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Thread: Gypsy Jazz Soloing

  1. #1
    JazzRocks! thekid's Avatar
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    Gypsy Jazz Soloing

    I have been trying to play some Django Reinhardt style jazz.
    I'm wondering what scales I should use to solo over a chart like this to get that "gypsy jazz" sound.
    (Djangology):
    AMaj Cm6 GMaj Bbm6 Am6 D7 G6/9 Rpt

    Ab6/9 A6/9


    AMaj Cm6 GMaj Bbm6 Am6 D7 G6/9


    Can you help?

  2. #2
    Jonathan Stout
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    For one, your chords are not quite right. Understanding the chords in context will make the song a lot easier to understand.

    Here are the right chords:
    A7 --- / Cm6 --- / G/B --- / Bbdim --- / Am7 --- / D7 --- / G6 --- / ---- /

    Think about it like this

    II7 --- / iv --- / I --- / iiibdim --- / ii7 --- / V7 ---- / I --- / ---- /

    Some things to think about in any pre-bop style. These are some the essential harmonic hallmarks of the dixie / hot jazz / swing / hot club styles.
    Generally, all minor chords are voiced as min6 chords, unless they are part of a ii-V move, in which case it'd be a min7. Most major chords are voiced as 6th - never as a maj7, unless its a II7 or V7.
    -Jonathan Stout
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    "I don't dig that two beat jive the New Orleans cats play. My boys and I have four heavy beats to the bar and no cheating!" --Count Basie

  3. #3
    Registered User dandan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Campus Five
    For one, your chords are not quite right. Understanding the chords in context will make the song a lot easier to understand.

    Here are the right chords:
    A7 --- / Cm6 --- / G/B --- / Bbdim --- / Am7 --- / D7 --- / G6 --- / ---- /

    Think about it like this

    II7 --- / iv --- / I --- / iiibdim --- / ii7 --- / V7 ---- / I --- / ---- /

    Some things to think about in any pre-bop style. These are some the essential harmonic hallmarks of the dixie / hot jazz / swing / hot club styles.
    Generally, all minor chords are voiced as min6 chords, unless they are part of a ii-V move, in which case it'd be a min7. Most major chords are voiced as 6th - never as a maj7, unless its a II7 or V7.
    thanks for the insight

  4. #4
    Jonathan Stout
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    Also, notice that the song (like most pre-bop song) is mostly diatonic. The II7 and iv are standard variances, and the iiibdim is just a connector between the ii and V. Do youself a favor and experiment playing in G over the whole A section and see what notes don't work where.
    -Jonathan Stout
    www.campusfive.com
    www.swingguitar.blogspot.com
    "I don't dig that two beat jive the New Orleans cats play. My boys and I have four heavy beats to the bar and no cheating!" --Count Basie

  5. #5
    JazzRocks! thekid's Avatar
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    Thanks for the correction. Here are my sources. http://www.hotclub.co.uk/
    But how do you solo over those chords to get the Reinhardt sound?

  6. #6
    www.jakehanlon.com Jakeweiser's Avatar
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    you transcribe Django

    That's one way. FUndamentally pre-bop players didn't focus on a 'scale' approach to their playing (neither did beboppers really). Gypsy players used arppegios heavily and a more 16th note pulse rather then a swing 8th note/Tripplete approach to their improvisations.

    You might want to take a real close listen to Django and find a program for your computer to slow him down. That's the thing with him, he burns so fast that it's hard to grab everything in your ears. Go download Transcribe! or Best Practice and slow him down by about %50 and you'll see he's not using any insane devices, lots of minor arppegio runs, blues inflections etc. He's not doing anything as harmonically sophisticated as Beboppers were despite his influence on a lot of players.
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  7. #7
    Jonathan Stout
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    Quote Originally Posted by thekid
    Thanks for the correction. Here are my sources. http://www.hotclub.co.uk/
    But how do you solo over those chords to get the Reinhardt sound?
    When you play rhythm, the notes you're playing in those chords could be called either what I call them or what the website calls them. However, they don't make as much harmonic sense. It takes a while to recognize some of the ideosyncratic tricks. Often something voiced as a m6 chord on rhythm guitar could actually be functioning as a dim, etc.

    How do you sound like django? Geez, let me first create world peace, because that would take less time.

    Ok, 1) use argeggios, 2) use G major scale, 3) use the G major pentatonic scale - G, A, B, D, E, G (which is basically a G6/9 arpeggio). Listen to django and fake it. Other than actually transcribing his figures and understanding them, that's about it.

    Also, I wouldn't start with a tunes like Djangology - the changes are actually kind of a bitch. I have an article on my blog with a list of tunes that are essential beginning swing and django-style players, and a description of how the chords work. The link is at the bottom. Also, there is a link on the right side of my blog to Nuages de Swing, a french website that has play along tracks and the chords written out. That would be a good resource as well.
    -Jonathan Stout
    www.campusfive.com
    www.swingguitar.blogspot.com
    "I don't dig that two beat jive the New Orleans cats play. My boys and I have four heavy beats to the bar and no cheating!" --Count Basie

  8. #8
    Banned User Vihar's Avatar
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  9. #9
    Jonathan Stout
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    Quote Originally Posted by ingeneri
    Doesn't Django and gypsy style in general use a particular picking technique (ie. all downstrokes instead of alt.)?

    Also, I'm assuming his fingerings were completely different since he only had two fingers. I think he moved up and down the neck alot more than your mere 5 fingered mortal.

    But I'm firmly in the Charlie Christian school and have never really read up on gypsy techniques.
    Honestly, if someone is looking for what "scales" to use over those changes they probably have bigger fish to fry than some of the ideosyncratic nitpicky details.

    Worry about being able to play something compentent over those changes first. If you can express yourself good, then worry about taping your fingers, or picking paterns. Honestly, you can eventually develop many of "tricks" if you listen to a lot of django, and try to emulate the sound.

    One of the things I don't like about some of the people in the modern django movement is loss of its jazz tradition. It's more of a folk tradition, where replication is great. A lot of the scene is just a cult of Django, rather than being jazz musicians who like playing that style. I know there are way too many sax players who are soulless Coltrane clones, but not many of them will quote entire trane solos, and record exact transcriptions of trane's solos. I can't tell you how many recordings of "Minor Swing" have the entire 1937 django solo quoted. WTF? A big part of that scene is obsessing over the little nuances.

    Learning other people's solos are an integral part of the jazz tradition, but the Django scene often goes to far in just regurgitating Django. So, that's why I'm hestitant to suggest worrying about so many of the ideosynchratic technical details.

    Also, thinking about chords in the way they were originally posted shows a lack of understanding of the approach to the ideom. Trying think modally over those changes is not going to get you a Django sound. Understanding them as the musicians of the era understood them is going to get you a lot farther than picking in all downstrokes.
    -Jonathan Stout
    www.campusfive.com
    www.swingguitar.blogspot.com
    "I don't dig that two beat jive the New Orleans cats play. My boys and I have four heavy beats to the bar and no cheating!" --Count Basie

  10. #10
    Banned User Vihar's Avatar
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    Those fast tremoloed glissandos are impossible to do with only downstrokes.

  11. #11
    www.jazzto.ca JazzTO's Avatar
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    I'd cut off a finger or two if you really want to be authentic, and if your looking for a style of your own maybe a foot to boot.

    - Get it? Foot to boot! Get it?

  12. #12
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    Wink

    After you've satisfied your thirst for Django, pick up a copy of Chester and Lester (Chet Atkins and Les Paul). You'll be in for some fun there....

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