All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
PPT Mouthpieces

Jazz Django Reinhardt - Minor Swing

saxplorer

Senior Member
Messages
878
Location
Surrey, UK
One of the pieces I'm having to work up to play at a gig next week.

Such a fun piece ..... not least the "Nyaaaaahhhhhyeaahhhhhh" at the end :D

 
Last edited by a moderator:

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Café Supporter
Messages
4,942
Location
Surrey, UK
Great piece. What instrument line-up are you playing it with ?

One of my play-alongs has this but with piano rather than Gypsy rhythm guitar and it just doesn't sound as good. But soprano sax can do a pretty good job of pretending to be a violin.

There is a Django-influenced band that plays/played around my area called 'Club Tatou' with a very good clarinet / soprano sax lead.

Good luck. Can you record the gig ?

Rhys
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,770
Location
Ilkley West Yorkshire
This is a piece that my daughter and I play at family gatherings. Kate used to make me stand in the hallway when I played tenor on this as I got a bit carried away. Now I've got my alto she seems a little happier.
Gypsy jazz seems to be made for guitar and alto/clarinet.

Good look with the gig Andrew....Ahhhhhhhyeh.
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Location
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
Several years ago I used to teach Pete Berryman Cornish language. He played with Ralph McTell, Clive Palmer, the Famous Jug Band, the Incredible String Band and I don't know who else. In recent years he has played a lot with Adrian O'Reilly, another Cornwall-based musicion - a great collaboration.

Pete is a big Django fan, even taking it so far one time to fall with a beer glass in his hand and sever nerves in his left wrist. Luckily a micro-surgeon happened to be in Treliske Hospital when he was taken in and managed to sew as many as he could back together.

The result - he now only has the use of two and a half fingers on his left hand, just as Django had after trying to rescue his guitar from his burning caravan. You can take imitation too far... not that his style is a Django imitation at all.

I haven't seen Pete for a while. I've got a few of his CDs - very good stuff indeed. A favourite of mine is his treatment of "Delyow Syvi" ('Strawberry Leaves") a traditional Cornish song with a beautiful, haunting melody which Pete uses as a point of departure for some great improvisation.

I've just noticed Pete has some stuff up on youtube which I've just looked at. Some of the stuff was recorded live in a club in Bristol and the quality of the recording is terrible! It's a problem with acoustic guitar - it's either stand within arms length or hope the guitarist stands close enough to a good mic with a decent speaker system... which it looks like the club didn't have! On his website there are some sample tracks from some of his cds. I couldn't get them to play - the fault of my computer setup, I think. Oh well... live (if you stand near enough or whatever) and properly recorded he sounds great.

Incidentally I recently picked up a Reinhardt CD entitled Djangology (that and 22 other tracks) for around a fiver (new) in 'Music Nostalgia' shop in Truro which I mentioned in another thread. Django's melodic lines and the way he and Grappelly structure their performances is an object lesson whatever instrument you play.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

saxplorer

Senior Member
Messages
878
Location
Surrey, UK
Great piece. What instrument line-up are you playing it with ?

One of my play-alongs has this but with piano rather than Gypsy rhythm guitar and it just doesn't sound as good. But soprano sax can do a pretty good job of pretending to be a violin.

There is a Django-influenced band that plays/played around my area called 'Club Tatou' with a very good clarinet / soprano sax lead.

Good luck. Can you record the gig ?

Rhys

For that day we have Keyboards, Bass, Guitar, Tenor (me) and Clarinet.

Re recording, I'll have my trusty Zoom H2n to hand, so we'll see what emerges :D
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,996
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
I take my hat off to you - try as hard as I can and I still can't get my tenor sax to sound like a cornet.

How do you do it?

Just put a flake in it and a few sprinkles.

I wonder why it's called Gypsy jazz/swing?

