Would Django laugh at us today?

The first thirty years are the worst

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Teddy Dupont
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Post by Teddy Dupont »

stublag wrote:...and with respect
I think its something INCREDIBLE that someone could have 'studied' Django for almost 50 years and NOT realise the importance of the right hand in this music--or even understand the basics of the technique;forget Scots opinion and,for what its worth,mine.
Ah! Once again back to your pretentious best Stu and misquoting/misunderstanding me with such impressive bravado; your intellectual distain apparently eminating from my simply responding to the question posed by Stefan which is what I had thought the Forum was all about. I am particularly fascinated by the fact you quote Scot Wise since previous posts indicate he and I generally agree on many key issues whereas you and he less so. I am also particularly fascinated by the fact that many of the views you so forcefully express now are at odds with those you equally forcefully expressed a couple of years ago. :?

We certainly have very different ideas about this music, it's origins and it's influences and I have to tell you old pal, I will continue expressing mine whenever the opportunity arises. Others can make a judgement as to whether I am talking a lot of balls or not. You are undoubtably a much better guitarist than me Stu but my ears work fine.

However, coming back to the original question, everything I have ever heard about Django and the nature of his music indicates he would think what you and I are doing in playing gypsy jazz as we do within quite restrictive boundaries is a bit pathetic - but as long as we enjoy doing it, so what? No need to get tetchy. :D Django was about freshness, new ideas, musical development, pushing the barriers and that does not fit with the gypsy jazz scene of 2005.
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Post by stublag »

Teddy Dupont wrote:[

We certainly have very different ideas about this music, it's origins and it's influences and I have to tell you old pal, I will continue expressing mine whenever the opportunity arises. Others can make a judgement as to whether I am talking a lot of balls or not. You are undoubtably a much better guitarist than me Stu but my ears work fine.

However, coming back to the original question, everything I have ever heard about Django and the nature of his music indicates he would think what you and I are doing in playing gypsy jazz as we do within quite restrictive boundaries is a bit pathetic - but as long as we enjoy doing it, so what? No need to get tetchy. :D Django was about freshness, new ideas, musical development, pushing the barriers and that does not fit with the gypsy jazz scene of 2005.

Teddy
i don't want to get into a slanging match with you OK?
..But i'm intrigued by your mentioning the 'gypsy jazz scene of 2005'
Just WHAT experience do you have of this????--other than the superficial 'mirage' that is the internet????
I haven't seen you at gigs by Angelo Debarre,Matcho Winterstein,Robin Nolan,Tcha Limberger,Lollo Meier,Moreno,Ritary Ganguenetti,Yourgi Loeffler etc etc at Le Que in just the last two years!!!???
All these musicians have much to tell about Django;if you really cared about this music invented by Django you'd seek them out and spend many hours with them;believe me they offer UNBELIEVABLE insights into Django's Music(particularly Tcha--he's really special imho) because they've had the humility to study Django's Music for countless hours....

My God!...i remember when YOU didn't even acknowledge Bireli's talent!!--it's only relatively recently that you allowed yourself to damn him with faint praise isn't it?
The truth is-- there IS infinite variety in the best players of this Music today;
they are not all obsessed, as you choose to believe, with a uniform 'pompe'; and if you'd bothered to meet,play and socialize with them all you'd realise that they ALL play differently and creatively.

I'd have even more respect for you if you made the effort(like so many others) to attend the concerts at Le Quecumbar--my own included.
(btw it takes me at least two hours to get to Battersea--i'm in the London sticks....so journey times are no excuse!!)
One day we'll debate these issues in a real way.
But for now i'll leave it up to others to decide who knows or CARES more about this Music as it LIVES today!!!!
If you believe that this music began and ended with Django(and i think you do Teddy don't you?) ----why waste everybody's time?
Hope to MEET you soon.
Respectfully yours
Stu
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ramsezaz
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Post by ramsezaz »

Damn! all this forum arguing reminds me of gadjodrom (RIP) !
Are you sure guys you don't have any French ancestors ?
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Post by Stefan »

Django would definetely laugh at this bickering going on :wink:
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Post by Teddy Dupont »

Stefan wrote:Django would definetely laugh at this bickering going on :wink:
You are absolutely right! I bow to Stu's proven superior knowledge of everything to do with this music and withdraw from an argument that I should never have descended into in the first place. :oops:
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Re: Would Django laugh at us today?

Post by Agent »

Stefan wrote:But what if Django was alive today. Would he tell us...Why are you playing like me?
Sorry to be a wet blanket about all this, but do you mean "if Django hadn't died in 1953" or "if Django were brought back to life"?. If the former, who knows whether GJ would even exist? If the latter, well, pass. For what it's worth, I reckon he'd be dismayed that the qualities in jazz that inspired him seem to have no place in genuinely popular music anymore.

More generally, I like to think that Django would laugh with us.
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Thoughts

Post by fmason »

I feel as if the question "would Django laugh at us" exposes some paradoxes in Django's music and his legacy. His music is very improvisational but is also riff-based. His music is very esoteric but utilizes mainstream standard melodies and chord structures. Players of "Django's Music" possess a pride and sense of authenticity in the music, yet many songs and distinct genres of music have slowly been added to their repertoire, to the point where it includes, say, Bossa Novas (but not, say, Makossa). Django's Music (no quotes) lives on primarily as recordings, but "Django's Music"(quotes) is largely defined via an oral tradition passed on through generations. A cultural heritage which defies nationality and even ethnicity is closely associated with the music, but it is also music of the world, incorporating countless influences into a unique bouquet. Django represents a maverick character but his music is studied by the elite.

Given these seeming paradoxes, I feel that it is possible to say that: Yes, (IMHO) it is ridiculous to learn a guitar solo note-for note, especially considering it is impossible to reproduce Django's exact fingering, and very difficult to recreate his exact phrasing. But then it's also a great exercise of music appreciation and technical skill to attempt this. And yes, it is ridiculous to be obsessed with "pick direction in a descending harmonic minor arpeggio", but nonethless, subtleties such as this put Django's music in a place of its own. And yes, Django would almost certainly encourage improvisation and originality over reproduction and idolatry (perhaps not of himself), but to even approach him as a guitar player would require one to have an intimate knowledge of his unique genre.

Personally, I've learned quite a few Django riffs verbatim, such as the "Minor Blues monster", but I've also invented a few little "Django-esque arpeggiated riffs" which fit the style. I feel relatively comfortable improvising with no preconceived structure over standards such as Minor Swing, etc.

I'm guessing that ultimately all of these methods are the way to understanding and furthering this enigmatic and joyful music. So hopefully Django's laughing, not rolling over in his grave. If he's rolling over he's probably bumping some techno...
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