Sorry I haven’t been posting on this blog lately. I have now transfered all the posts from here to a new WordPress blog which is also our band’s website www.djangoism.co.uk – I hope you will find some more material of interest there
I’ve been a bit slow in catching up with the YouTube phenomenon. Shez Sherdan, the lead guitarist in our band Djangoism, told me about it. He had been touring with Richard Hawley and found that video footage of a concert they had played in Torino was on YouTube by the time they got back to the UK!
Looking for gypsy jazz on YouTube my searches come up with a number of different categories. There are clips from commercially available DVDs, such as Bireli Lagrene Live in Paris, which misguided fans have placed on YouTube and which amount to video piracy. There are amateur clips of amateurs playing gypsy jazz rather badly, but then everyone has to start somewhere. The most interesting category for gypsy jazz guitar fans are private recordings of well-known players, hopefully with their permission, and little known TV broadcasts.
I have found some excellent clips of Jimmy Rosenberg playing with Gustav Lungren (who posted the clips) and probably Andreas Oberg, I Can’t Give You Anything But Love and China Boy are good. There is also the famous video of Jimmy Rosenberg as a child when his guitar is bigger than he is, and one when he is bit older.
One clip I have enjoyed a lot is John McLaughlin and Bireli Lagrene playing All Blues on a French TV show. I like the contrast between the rather thin tone of John McLaughlin’s electric 335 guitar and the full warm sound from Bireli’s acoustic but then I am becoming an acoustic guitar snob with my new Gitane.
A few posts ago I recommended Bireli Lagrene’s DVDs Live in Paris and Bireli Lagrene and Friends. These really are essential viewing/listening for any fan of gypsy jazz guitar. In my enthusiasm for more I ordered Django: a jazz tribute starring Bireli Lagrene and Babik Reinhardt. Unfortunately this DVD is not so successful. Its sole stars are Bireli and Babik, i.e. it is a jazz guitar duo, one of my least favourite combinations – even Jim Hall and Pat Metheny didn’t really do it for me. Bireli plays a solid body electric guitar and three of the four tunes on this 26 minute DVD are originals which mainly consist of dominant 7 sus 4 vamps with much mindless widdling up and down the guitar necks, impressive gymnastics but less impressive music. We can’t blame Bireli or Babik – the DVD has few details but it seems to be recorded a long time ago in the afternoon in a cafe with a fairly uninterested audience. We can blame the production company for putting this DVD out in 2005 and trying to cash in on Bireli’s fame and Babik’s heritage.
This is a blog about everything to do with gypsy jazz guitar music. I have been a fan of this music for years and I am fortunate enough to play rhythm guitar in a band with some great musicians, we call our selves Djangoism.