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Django vs. Modern players

edited September 2007 in Gypsy Jazz 101 Posts: 33
I am new to this genre. After listening for a few months to the great modern day Gypsy style players like Birelli, Stochelo and Angelo, among other great players, and then listening to Django himself, on record, I have come to the conclusion that the modern day players can play circles around Django, technically. Of course he set the style. At least I think so. It seems to me that Django,s music is meant for dancing. I really don't hear in Django's playing that extreme virtuosic speed exhibited in Birelli Lagrene, Jimmy Rosenberg, etc. Django seems to me to be more concerned with playing "nice" dance music.

I am asking two things here. 1 - is Django the first player in this style and who were his contemporaries?
2. How did this style of music develop to todays super virtuosic picking and super hot, flashy technique?

Thanks everyone. I am just trying to understand this music.


  • django'spooltalentdjango'spooltalent ✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 71

    I still think Django is better. Although you say technically, anyone can get better technically if they practice enough. Today's players all play too fast and sometimes forget the emotional melodic part of the song. One interesting quality about gypsy jazz players now a days is a their combination of styles from bebop, Latin, etc mixed with gypsy jazz.

    If anything, Django's timing (only when playing instruments) was impeccable! It seems as if he could float around a song and still keep in time. Speed isn't everything, and from what I've experienced, many well known musicians start out playing fast, but when they get to a virtuoistic status, they play slow beautiful notes.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    You'll find a great post about the timeline of players (including Django's contemporaries) here:

    The technique question is a little harder to answer-there have been monster players throughout-but in general I think most of what you're talking about can be traced to the Rosenbergs (especially Stochelo and, later, Jimmy) and a few others. That hyper-articulate style, to my ears, was popularized by The Rosenberg Trio. Most earlier recordings in the style (e.g. Fapy, WASO) tend to be more Djangocentric, comparitively laid-back records.

  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    Also, you might check out M. Dregni's Illustrated History of Gypsy Jazz, which has a lot of great information about the birth and growth of the style:


  • ElliotElliot Madison, WisconsinNew
    Posts: 551
    There are so many cooks, we forget about who wrote the recipes. It is all about musical ideas. Django still has more of them, and they are of a higher, more beautiful, ethereal nature than any of his followers. Only Fapy has had the genius of being able to grasp Django's own esthetic and to incorporate the kind of Bachian certitude that makes one feel like they're gliding effortless over the changes along with him (although I've been very partial to Daniel Givone lately for this reason). But at the same time only Debarre has actually made me sweat listening to him and first understand what 'hot' means in this genre. And extra points goes to Tchavolo, the most gypsy of them all!
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