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Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!

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Rick Fielding 15 Dec 99 - 05:29 PM
Peter T. 15 Dec 99 - 05:56 PM
Tony Burns 15 Dec 99 - 10:27 PM
sophocleese 15 Dec 99 - 10:33 PM
Peter T. 16 Dec 99 - 09:37 AM
Steve Latimer 16 Dec 99 - 10:17 AM
Mike Billo 16 Dec 99 - 10:30 AM
Mike Billo 16 Dec 99 - 10:33 AM
Rick Fielding 16 Dec 99 - 11:10 AM
Steve Latimer 16 Dec 99 - 12:08 PM
Peter T. 16 Dec 99 - 01:28 PM
MTed 16 Dec 99 - 01:55 PM
Mbo 16 Dec 99 - 02:23 PM
Rick Fielding 16 Dec 99 - 06:15 PM
Tony Burns 16 Dec 99 - 09:24 PM
DonMeixner 17 Dec 99 - 12:32 AM
Rick Fielding 17 Dec 99 - 01:03 AM
gillymor 17 Dec 99 - 05:36 AM
Frank Hamilton 17 Dec 99 - 11:20 AM
Big Mick 17 Dec 99 - 11:27 AM
Roger the skiffler 17 Dec 99 - 11:33 AM
Rick Fielding 17 Dec 99 - 12:28 PM
Gary T 17 Dec 99 - 12:31 PM
gillymor 17 Dec 99 - 04:39 PM
Frank Hamilton 17 Dec 99 - 10:16 PM
Chris/Darwin 18 Dec 99 - 06:03 AM
Frank Hamilton 18 Dec 99 - 10:53 AM
Ireland 27 Jan 03 - 10:49 AM
BanjoRay 27 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM
Steve-o 27 Jan 03 - 05:31 PM
GUEST,Frank Hamilton 27 Jan 03 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,MCP 27 Jan 03 - 06:43 PM
GUEST,Fossil 28 Jan 03 - 11:59 AM
Murray MacLeod 28 Jan 03 - 02:25 PM
John Hardly 28 Jan 03 - 03:29 PM
Rick Fielding 28 Jan 03 - 06:11 PM
Peter T. 28 Jan 03 - 09:11 PM
GUEST,Big Mick 31 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM
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Subject: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 15 Dec 99 - 05:29 PM

In another thread the estimable Peter T. wondered how Django adapted to chords after his terrible accident (at the age of 18). The immediate answer is "with great difficulty!"...but it ain't true! There are recordings of Django playing 6 string banjo before the fire in his caravan, and they are fascinating in that he had already developed a strong mainstream style. He took a break from playing for a couple of months, but it became obvious that the burned fingers were never going to heal (they didn't. All his life, they were open sores. yuk!) Because of his great ability, he was rarely called on to play rhythm chords, and developed a "cross finger" style to play his lightning fast leads. I've come across many pictures however showing that after he met Grapelly he would definitely play rhythm. Grapelly INSISTED on it. Whoops, Catter Tony Burns is here for his lesson, gotta run! Be back later.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Peter T.
Date: 15 Dec 99 - 05:56 PM

Who cares about him!! What happens next?
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Tony Burns
Date: 15 Dec 99 - 10:27 PM

Who cares what happens next?

Screw Django, I'm developing the Tony Burns method. (It's never been done before.)


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: sophocleese
Date: 15 Dec 99 - 10:33 PM

Sorry, really bad comment coming up....Planning on djangoing your fingers Burns? I'm sorry, I'm sorry....


