Gypsy Jazz (Manouche Swing)
as inspired by
Jean ‘Django’ Reinhardt (1910-1953)
Django‘s name means- ‘I Awake’
Louis Vola, the bass player with the original Quintette Du Hot Club De France, an affable, Maurice Chevalier type of man, he talks glibly of his 15-year old granddaughter who plays the piano and can relate many tales about Django. He really knew Django the longest, starting at Toulon, where Vola had a band. He heard the 2 gypsy brothers, Django and Joseph playing on the beach one night and invited them to jam after hours with some of the members of his band. One member of note was Stephane Grappelli. Vola subsequently moved to the Palm Beach Hotel at Cannes and hired Django alone, as an accompanist for his own accordion. Later, when Vola switched to bass, he hired Eugene ‘Nanine’ Vees, Joseph Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, in addition to Django – thus the Quintette Du Hot Club De France was born. Shortly after it was started on its recording career by Charles Delaunay and Pierre Nourry.
Jo Privat and Gus Viseur, Musette Accordionists accompanied Django Reinhardt.
Romantic, Yet Technically Brilliant.
Django was explosively egotistical, a careless and carefree gambler, but a generous charmer as well. Musically, he was gifted in a way that seldom has been seen before or since his classic recordings were made. Born into a troupe of gipsies in Belgium and raised outside Paris, this son of a travelling entertainer was working professionally at the age of 12. At 18, an event marked him, and his career, for life: a caravan fire that robbed him of the use of 2 of his fretting fingers. While tragic, it forced him to develop a style of playing that was his alone. Intensely rhythmic, remarkably nimble even for a musician with full capacity, Django in later years developed into a soloist who played with an emotional fervour and romanticism that is common in the folk music of his ancestry.
Tchavalo Schmitt exponent of Manouche, French Gypsy Jazz.
Gwen and Ben
Gwen Cahue: At 21 Gwen Cahue is the fore bearer of a new sound to become a trend in jazz manouche. Self-taught and hailing from a background of rock and jazz, Gwen discovered the music of Django and replicates its sound and energy to the Nth degree. Already highly sought after, Gwen’s exquisite technique and truly Djangoesque style are highly regarded between musicians and aficionados alike.
Ben Holder: Violinist Ben Holder started performing on stage at the age of 14 and went on to become a household name in venues and festivals across the UK, registering concerts at high-end venues such as London’s Royal Albert Hall. An admirer of old school swing and the Great American Songbook, Ben’s playing is considered as a first class homage to his hero, the great Stephane Grappelli.
Ghali Hadefi: If you are interested in modern jazz manouche, you know all about Selmer #607, the most successful, fresh new project to come out to the scene in recent years. The brain behind it? None else than Ghali Hadefi, guitarist/ double bass/ producer. Here in the capacity of double bass player, Ghali shows that Selmer #607 was just a first step in his quest to promote young, fresh talents and up-to-date retro sounds.
Bar Zalel: Years of voyages brought Bar Zalel to Paris, the Mecca of jazz manouche. After performing numerous concerts with Ben Holder in the UK and upon meeting Gwen Cahue in Paris, Bar envisioned the collision between these two young virtuosos and made it happen, through a series of UK concerts in summer of 2010, headlining the International Gypsy Guitar Festival to critical acclaim. Bar, a soloist and a musician performing in several genres, takes great pleasure in providing rhythm to this bi-national duo of young soloists.
Django’s Forgotten Era
The Allman Brothers Band instrumental Jessica was written by guitarist Dickie Betts in tribute to Reinhardt. He wanted to write a
song that could be played using only 2 fingers.
Django’s “Minor Swing” can be heard in the background during the oracle scene in The Matrix
Noddy Holder of Rock Group – Slade named his son Django which means – I Awake
Most of Woody Allen‘s films feature Django Reinhardt in the Soundtrack