Maurizio Geri: Manouche Gypsy Jazz Guitar – Video on line
The objective of this book is to give a broad overview of gypsy jazz guitar, beginning with Django Reinhardt until our days, and in particular, how this style has also developed in Italy, from the “Quintetto Ritmico di Milano” of Luciano Zuccheri, to today.
This can also be seen thanks to the various musicians who in recent times in Italy have embraced gypsy jazz, introducing new languages, from a compositional point of view, to the more modern improvisation techniques of jazz, to the all-inclusive world music scene.
In writing the book, I have often wondered how to convey clearly a subject that by its nature is highly complex technically. I decided to begin with the basic elements of the approach to the instrument, not so much to dilute the substance but because I think it is fundamental to have a solid base and a good foundation, indispensable to seriously approach a style of music this articulate and demanding.
The book is divided into four parts: The first is edited by me, and it provides the basic elements for those who get started, from hand positioning to relative triad exercises, from arpeggios of chords and scales to rhythm, as well as the phrasings inspired by the greats, in a voyage that from the general criteria moves towards the speci c, useful therefore also for those who already play and want to get closer to this style. The second part of the book relies on the contribution of some of the better regarded guitarists of the Italian gypsy jazz scene; together we analyse the most used harmonic sequences or cadences, a useful study both for beginners and advanced players in understanding how to connect melodically various chord progressions.
In the more specialised third part of the book, which represents a more in-depth study of the subject, the five authors analyse particular aspects of technique and style of play closer to them, highlighting those passages, phrases and ideas that have come to be more characteristic of their way of playing. In my opinion, this is the most interesting part of the book, as it is derived from first-hand experience and from the personal approach of each musician.
The fourth part is dedicated to the composition that I have chosen as the unifying and conducive motive of the book: Minor Swing. Each author improvises over two choruses, providing both the video and written transcription of their solo.
Besides the friendship and the unity of intent that connects me with these musicians, and which I believe necessary for the coherence and success of this body of work, I tried to privilege the peculiarities of the individuals over general theories. Each of them offers a path of research and study that is personal and different within the vast container we could de ne as gypsy jazz, jazz or simply music.
All of the exercises are transcribed both in musical notation and tablature. Furthermore, believing it’s very important to see the exact movement and positioning of the hands, all examples are supported by video directly recorded by the authors.
Because of copyright issues, it was not possible to include transcriptions of Django or other great gypsy jazz guitarists, available in many foreign publications, but if you follow this book carefully, you will be able to acquire the techniques and the thought processes behind the construction of the solos and the harmonisations in gypsy jazz. Then it will be up to you, and it will be a great exercise, to listen to and transcribe from the records those phrases or parts of solos that you will nd more interesting from the Maestros of the style, some of which include: Django, Matelo Ferret, Baro Ferret, Sarane Ferret, Oscar Aleman, Lulu Reinhardt, Hans’che Weiss, Bireli Lagrene, Tchavolo Schmitt, Dorado Schmitt, Sto- chelo Rosenberg, Angelo Debarre… In the appendix you can nd a recommended discography in the bibliography.
You can never emphasise enough the importance of listening to the records and live concerts to truly understand the ideas and emotional triggers that the music gives us; this is maybe the most fun aspect related to studying, which is the basis of being users and why not, authors at the same time. Even more important is practice and the exchange with other musicians and their various instruments; do not underestimate the importance and difficult role of the guitar as a rhythm instrument, an aspect too often ignored or relegated to secondary position in relation to soloing and exaggerated virtuosism. Technique has to serve the music and not the contrary; this is one of Django’s greatest lessons.
You will understand it is impossible to examine every single variation or author; the task would be in nite and possibly useless. Consider this book as a solid base from which to begin a journey, a base that will provide the elements necessary to progress technically, will stimulate your fantasy and will allow you to get a grip on the style, but don’t think this will be enough. Dedicate yourself, besides the technical study, to the creation of your artistic journey, the creation of your musical taste and style and to your way of playing, as diversity stimulates exchange and brings about innovation.
Emotions are from the heart more than the hands, and beauty nds expression in diffe- rence more than in homologation.
Video On Line
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