These guys were knocking it out decades before. Don't think they were Romany

http://youtu.be/ZNrzvUSHJ6I

I bought an album at a jumble sale back in the late 70's and discovered them. Try not tapping your foot.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Location
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
Just put a flake in it and a few sprinkles.

I wonder why it's called Gypsy jazz/swing?

These guys were knocking it out decades before. Don't think they were Romany

http://youtu.be/ZNrzvUSHJ6I

I bought an album at a jumble sale back in the late 70's and discovered them. Try not tapping your foot.

Yes indeed Eddie Lang and Joe Venuti. A pal had an EP (those were the days - or not) and yes, they swing!

Also worth listening to are the Mound City Blue Blowers. Eddie Condon has some amusing recollections of them in his autobiography 'We called it Music' - out of print, but you might be lucky in secondhand bookshops or fleabay.

Condon was exceedingly articulate and his writings on the origins of jazz, what makes jazz musicians tick and so forth, are well worth reading. Fanciful, yes, poetic licence, yes, hyperbole, yes - but all these things, like satire, can cast a light on the truth more revealing than mere facts.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Location
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
Originally Posted by kernewegor
I take my hat off to you - try as hard as I can and I still can't get my tenor sax to sound like a cornet.

How do you do it?



Colin the Bear - Just put a flake in it and a few sprinkles.

You little devil you!

Colin the Bear - I wonder why it's called Gypsy jazz/swing?

Indeed. Never heard it called that. Someone has made it up.

While they did swing (like mad) they didn't play "swing"... which is Glen Miller and so on... not that I need to tell you that, mind, but some of these young 'uns might need eddicatin'...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,770
Location
Ilkley West Yorkshire
I consider Joe Venuti a more accomplished violin player than Grappelli, far more imaginative.
As time went on Grappelli started to sound very jaded. I think Django used to annoy him so much, (playing rehearsed tunes at double tempo without warning during recording sessions etc) that he "batted well above his average".

Eddie Lang came from an Italian String Band tradition and played guitar in his family band. Lang and Venuti could really swing and Django emulated then innovated. I just love it all. Never got to grips with Eddie Condon though. I think he played a four string tenor guitar. Very unusual.
 

saxplorer

Senior Member
Messages
878
Location
Surrey, UK
Another one I'm enjoying working on for the weekend ...


Now I have to sound like Sam Butera?!!?? :w00t:
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Location
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
I consider Joe Venuti a more accomplished violin player than Grappelli, far more imaginative.
As time went on Grappelli started to sound very jaded. I think Django used to annoy him so much, (playing rehearsed tunes at double tempo without warning during recording sessions etc) that he "batted well above his average".

Yes, There was personal friction. Part of it was that Django was just too much of a gypsy for Grapelli (being loaned a house in Paris and using furniture for firewood - you know, little un-French things like that). Django notoriously refused to discuss music theory (strange name for music custom and practice, I've often thought) and Grapelli having difficulty trying to keep up with him didn't help.

Eddie Lang came from an Italian String Band tradition and played guitar in his family band. Lang and Venuti could really swing and Django emulated then innovated. I just love it all. Never got to grips with Eddie Condon though. I think he played a four string tenor guitar. Very unusual.

Condon's contribution to jazz is easily overlooked on the evidence of recordings. He was well regarded in the rhythm section, but never recorded a solo. However he ran and recorded with several bands and one of his bands was the first 'mixed' band (black and white musicians) to record in the USA - he was racially colour-blind. Being Irish American helped: his father - in turn a publican and a policeman - very publicly refused to discriminate against black people, in the days when such morality was neither fashionable nor profitable. Condon did an awful lot to promote jazz and organized jazz concerts in prestigious venues to get it recognized as music of value rather than a mere accompaniment to dancing and providing background noise in brothels and bars.

But you'd never guess this from any recording....