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 09:37 AM

Yew rotten gypsy swine you, Tony Burns! (pulls out cardboard Roy Rogers Taiwan ripoff guitar, with slightly oriental looking Dale Evans Laskin-type inlay on fretboard, begins to play Jalousie using 10-fingers, and 10-toes, still sounds terrible. Brand New Mel Bay -- Peter T. method in 5 subgraded books!!!!!!!)
yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 10:17 AM

Does anyone know what kind of guitar Django played? I have only one of his CD's, him and Grapelli in Paris, I belive it was recorded in the thirties and I believe it was called the Paris Hot Club. Every time I listen to it I'm taken by the sound of his guitar, (his virtuoisity is a given) and was wondering if it may be something of European manufacture, him having been from there and all.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Mike Billo
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 10:30 AM

A friend of mine has a film of Django playing. It's what they used to call a "soundie". Today called a music video. The band is in a passenger car of a train while passengers crowd around the door and listen to them play "Dinah". You never get a really clear view of Django's left hand( as is the case with most photographs)but as near as we've been able to determine, when not soloing, he plays double stops, and octaves (much in the same way that Wes Montgomery did years later) with the left hand while strumming a two-beat rhythm with the right. The actual rhythm guitar time-keeping and chord voicing chores were handled by Django's brother Joseph.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Mike Billo
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 10:33 AM

Oops! Forgot to add that Django was associated with playing Macafierri guitars, which I understand were made mostly of plastic!


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 11:10 AM

Well I'm back, and apparently so is that wonderful Mudcat wit that I love so much!
OK, where to begin:
Django played almost exclusively Selmer and Maccafferi guitars. Mac designed them and later Selmer (the horn company) made them. They were very loud, crudely made and most definitely WOOD! I own one of the rare plastic ones made in the 50s (after Django's death at 42). Mac came to the states and became an injected plastic mogul. His big items were the clothes-pin, 8 track cartridge, Arthur Godfrey uke, and the aforementioned plastiguitar. They never caught on, although they sound reasonably good.
The one film clip doesn't show a whole lot as Mike says, but I've seen literally hundreds of pictures, and heard millions of words (can you tell I'm a fan?) which give a pretty accurate picture of his rhythm and lead style. He certainly could use the two immobilized fingers as part of a chord (9ths, minor 7ths, and especially 6ths) and like all self-taught players made use of his thumb.(Segovia would not approve, but he couldn't swing to save his life!)
Everyone close to him and especially his brother Joseph and son Babik remark on his quickness and knowledge of 4 or 5 scales, as well as his "huge ears!" (a jazz term for those who listen well and can remember chord changes instantly)
Teaching someone how to play effective rhythm guitar in a Django style is not as difficult as it might seem (any takers? Peter?). It involves a simple but solid right hand pick attack and about 6 (only) left hand chords.
Like one of my other favourite musicians, Bix Beiderbeke, Django was notorious for showing up on gigs in his tuxedo, but sans shoes! Gotta love someone like that! Tells me he's got his priorities in order. While living in Paris, the only local guitarist he thought really fit to jam with (other than his brother) was Oscar Aleman. (who I strongly suggest you hunt down)..he's superb!

Rick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 12:08 PM

Which fingers were damaged? I always assumed that he used open tunings and barred a lot, I now take it that this is not the case.

I remember my father playing Django for me when I was a teenager, but I was too into rock back then to be all that impressed. As my musical tastes grew I read that two of my favourite guitarists, Willie Nelson and Jeff Beck were heavily influenced by Django (I'm not making this up) so I went out and got the CD I referred to above and was floored by his playing. And believe it or not I hear Django in Willie's playing.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Peter T.
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 01:28 PM

(Rick, what can I say -- In that djingo django morning I'll come following you....)
yours, Peter T.
P.S. you don't exactly say how he played, or maybe you do but I am too stupid. Which were the two immobilized fingers? Did he use the immobilized fingers as his barre and the other two to do the rest of the chords, or did he chord with just the two working fingers, etc. and use the other two for partial barres. And did he use open tuning, as asked above, or just standard....?


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: MTed
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 01:55 PM

Rick,

What were the six chords? Describe the fingerings, if you know them, for that matter, describe the Freddie Green chords, and explain the dif--(if you don't mind, I get a little rude sometimes when I am eager to know something)

Incidentally, Barney Kessel has Django's guitar--


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Mbo
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 02:23 PM

I'm pretty sure I read that the damaged fingers were his left ring finger and pinky. Also, I think Segovia was too dedicated to reviving the lost art of the classical guitar to worry about swinging. He left that to guys like Django. :^)

