Electric Peak Arts Council presents Pearl Django. Performing live at the Gardiner School Mulitipurpose Room on Tuesday, October 17th at 6:30pm.
With a performance history spanning more than two decades, Pearl Django endures as one of the most highly regarded Hot Club style groups working today. Although the band’s roots are firmly in the music made famous by Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grappelli, its extensive repertoire includes traditional jazz classics and original compositions. Pearl Django has performed at festivals, dances and nightspots throughout the U.S. and abroad. They have played at the prestigious Festival Django Reinhardt in Samois sur Seine and have been featured on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The band’s signature style is marked by pristine and dexterous string work, colors of Bal Musette, the steady pulse of rhythm guitar and an unmistakable swing that delights audiences of all musical sensibilities. Throughout the years, Pearl Django has cultivated a devoted and enthusiastic following and they continue to play to packed houses wherever they perform.
What is Gypsy Jazz?
When the Hot Club Quintett with Django Reinhardt and Stephane Grapelli began 1934 to blow the stages in Paris with just five men, in America still played the Big Bands.
Indeed, Gypsy Swing was invented before, but comes very close to the jazziness of Bebop, wich came later at 1940.
Django celebrated with his two compositions "Appel indirect" (Mai 1938) and "Rhytme Futur" (Oct 1940) the Modal Jazz, which came into the consciousness of the world in 1958, thanks to Miles Davis' "Milestones".
While american Jazz developed and changed time for time, got free with "Free Jazz" and ended his career in melting with other music styles as Rock and Pop into "Fusion", Gypsy Jazz kept his tradition and is played today, as the Swing era had never ended.
Altough Gypsy Swing is played mostly by gypsies, more and more "gadjos" (non-gypsies) play this music now and spread it all-over the world.
When you think about Gypsy Swing, you will inevitably have a guitar in your mind and as next a violin.
When you think about American Jazz, you will rather make associations with a saxophone and a trumpet.
The famous swinging ride of the jazz drum has no use in Gypsy Swing. The drum is replaced by the percussive rhythm guitar.
A very important thing in Gypsy Jazz is the sound of the original Selmer Maccaferri guitar. This kind of guitar gets still produced by a few luthiers all-over the world.
The sound of the Gypsy Guitar is so typical, that it is allmost impossible, to play Gypsy Jazz with a ordinary Western style guitar to get the authentic sound.
Next to the guitar and the upright bass, instruments as violin, clarinet and accordion are very common in this music style.
Musical material and Phrasing
The solos in Gypsy Jazz are basically made of two components: arpeggios and chromatic notes. Of course there are other elements as scales, chord melodies and some gymmicks, to aerate the solo.
The playing of inside and outside, wich are common practice in American Jazz, are allmost not adopted in Gypsy Jazz.
While American Jazz has the tendency, to sound aerial and erratic, Gypsy Jazz sounds down to earth and the melodies are quite traceable, comprehensible and singable. Probably because of the use of the many arpeggio notes in the solo. Maybe that's the reason, why people of all ages love Gypsy Swing so much