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Dave Kelbie on Gypsy Guitar, Lejazzetal, and More:
I first saw Dave in London in the '90s when he was with Fapy, a couple of times at the old Jackson Lane Theatre, Highgate and later at Ronnie Scott's. Fapy remains a favourite, and Dave certainly showed me there is more than one way to play rhythm; he is great at le pompe when it is needed but he has other ways to swing too.
So, I was not surprised to read:
"....during that time ‘Gypsy jazz’ became the tag, which I think signaled its increased popularity and demise in musicality. Raphael Fays arrived on the scene and then Stochelo Rosenberg and from then everything sped up. I remember Fapy saying “now it’s going to change” and it did. Which is cool for the handful who could play that fast, disaster for almost everyone else who tried."
So true. While I admire and respect the Stochelo/Bireli/Adrien generation and their abilities I have often felt something musical has been pushed aside in the pursuit of technical ability. Certainly if Gypsy Jazz was an Olympic sport those guys would be going for gold. My only worry is that for the future will the next generation of shredders grow from just listening to these star players and be even further removed from the roots and spirit?
But for real GJ music, with soul and feeling? I'll stick with Fapy.
Stochelo/Bireli/Adrien can and do all play with soul and feeling, what a slight to say otherwise! And they play plenty of slower tunes and ballads too, these guys are not just shredders.
I disagree with the idea that there was a demise in musicality. There appeared innovators that took the music different places, that's all. Fapy is great and all, but if everybody was just playing like Fapy for another 20 years, well that would be boring as heck.
I'm reminded of the old codgers complaining that Swing is the only way, Bebop stinks, just set in their ways. Let's not forget that Django would shred like a fiend too, check out the tempo of Impromptu, Babik, Mystery Pacific, Tiger Rag ... even Minor Blues is actually way faster than folks count it in at typical jam session.
Django was the biggest innovator and you would have to say “now it’s going to change” every 5 years of his career, it's not necessarily a bad thing.
well said Wim!
Interesting thread and I can relate to both sides. I was, I imagine like many of us, initially drawn to the wonderful melodies and magical playing of Django and as my interest in the genre grew, I was amazed at the technical wizardry of the speed merchants such as Oberg, Rosenberg, Fays, etc... As time has gone on, I've found that I'm appreciating the more melodic playing of Fapy, Lollo, Matelo, Duved, Saussois etc... and of course always returning to the roots of Django, who remains unique and incomparable unto himself.
Bireli is also unique and incomparable and is in a league of his own and clearly understands his roots, which he shows with his ability to impress with both speed and ballads, while retaining the musical sensibility, that tends to be lost amongst some of the newer generation of players.
The modern speed merchants also tend to lose their general non-guitarist audiences, whereas Fapy always keeps them wanting more.
as long as the tune is in the neighborhood i am fine with speed; but if often gets lost with speed. sometimes without speed as well
No question the so called "speed merchants" have increased their audience among rock musicians. For their ability to shred, but also improvise. [This translates to a wider audience, and more people who will find their way back to Django.] Its mostly all good, but I start to miss the dance music aspect. Taking swing dance lessons really gave me a deeper appreciation for this music. When its time to dance I'm not pulling out the Jimmy Rosenberg recordings. :^)