"The Music of Django Reinhardt" by Benjamin Givan

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"The Music of Django Reinhardt" by Benjamin Givan

Postby Dennis » Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:48 pm

Any body heard of or read this?

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Music-Django-Re ... 0472034081

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Postby Thrip » Fri Feb 19, 2010 3:07 pm

I've got one on order. Will let you know when I've read it. Apparently it's quite dry and academic.
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Postby neill » Tue Feb 23, 2010 2:54 pm

My mum got me this book for christmas - thanks mum! I've read it and, although it is undoubtedly academic, found it a very interesting read. Firstly, if its life story and history that you're after - look elsewhere because this book is all about the music! Secondly, if you've absolutely no idea about theory you'll probably have absolutely no idea what this book is on about for the most part! However, I'm no great theorist by any stretch of the imagination. You need to have a basic understanding of music though, as the book has a huge amount of musical examples in standard notation ( there's a little bit of TAB at the beginning ). Its the kind of book you'll need to have a guitar by your side too, unless you're that good with your theory/ear that you can read and hear the musical examples in your head.. In very basic terms Givan indentifies certain musical formulae (about 50 i think ) that Django used in his solos then applies them, with an in depth analysis, to 3 or 4 classic full solos (See you in my dreams, Melodie au Crepuscule etc) and many other excerpts from a range of Django solos. As well this, Givan also explores the chronological musical evolution of Django and analyses things like how Django absorbed Bebop etc. There is much, much more than this in the book but if you're interested in the above then I'd go ahead and order it up! It's around the £20 mark I believe.. Hope that helps.. Neill
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Postby Dennis » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:32 am

Neill,

Thanks for that.

I still can't make up my mind whether to go for it or not....

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Postby Dennis » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:33 am

Neill,

Thanks for that.

I still can't make up my mind whether to go for it or not....

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Postby Djangoslefthandman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 2:04 pm

It all depends what you are hoping to get from the book.

There are more accessible methods of learniing to play in the style (e.g. Denis Changs great videos) and better biographies (Dregni).

What he does is apply various techniques to analyse Django's style and it"s subsequent development. A reasonable background in music theory would be helpful as it is clearly an academic study. You'll also benefit from having the recordings he is refering too (some of which are quite obscure).

I'm enjoying it as it's leading me to listen to the recordings from different angles and get deeper into the music. Also I'm biased as he agrees with me (see previous posts) that he can hear Charlie Christian in some Django's post war playing - even cites the same recording.

Would Django have been conscious of using any of the techniques in book ? Of course not but as means of studying his artistry and an attempt at modelling his methods it's a serious contribution.

Worth the outlay IMHO.
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Postby neill » Wed Feb 24, 2010 4:49 pm

i agree with that djangoslefthandman, i meant to mention that you need a pretty comprehensive collection of djangos recordings too..
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Postby Djangoslefthandman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:11 pm

Yeah, it does make you wonder how typical some of those phrases are when he is referencing such little heard tunes.

On the plus side we get to listen to some nice stuff which might have passed by unnoticed.

I thought the passage on Django absorbing Bebop into his style was the best bit I've read so far. I remember the first time I heard Django playing on those late 50's sets having difficulty believing it was him. Sounded like Hank Garland when he played jazz to me at the time. Astonishing really, what would he have sounded like if hed lived on ?
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Postby Djangoslefthandman » Wed Feb 24, 2010 6:32 pm

That should of course read "late, 50's sets." His playing had rather gone off the boil by the late 50's.

On a loosely related note, I noticed that Stochelo is trying for that late Django sound on the latest Rosies album. Is it just me who thought I was having a problem with my speakers ? I kept turning the bass down in an attempt to cure the distortion. It bugs the hell out of me but I've read admiring reviews. This could have been avoided if somebody had had the nerve to tell Django to turn it down !
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Postby Thrip » Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:38 pm

I love that late Django distorted sound! Stochelo is achieving it with one of these amps http://www.pechealamouche.ch/pechealamo ... dex.php/en specifically designed for that purpose. I suppose it's a love it or hate it thing. It certainly has nothing to do with acoustic guitar sound!
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Postby Dennis » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:19 am

I know this is probably heresy, but ever since I started listening to 'The Big Man' in the 1970's (I'm now 127!) I've always preferred his electric sound, from the distorted, overdriven 1947 recordings up to that rich, full, thick tone on the 1953 Blues for Ike Session. Fantastic.



And:

"His playing had rather gone off the boil by the late 50's." ?????

Hmmm.... Not sure about that one....

But then again, I guess that could be right as he died in the EARLY 50's!!!

Death would make anyone's playing decline... :)

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Postby Thrip » Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:58 am

Dennis wrote:And:

"His playing had rather gone off the boil by the late 50's." ?????

Hmmm.... Not sure about that one....

But then again, I guess that could be right as he died in the EARLY 50's!!!

Death would make anyone's playing decline... :)

D.


I might be wrong, but I THINK he knew that.... 8)
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Postby Dennis » Thu Feb 25, 2010 12:39 pm

I think you're right.

This is probably why he decided not to record or gig after 1953.

:lol:

And Djangoslefthandman, I did notice you'd inserted the missing comma! Only having a bit of fun to lighten up a dull day in the office.

I'm still not sure about about DR going off the boil during that period, though. I hesitate to mention it as it's been the subject of many a late night booze-fuelled discussion over the years, believe me. And probably never to be resolved!

All the best,

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Postby Djangoslefthandman » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:01 pm

Wasn't Django at the Quecumbar for his 100th then ?

Actually I like the Stimer sound as well. I use a Dupont Stimer copy through a valve head into an AER when we are playing noisey venues. I'ved used that setup on 'straight ' jazz gigs to good effect. That amp looks a lot of cash to lay out. Surely that isn't a hard sound to emulate ? Cheap amp cranked up a bit ?

The 47/48 period is probably my favourite as well. But I think the distorted sound was more a product of Djangos desire to dominate proceedings than an artistic choice.
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Postby Dennis » Thu Feb 25, 2010 2:37 pm

DjangosLHM,

Under what name, and where, do you gig?

I'm saving my pennies for a Stimer pickup at the moment to put on my Manouche Modele Jazz (money's very tight).

I like the electric sound on the Rosenberg's new album - very tasty.

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