If you ever see a copy of his autobiography "We Called it Music" grab it - a raconteur in the best Irish American tradition, racy prose, crackling humour and full of detailed insight into the character and behavior of musicians in that era and their music: of the young Bud Freeman he said something like "...everything the kid played came out as 'China Boy' ... when I saw him a year later he had improved somewhat...". The book is dedicated to Bix Beiderbecke, renowned for his sartorial inelegance and dying young: "To Bix. I hope he isn't wearing one of his hats."

When I get my computer sorted I'll see if I can scan some extracts for your delectation...
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Location
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
I realise that this is moving away from the thread somewhat, but here is a review of Condon's autobiography:

Eddie Condon (1905–1973) pioneered a kind of jazz popularly known as Chicago-Dixieland, though musicians refer to it simply as Condon style. Played by small ensembles with driving beat, it was and is an informal, exciting music, slightly disjointed and often mischievous. The same could be said of Condon's autobiography, We Called It Music, a book widely celebrated for capturing the camaraderie of early jazz. Condon's wit was as legendary as the music he boosted. Here is Condon on modern jazz: "The boppers flat their fifths. We consume ours." On Bix Beiderbecke: "The sound came out like a girl saying yes." On the New York subway: "It was my first ride in a sewer." When his memoir was first published—to great acclaim—in 1947, he was well known as a newspaper columnist, radio personality, saloon keeper, guitarist, and bandleader. He was the ideal man to come up with an insightful portrait of the early days of white jazz, and his book offers nonpareil accounts of many of the jazz greats of that era, including Beiderbacke, Fats Waller, Jack Teagarden, Jimmy McPartland, Gene Krupa, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and Bing Crosby.These were the days when jazz was popularly associated with Paul Whiteman and Irving Berlin. Condon considered true jazz an outlaw music and himself an outlaw. He and his cohorts tried to get as close as possible to the black roots of jazz, a scandalous thing in the '20s. Along the way he facilitated one of the first integrated recording sessions.We Called It Music, now published with an introduction by Gary Giddins that places the book in historical context, remains essential reading for anyone interested in the wild and restless beginnings of America's great musical art, or in the wit and vinegar of Eddie Condon.

NB - the reference to a fifth refers to the US spirits measure (now obsolete?) being a fifth of a (US) gallon which works out at 750ml - coincidentally the standard size for a wine bottle.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Location
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
The tendency of threads to veer off topic is one of the joys of this Cafe :D

I think I want to read that autobiography, sounds wonderful.

I have just seen that paperback reprints are available from various sources. Amazon are doing them for £9.99. I don't know of any other book that gets you inside the music and the heads of musicians and of American society and American social history (of a limited cross section of society, admittedly) of that period as well as this - and its a great read!

Even if jazz of that period (or even jazz at all) is not your thing, by dealing with a particular music in a particular society it stimulates thought about music of any type anywhere.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,420
Location
Coulsdon, London/Surrey
Well I find myself in a bit of healthy disagreement. Venuti and Lang knew each other from boyhood and played well together and although Venuti was a very good musician, the star of the duo for me was Eddie Lang. Venuti was sometimes good as on the youtube clip, but he was also often stilted and shrill. There was friction between Django and Stephane Grappelli, but for me it didn't show in the Hot Club Quintet recordings ; the pair complemented each other brilliantly in music even if their personal approach to life differed radically. Much as I like the Venuti/Lang recordings (and the contribution they made to Bix's work), technically, melodically, harmonically and rhythmically, Django and Grappelli were far ahead of them.

And far from being jaded, my view is that Stephane Grappelli got better as the years went on as he worked as a solo artist. He was always fluent and could stretch out in long solos without losing structure. I saw him several times at Ronnie Scott's in the 1970s and he was always a delight. Even at his 80th birthday concert at the Barbican in London pretty well his only concession to age was to sit down.

I never like the term Gypsy jazz either, but I guess it came from Django's Manouche background. It was a convenient tag to hang on the first European jazz to have an impact in America and on American jazz musicians.
 

Popular Discussions

Top Bottom