Vinyl LP - Django - Swing Lightly

Discussion on Django and his contemporaries

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emackenz
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Vinyl LP - Django - Swing Lightly

Post by emackenz »

I bought a double LP set from the wonderful Jim of the Diskery while in Birmingham, and one record has me in shock and awe!
It is called Swing Lightly - apparently originally issued in 1972. It is the last sessions in 1953, with Night and Day, September Song, Nuages etc. These sessions are among my favourite recordings of Django. I have these on CD and I'm familiar with them. However (deep breath) on this LP, there is what I can only describe as a 'guitar choir' filling every crevass of harmony, swamping every space that DR has left, and generally turning it into something that sounds like 'James Last Does Django'. Not to mention the 70's drummer bashing away. The original backing is all but lost, and poor old Django is barely heard in the melee. ( God I just thought - I hope the guys that did this aren't lurking anywhere nearby!)
Anyway - despite the travesty of a mockery of a sham the whole thing is - who did it? Does anybody know who the arranger, guitarist(s) are? Who conceived it? It's all quite cleverly but completely tastelessly done.
Ewan
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emackenz
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Post by emackenz »

No ideas? has anyone else heard these sessions with these overdubs?
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Rene
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Post by Rene »

I'm afraid not - but they certainly sound hilarious from your description.
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emackenz
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Post by emackenz »

aha!! this from a friend in Melbourne!!
the liner notes from the original 1972 LP.
Read and weep!!
Delaunay complicit in musical mayhem!
Image

i should also post a sound clip - give me a couple of days.
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emackenz
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Post by emackenz »

As an example I'm posting links to Night and Day.
Here is the original 1953 recording:
http://www.mysterypacific.com/django/DR ... nd_day.mp3
And this is what Guitars Unlimited have done to it:
http://www.mysterypacific.com/django/GU ... nd_day.mp3
It's an aural assault - but I'm starting to hear some idealistic fervour in their work...? :)
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justjack
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Post by justjack »

As the Talking Heads said:
"This is not my beautiful house!...This is not my beautiful wife!"

Still, thanks for posting it. A cautionary tale...
One thing that interests me, though, is in the notes, where Delaunay writes:

There is much gypsy feeling in Manoir de mes rêves, a number he originally composed in 1943 on a libretto written by the French poet Jean Cocteau for a symphonic work.

What was this libretto?
And if you're having trouble reading the notes, they're reproduced here:
http://www.djangomontreal.com/doc/GuitUnlimited.htm

Best,
Jack.
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Post by Teddy Dupont »

I have had this LP since the early 70's and Guitars Unlimited's over-dubbing is truly dreadful. I was devastated when I first played it as I did not have Django's original recordings at the time

I don't object to the principle of over-dubbing as long as it is done well. Several years ago, I saw a film/television program where there was a moody late night street scene and the haunting background music was Django's 1953 "Nuages" with a sax added. It was extremely effective and atmospheric.
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justjack
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Post by justjack »

Something similar goes on with Charlie Haden's Always Say Goodbye album, where they've mixed in old recordings among their playing to create a sort of noir soundtrack. They use Ou-est tu... to great effect.

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Jack.
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Thrip
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Post by Thrip »

Pat Metheny was less than happy with Kenny G for doing a similar thing:

"Not long ago, Kenny G put out a recording where he overdubbed himself on top of a 30+ year old Louis Armstrong record, the track "What a Wonderful World". With this single move, Kenny G became one of the few people on earth I can say that I really can't use at all - as a man, for his incredible arrogance to even consider such a thing, and as a musician, for presuming to share the stage with the single most important figure in our music.

This type of musical necrophilia - the technique of overdubbing on the preexisting tracks of already dead performers - was weird when Natalie Cole did it with her dad on "Unforgettable" a few years ago, but it was her dad. When Tony Bennett did it with Billie Holiday it was bizarre, but we are talking about two of the greatest singers of the 20th century who were on roughly the same level of artistic accomplishment. When Larry Coryell presumed to overdub himself on top of a Wes Montgomery track, I lost a lot of the respect that I ever had for him - and I have to seriously question the fact that I did have respect for someone who could turn out to have such unbelievably bad taste and be that disrespectful to one of my personal heroes.