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 06:15 PM

Yeah, the ring and pinky were sort of curled back. Nope, I doubt if he ever thought of open tunings, although he might have come across a Hawaian guitarist sometime. As to the chord formations, lemme check on this. I have them in a book somewhere. Since I rarely deal with students with immobilized fingers, I use different fingerings for those chords. I'm still seriously busy with tour bookings at the moment so perhaps someone could do a bit of a net search for Django info. I know there's lots out there.
Django was an expert fly fisherman, and billiards player.
When he was asked to go on tour in the U.S. he didn't take a guitar 'cause he thought Gibson would give him one for an endorsement. They didn't 'cause they hardly knew he existed. Bad move. He was pissed, and used an unfamiliar electric on a gig with Duke Ellington. The revues say he didn't play well. During the war Grappelli went to Britain and Django stayed in occupied France. Hmmmm, lets see... any other anecdotes? Oh, Django never met Mario Macaferri. His son Babik got so sick of playing Django's style that he completely revamped his method of playing into a "Santana meets DiMeola" thing. I've gotten to know Robin Nolan from Holland who's one of the best "Django type" players around. Very nice guy. Ask Mudcatter Tony Burns for info on Toronto's Club Django, and when the group meets.
Luv
Rick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Tony Burns
Date: 16 Dec 99 - 09:24 PM

Toronto area Django lovers should check out Club Django. They have regular Django Jams where they welcome all comers. They even let me sit in with my mandolin and they were very gratious about it. If you want to try it just show up. You will be accepted regardless of experience.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: DonMeixner
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 12:32 AM

Appros Pos of nothing here,

I have recording of two instrumentals Called the Cajun Stomp and The Kilocycle Stomp that I would play for my jazz musician firnds of whom I have now very few. They insisted they were recordings by Django and Stephan Grappelli. They refuse to believe me when I showed them it was by Hugh and Karl Farr, from the original Sons of the Pioneers.

Sorry I went off line. But............

Don


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 01:03 AM

What the hell can we do Don? Other than trying to widen folks' music parameters.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: gillymor
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 05:36 AM

I can understand why Grapelli would insist on Django playing rhythm. When he stops soloing and starts comping on those Hot Club recordings the rhythm section becomes much more interesting and definitely swings harder. BTW, I remember reading an interview with Grappelli where he revealed that the reason that the Quintet had three guitarists was because Django also wanted two guitarists backing him up. Also seem to recall that the Maccaferris and then Selmers they used had laminated rosewood backs and rims. Frankie


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 11:20 AM

Django used a Selmer Modele which was developed after Maccaferri sold out his company to them. Macaferri was a famous classical guitarist who played a thumpick. He had an accident and was unable to play so he made guitars instead. His innovation was a frame inside (a kind of built in amplifier) that he incorporated into his design. His guitars are noted for the shape of the soundhole, a D form which is used in the Hot Club of France by the rhythm players, Joseph Reinheart and Roger (?) Django did not use Macaferri's design because the Modele version does not have the built in centerpiece and has a small round soundhole instead. Some of the guitars made has a slight arch very much like the early accoustic roundhole Gibsons.

Django was an excellent rhythm player as well as lead soloist. His chord forms would have included ninths using five strings and the flat part of his damaged fingers in the first three strings, a four string version of the 6/9 chord that he uses on Oriental Shuffle, a full sixth chord, a diminished seventh, a minor sixth chord that he uses on Tears. He did not use Freddy Greene's chord form shape exclusively which is what piano players refer to as "tenths" because the notes are an inversion of the major and minor and dominant seventh triads that span an interval of a tenth on the keyboard. These three notes are spaced apart so that when played at top volume they can cut through the band. Often the three notes have more carrying power than does the full four or five note jazz chords played on the guitar. This is what made Freddy Greene's voicings so useful for the Basie Band. Django employed these occasionally on such tunes as It Don't Mean A Thing.

It must be said that the major influence came from Eddy Lang and Joe Venuti who Django idolized and patterned his jazz style after until discovering his own sound. Eddy Lang is one of the greatest accoustic jazz guitarists who not only made the Paul Whiteman band swing due to the close mic development of the recording industry but made classic and memorable records with Bix Beiderbecke.

