Django rein­hardt

Nu­ages

Guitar Techniques - - • Contents • November 2014 • -

John Wheatcroft tran­scribes this fan­tas­tic Gypsy jazz tune from the all-time master of this amaz­ing style, Django Rein­hardt.

hand.Hav­ing­ful­luse­o­fon­ly­h­is­fir­stand sec­ondfin­gers,heover­camethedis­abil­i­tyby evolvin­ga­com­plete­lynewfin­ger­ing­method, us­ingjusttwofin­gers­fors­in­glenote­sand mak­inglim­it­e­duse­ofthe­crum­pledthir­dand fourth­for­play­ingcer­tain­chord­shapes.

In­spired­bythe­newart­form,jazz,Django wasper­formin­ga­gainandin1934heformed theQuin­tet­teDuHotClubDeFrance­with StéphaneGrap­pelli.Thiswasthe­first all-string­jaz­zgroup,anunusu­alline-upof

Jaz­zat­tract­ed­me­be­cause initI­foundafor­malper­fec­tion andin­stru­men­tal­pre­ci­sion­that Iad­mirein­clas­si­cal­mu­sic,but which­pop­u­lar­mu­sic­doesn’t have Djan­goRein­hardt

tworhyth­m­gui­tars,vi­o­lin,dou­ble­bas­sand with­D­jan­goona­cous­ti­clead.This­con­tin­ues to­bethe­blueprint­line-up­forthe­genre.

Django’splay­ing­h­a­sitall:un­be­liev­able chops,re­mark­able­flair,beau­ti­ful­tone­and ad­vanced­har­mon­i­caware­ness.His­play­ing shineswith­vi­tal­ity,en­er­gyandin­ge­nu­ity.His record­ingswere­cov­etedallover­the­world and­his­in­flu­ence­was­felt­fully.Charlie Chris­tian­learn­thissolos­note-for-note­and many­ofhis­com­po­si­tion­shave­g­o­neonto be­come­jaz­z­s­tan­dards,suchasthis­month’s tran­scrip­tion,the­beau­ti­fulNuages.

Thisver­sion­comes­fromwhat­many con­sid­er­to­betheQuin­tet­teMarkII.In1939, with­the­groupon­tour­inLon­do­natthe­out­set ofWWII,Stéphane­took­thede­ci­sion­tostayin Eng­land­whileD­jan­go­elect­ed­tore­turnto Paris.Grap­pelli’sre­place­ment­was­notbe an­oth­ervi­o­lin­ist­but­the­vir­tu­osoclar­inetist Hu­bertRostaing,an­don­this­record­ing­we­see al­soasec­ond­clar­inet,onesoli­taryrhythm playerand­drums.It’scle­arthatD­jan­gowas far­from­re­strict­ed­towork­ing­with­the Quin­tet­tealone,an­drecord­ed­with­nu­mer­ous en­sem­blesthrough­out­thiswartimepe­riod.

Djan­gore­vis­it­edNuages­man­y­times through­outhis­ca­reer,an­deachver­sio­nis worthal­is­ten.As­theyearspassed,the ar­range­men­tandin­stru­men­ta­tion­would­vary greatly,although,generallyspeaking,Fma­jor wasthe­cho­senkey­whenclar­inet­wasthe promi­nent­melodyin­stru­ment,risin­ga­tone toG­ma­jor­for­both­vi­o­li­nand­gui­tar in­ter­pre­ta­tions.Need­lesstosay,Djan­go­takes allofthis­in­hisstride­and­plays­beau­ti­ful­lyon ev­eryver­sion–there’ssome­thingnewand ex­cit­ing­tolearnon­the­mall,soit­paystodoas muchre­searchas­pos­si­ble.

I’dlike­to­taketheop­por­tu­ni­ty­tothank the­supreme­ly­tal­ent­edPaulThomas­for pro­vid­ingth­e­har­monised­clar­inet(ala Hu­bertRostain­gandAlixCombelle),along with­thee­qual­ly­won­der­fulMarkRose­and PhilippeCaste­ma­neon­dou­ble­bas­sand drum­sre­spec­tively.

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