July Song Of The Month: Douce Ambiance

MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-30, Altamira M-10
in History Posts: 389

This months song is extremely popular but I never get tired of playing it. In fact, if I had to make a list of top 5 favorite GJ songs to play (topic for another thread here?), this tune would surely be on it. I love everything about it: the driving intro and outro, the endless possibilities of great minor soloing over the A sections, the hip B section, the super cool walkdown at the end of the b section, it's got it all.

It was written by Django & Stephane, and interestingly, Django only recorded it twice (Feb of '43 and Nov of '47). Both versions feature the clarinet. Here's a link to the first recorded version:

Depending on who you ask, translated into English, it roughly means "sweet mood". Other notable versions include those by Angelo Debarre, The Rosenberg Trio and Stephane Wrembel Trio. But for a real treat, check out Joe Pass' version of it, especially the live one. Pass was a huge Django fan, which makes his handling of it quite a tribute from one of the all time greats of the jazz guitar. I'll post the chart that my band uses (as well as a link to Joe Pass' version) later.



  • edited July 2023 Posts: 283

    I don't think Stephane wrote it. He would have been in England at the time and it's likely he would have had a violin on the 43 recording.

    Just a guess.

  • billyshakesbillyshakes NoVA✭✭✭ Park Avance - Dupont Nomade - Dupont DM-50E
    Posts: 1,336

    I remember this discussion about various chord inversions/subs from a few years back on this tune. Thought others that missed it the first time around might find it interesting.

  • pdgpdg ✭✭
    Posts: 472

    As long as everyone playing agrees on that chord in the 15th measure -- whether it's Ab7, A7, or even Am7b5 (a friend of mine plays that). Of course, the melody note has to coincide with the chord!

  • DoubleWhiskyDoubleWhisky Upper FranconiaNew Dupont MD60, 1940s Castelluccia
    Posts: 140

    One of my all time favourite pieces in the history of arranged noise and that '43 recording especially has an extra place in my heart.

    Learning the Brady Winterstein solo from the DC music school course at the moment, also very tasteful.

  • Jangle_JamieJangle_Jamie Scottish HighlandsNew De Rijk, some Gitanes and quite a few others
    Posts: 206

    We tried Douce Ambiance as a waltz on Sunday at our little jam session. It works quite well! Try it

  • wimwim ChicagoModerator Barault #503 replica
    Posts: 1,459

    What a great tune. In my band, where we liked to mangle all the French titles for fun, we called it "Douche Ambulance".

    At DIJ once, Holovaty called it in a jam with "it's time to drop the deuce" and had everyone laughing their asses off

    I like to play big chords on the intro, making sure to keep that D melody note on top there. Try these out

    [2x023x] D
    [3x233x] G-
    [02213x] E7
    [13323x] F
    [x1333x] Bb
    [xx133x] Eb
    [5x553x] A-11
    [4x453x] Ab7

  • PhilPhil Portland, ORModerator Anastasio
    Posts: 772

    One of my favourite versions is on Ferre Brothers "Pour Django " album

  • PhilPhil Portland, ORModerator Anastasio
    Posts: 772

    LoL! We also have fun mangling names of tuned, eg Mahna de Carnival becomes Man eating carnivore!🙃

  • MikeKMikeK Asheville, NCNew Altamira M-30, Altamira M-10
    Posts: 389

    Good thread, I appreciate all of the comments & participation. Here's a link to Joe Pass' version:

  • DoubleWhiskyDoubleWhisky Upper FranconiaNew Dupont MD60, 1940s Castelluccia
    Posts: 140

    Nice chords! I also like big chords for the intro and I too play a G# in the bass for the last chord, although I play a D7/G#. That chord somehow has a very djangoesque timbre to my ears although of course he never played it like that. I play it with thumb over like that: [45453x]

    A short snippet from our rehearsal yesterday for how it sounds like in context:

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