Every year there is a Django Festival in France at Sur La Seine where Gypsy musicians congregate to play the Hot Club music. I've never been much to my regret because many of them smoke like chimneys.

There are numerous Hot Club sites on the web. One I recommend is the Hot Club of Norway and they have a Hot Club record company which shows who is playing this music now.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 11:27 AM

Frank, I really appreciate your posts. You have been a very welcome addition here. Just felt like I should tell you that.

Big Mick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 11:33 AM

Various UK players backed Grapelli after Django's death, including old skiffler ( and serious drinker) Diz Disley and, I think, Martin Taylor. An old college acquaintance of mine plays guitar in a Django-type group in the Bath area with a sax replacing the violin. I wouldn't exactly tell them not to give up the day jobs but it doesn't sound quite the same! RtS


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 12:28 PM

Thanks for adding to this Frank. Roger Chaput was the missing rhythm guitarist (along with Jean ferre)
I also hope to go to Samois on Sur for the festival some day. Several friends of mine have been a couple of times.
Rick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Gary T
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 12:31 PM

At the Winfield festival this year I heard a group called "Harmonious Wail", who play a fair amount of "gypsy jazz" music. They have a spendid lead vocalist and a guitarist who knocked my socks off. I believe they're based in Chicago. I'd certainly recommend giving them a listen if this type of music interests you--or even if it doesn't, for that matter!


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: gillymor
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 04:39 PM

Excellent posting Frank, thanks.

Frankie


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 17 Dec 99 - 10:16 PM

Thank you everyone for your nice words. Big Mick and all. I am most grateful.

Dis Disley has made quite a few nice recordings and Martin Taylor is an amazing guitarist as well. If you are interested in this style, John Larsen of Hot Club Recordings has quite an array of talent playing in this style from Hot Club of Norway. The Rosenburg Trio is great. Paul Mehling and the Hot Club of San Francisco is quite fine. This style is popular all over Europe and for some reason was never big in the States until just recently. Now with Harmonius Wail, Pearl Django and the Hot Club of Cowtown, we are starting to hear more here.

Also recommended is the accoustic jazz guitar of Marty Grosz, Howard Alden, and Pat Donahue(Priarie Home Companion). It would also be well to listen to Dick McDonough and Karl Kress for great accoustic jazz guitar duos.

Both Karl Kress and Marty Grosz use an entirely different guitar tuning. I think it runs something like this having been evolved from tenor banjo and plectrum. 6th string, Bb, 5th string, F, 4th string, C, 3rd string G, second string B and the first string D The top four strings are tuned like plectrum banjo tuning and the bottom four strings are tuned in fifths from the tenor banjo tuning.

Al Casey who played accoustic jazz guitar with Fats Waller is another great. The world of accoustic jazz guitar is being rediscovered and is quite wonderful. I personally prefer it to the electric guitar.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Chris/Darwin
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 06:03 AM

I remember reading once about an encounter between Django and Segovia, apparently at a private concert. After Segovia's performance, Django volunteered to perform, and had to go find a guitar, as Segovia was not keen to loan his instrument.

Segovia was reportedly amazed by Django's playing, and asked him where he could get the music, to which Django replied that he had made it up, and in fact couldn't read!


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Frank Hamilton
Date: 18 Dec 99 - 10:53 AM

Not only could Django not read music, he could not read period. He was from a very poor Gypsy background on the outskirts of Paris and his life was amazing in a Horatio Alger sense. But he did everything the wrong way, skipped important gigs, ravaged automobiles, womanized, drove Grapelli crazy and like Mozart still became this extraordianry figure in music.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Ireland
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 10:49 AM

Here is a nice site on Djnago http://www.hotclub.co.uk/


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: BanjoRay
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 02:58 PM

Music On Earth Productions have produced a superb set of DVDs called Stephane Grappelli - A Life In The Jazz Century. It's beautifully done with a lot of old footage including Joe Venuti and Eddie Lang and all the known footage of Django. A bunch of us stayed totally glued to it all the way through - its wonderful.
Cheers
Ray


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Steve-o
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 05:31 PM

Want to see a really neat movie that directly relates to Django and his music? Check out "Sweet and Lowdown", in which Sean Penn plays the "second greatest guitarist in the world", and the music is actually played by Howard Alden. The soundtrack CD is fabulous. This was penned, of course, by Woody Allen, and rather lovingly, I might add. Great fun, and wonderful music.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: GUEST,Frank Hamilton
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 06:15 PM

A couple of other interesting things I think. Louis Armstrong met Django but the meeting didn't go well. Louis was blase.

