsy jazz genre....thanks Denis!
  • HomzyHomzy
    Posts: 5
    From my research, I came to the conclusion that one of the greatest American musicians, Duke Ellington, made an astounding statement by hiring Django to concertize with him on a tour beginning in my home-town of Cleveland in 1946. Ellington, the innovator, recognized Django, the innovator. Ellington had never-before-or-afterwards hired a guest instrumentalist to play with his orchestra - unless one considers, as do I, the remarkable Alice Babs as Ellington's last major soloist and equal to the best instrumentalists.

    And check this out -
  • KarloKarlo Croatia✭✭ Cigano
    Posts: 13
    Awesome article deserving a big thank you!

    That, and I must second stuart's "question" regarding gypsy waltzes.
  • edited January 2015 Posts: 3,707
    Thanks Dennis....this IMO should be made a sticky......not quite sure where yet.

    Very useful reading for newbies in pArticular
    The Magic really starts to happen when you can play it with your eyes closed
  • pickitjohnpickitjohn South Texas Corpus, San Antonio, AustinVirtuoso Patenotte 260
    Posts: 936
    Thanks Denis!

    What a treat as always, I feel I was in a Class that I Love and can't wait for the next one.

    So Glad this Community is here, the Wealth of Knowledge Shared is Appreciated.

  • dennisdennis Montreal, QuebecModerator
    Posts: 2,161
    stuart wrote: »
    1. I was wondering about the pedagogic tradition that has grown up around gypsy jazz in Sinti culture. This seems to me to be quite unique. Django himself didn't teach his sons to play, but we have probably all come across gypsy players who have trained their sons in the style from a young age. There's a brilliant video of Dorado teaching Samson Minor Swing. I was wondering how much that cemented particular aspects of Django's style into a genre and tradition.

    I wrote somewhat extensively about this in the french GJ forums a while back if anyone reads French I'd have to locate the actual post but it was a reply to someone who tried to create an online gypsy jazz school with actual gypsy players, but i told him it would be very difficult and explained why. he was confident it would work and was advertising it, even had promo videos, went against my advice, and now, i was right, it never happened ;-).

    Well, the pedagogic tradition is simple, there isn't really one particular system, and when many of them teach, it's not really specific lessons in the form of "Ok , on Am7, play this scale, and arpeggio". It's more generic advice : "you play too loud/use your wrist/ slow down/it doesn't sound right". You can already see that in the Dorado video with Samson... Off the top of my head, the words that Dorado was using in romani were along the lines of "here/ no, here / there we go / slowly"

    I know in Belgium/Holland where they have a lot of family gatherings and jams. It's basically the adults jamming together, then a curious kid might pick up a guitar and try to follow... someone might show them a few basic shapes, and from there the kid has to figure it out on his own... if the adults see that he has a good sense of observation, they'll show him a bit more, and on and on it goes. If the kid sucks, they make him play the bass hahahahaha.

    For a lot of the best Dutch players, the main source of inspiration was Wasso Grunholz. He is the son of Latscheben Grunholz who is the grandfather of Stochelo. Latscheben was not much of a guitar player, but he was playing with his brothers Piotto (Tcha's grandfather) and Bamboula Ferre (I mentioned this in the article). They weren't really jazz musicians, just 3 guys who learned a lot of old melodies and played them very well.

    Wasso does not improvise very much, and a lot of his solos are constructed, but he is a prolific composer and arranger. He has a great talent for coming up with beautiful chord voicings/progressions and very beautiful lines. He was the main source of inspiration for all our favorite Dutch players.

    I could probably write another aticle one day about this, but by and large , what i wrote above is how things generally work. The student is shown a few basic things and has to rely on his intuition to figure out the rest. So it makes sense that those who have the biggest sense of observation go on to be the best in their community, and those who don't are just occasional players.

  • MischaMischa
    Posts: 5
    Interesting article, Denis. To add to the cultural stew surrounding what's jazz and what's Gypsy jazz, Elios Ferré once told a story about his father, Matelo, hearing Charlie Parker playing bebop and joking, "He plays so well, he must be a Gypsy!"
  • MischaMischa
    Posts: 5
    I think one other aspect that bears mention is the influence of flamenco guitar styles on Django. He likely heard flamenco played in Paris early on and/or doing his summertime travels to the south of France. Hot Club founder Jacques Bureau remembered that at some of the early concerts the club organized in the years before the QHCF was formed, Django would play flamenco solo pieces as he "knew little about jazz at that time." And I always thought it fascinating that when asked to record some solo improvisations during sessions in England, he fell back on flamenco-flavored stylings. It'd be interesting if someone who knew more about flamenco analyzed Django's early music...
  • Kevin FurnissKevin Furniss France✭✭ AJL 503 XO
    Posts: 85
    those who don't are just occasional players.

    If someone could occassionaly play this music I would be mighty impressed -its a bit like doing the occassion Formula 1 Race :)
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