But when Kenny G decided that it was appropriate for him to defile the music of the man who is probably the greatest jazz musician that has ever lived by spewing his lame-ass, jive, pseudo bluesy, out-of-tune, noodling, wimped out, fucked up playing all over one of the great Louis's tracks (even one of his lesser ones), he did something that I would not have imagined possible. He, in one move, through his unbelievably pretentious and calloused musical decision to embark on this most cynical of musical paths, shit all over the graves of all the musicians past and present who have risked their lives by going out there on the road for years and years developing their own music inspired by the standards of grace that Louis Armstrong brought to every single note he played over an amazing lifetime as a musician. By disrespecting Louis, his legacy and by default, everyone who has ever tried to do something positive with improvised music and what it can be, Kenny G has created a new low point in modern culture - something that we all should be totally embarrassed about - and afraid of. We ignore this, "let it slide", at our own peril.

His callous disregard for the larger issues of what this crass gesture implies is exacerbated by the fact that the only reason he possibly have for doing something this inherently wrong (on both human and musical terms) was for the record sales and the money it would bring.

Since that record came out - in protest, as insignificant as it may be, I encourage everyone to boycott Kenny G recordings, concerts and anything he is associated with. If asked about Kenny G, I will diss him and his music with the same passion that is in evidence in this little essay.

Normally, I feel that musicians all have a hard enough time, regardless of their level, just trying to play good and don't really benefit from public criticism, particularly from their fellow players. but, this is different.

There ARE some things that are sacred - and amongst any musician that has ever attempted to address jazz at even the most basic of levels, Louis Armstrong and his music is hallowed ground. To ignore this trespass is to agree that NOTHING any musician has attempted to do with their life in music has any intrinsic value - and I refuse to do that. (I am also amazed that there HASN'T already been an outcry against this among music critics - where ARE they on this?????!?!?!?!, magazines, etc.). Everything I said here is exactly the same as what I would say to Gorelick if I ever saw him in person. and if I ever DO see him anywhere, at any function - he WILL get a piece of my mind and (maybe a guitar wrapped around his head.)"

...and I thought Pat was such a mellow individual :shock:
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Post by Djazz Nomad »

Right on Pat.

I initially mis-read that last post, and was about to write.........and I thought Thrip was such a mellow individual. 8)
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Post by Teddy Dupont »

So what point is Pat Metheny trying to make here Thrip? His subtle rhetoric has confused me. :?

He is probably right but it all sounds a bit precious to me. I would have hardly thought Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" constituted "hallowed ground".
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Jono
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Post by Jono »

Richard Thompson wrote a song about this:


I AGREE WITH PAT METHENY (2001)
I agree with Pat Metheny
Kenny's talents are too teeny
He deserves the crap he's going to get
He overdubbed himself on Louis
What a musical chop suey
Raised his head above the parapet

Well Louis Armstrong was the king
He practically invented swing
Hero of the twentieth century
He did duets with many a fella
"Fatha" Hines, Bing, Hoagy, Ella
Strange he never thought of Kenny G

A meeting of great minds, how nice
Like Einstein and Sporty Spice
Digitally fused in an abortion
Kenny fans will doubtless rave
While Satchmo turns inside his grave
Soprano man's bit off more than his portion

Oh brainless pentatonic riffs
Display our Kenny's arcane gifts
But we don't care, his charms are so beguiling
He does play sharp, but let's be fair
He has such lovely crinkly hair
We hardly notice, we're too busy smiling

How does he hold those notes so long?
He must be a genius. Wrong!
He just has the mindlessness to do it
He makes Britney sound like scat
If this is jazz I'll eat my hat
An idle threat, I'll never have to chew it

So next time you're in a rendezvous
And Kenny's sound comes wafting through
Don't just wince, eliminate the cause
Rip the tape right off the muzak
Pull the plug, or steal a fuse, Jack
The whole room will drown you in applause

Yes, Kenny G has gone too far
The gloves are off, it's time to spar
Grab your hunting rifle, strap your colt on
It's open season on our Ken
But I await the moment when
We lay off him and start on Michael Bolton

I agree with Pat Metheny
Kenny's talents are too teeny
They may be drinkers, Robin, but they're still human beings.
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Thrip
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Post by Thrip »

Teddy Dupont wrote: He is probably right but it all sounds a bit precious to me. I would have hardly thought Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" constituted "hallowed ground".
Yes I agree, maybe a bit extreme. Still, I'm glad he said it.

I wonder how people would feel if (for example) Stochelo took it upon himself to duet with Django on, say "Improvisation"?

Please understand I am in no way suggesting that Stochelo would dream of doing such a thing :D
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