Django always preferred drums to his illustrious rhythm section of comping guitars which he thought "stilted".

There is an interesting book about that period called "Le Misere De San Luis"
(Saint Louis Blues). It was written by a trombone player...can't recall his name now.

Rick, I'd go to Samois Sur Seine if I could but I can't get past the Gypsy cigarettes. Gypsies smoke quite a bit.

One of my favorite fiddlers in the world is Schnuckenack Reinhardt. He's an amazing jazz fiddler and what a name! Relative of Django.

Frank


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: GUEST,MCP
Date: 27 Jan 03 - 06:43 PM

In addition to the excellent UK site listed above, you might like to look at these sites too:


Selmer/Maccaferri Guitars - about the guitars.

Gadjo drom - a French site on Django and gypsy jazz

Djangofest NorthWest links - links to various Django/gypsy jazz related sites.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: GUEST,Fossil
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 11:59 AM

Fuuny how stuff comes up on Mudcat! I was taught to play guitar in the late fifties by a guy called Jack Llewellyn, who was then quite old and living on his own in a crummy flat in a poor part of Coventry, England.

He did mention that he had played with a lot of bands and he certainly had some beautiful techniques - many lessons deteriorated into me sitting there open-mouthed while he played jazz classic chord sequences to me. Once he played Beethoven on a banjo (yes, really).

But just how good he was, I didn't appreciate until I read some of these sites - it seems that he played with Django and Grapelli on several recordings made around 1946.

I would dearly love to know a bit more about him - I regret that as a teenage guitar fanatic, all I wanted to do was play rock 'n roll licks, which must've made me a bit of a disappointment to him and I never bothered to keep in touch after deciding to quit lessons. If anyone has any information, PM me please!


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Murray MacLeod
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 02:25 PM

Fossil, if you click here and scroll down almost to the bottom of the page you will see a picture of Jack Llewellyn with Bert Weedon and Ike Isaacs.

I didn't realise until I looked at this site that Bert Weedon was Django's replacement with Stephane Grapelli.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: John Hardly
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 03:29 PM

Interesting how these threads cycle when they do...

...Two issues ago "Flatpicking" magazine did a story on John Jorgenson. There is interesting evidence that Jorgenson now has (one of) Django's Selmers.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 06:11 PM

Wow, Dec. '99. Didn't have a clue that I'd started this when I saw the title. Still love Django.

FINALLY saw "Sweet and Lowdown" and I have to say it didn't grab me by the throat. It's VERRY Woody Allan (which is alright by me) but he's really starting to repeat himself. It reminded me a LOT of "Broadway Danny Rose". Same tone, same set-ups, etc. Well done but predictable. Penn is one fine actor as is the woman who played the deaf-mute. Howard Alden's playing is lovely and very tasteful. I'm not sure Sean spent a whole lot of time learning to LOOK like a guitarist though.

My LAST complaint (cuz I DID enjoy it)....the constant (at least ten) references to Django being the greatest guitarist in the world and Sean being number two, were a tad irritating. The very best musicians I've seen and known, just don't think like that...simply because there's no milepost (that ain't the word I'm lookin' for) to measure "best".."second best" etc.

However......ever heard Oscar Aleman? If not, type him into Google.

Rick


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: Peter T.
Date: 28 Jan 03 - 09:11 PM

Rick Fielding last night: "The best banjo player in North America just walked in."


(Walt Whitman: "Do I contradict myself, very well then, I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes." yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Mystery of Django's Chords. oooooh!
From: GUEST,Big Mick
Date: 31 Jan 03 - 01:24 PM

FYI

Django Reinhardt - The Definitive Collection

All the best,

Mick


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