Gypsy Jazz: In Search of Django Reinhardt and the Soul of Gypsy Swing

Overview

Of all the styles of jazz to emerge in the twentieth century, none is more passionate, more exhilaratingly up-tempo, or more steeped in an outsider tradition than Gypsy Jazz. And there is no one more qualified to write about Gypsy Jazz than Michael Dregni, author of the acclaimed biography, Django.

A vagabond music, Gypsy Jazz is played today in French Gypsy bars, Romany encampments, on religious pilgrimages—and increasingly on the world's greatest concert stages. Yet its story ...

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Overview

Of all the styles of jazz to emerge in the twentieth century, none is more passionate, more exhilaratingly up-tempo, or more steeped in an outsider tradition than Gypsy Jazz. And there is no one more qualified to write about Gypsy Jazz than Michael Dregni, author of the acclaimed biography, Django.

A vagabond music, Gypsy Jazz is played today in French Gypsy bars, Romany encampments, on religious pilgrimages—and increasingly on the world's greatest concert stages. Yet its story has never been told, in part because much of its history is undocumented, either in written form or often even in recorded music. Beginning with Django Reinhardt, whose dazzling Gypsy Jazz became the toast of 1930s Paris in the heady days of Josephine Baker, Picasso, and Hemingway, Dregni follows the music as it courses through caravans on the edge of Paris, where today's young French Gypsies learn Gypsy Jazz as a rite of passage, along the Gypsy pilgrimage route to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer where the Romany play around their campfires, and finally to the new era of international Gypsy stars such as Bireli Lagrene, Boulou Ferre, Dorado Schmitt, and Django's own grandchildren, David Reinhardt and Dallas Baumgartner. Interspersed with Dregni's vivid narrative are the words of the musicians themselves, many of whom have never been interviewed for the American press before, as they describe what the music means to them. Gypsy Jazz also includes a chapter devoted entirely to American Gypsy musicians who remain largely unknown outside their hidden community.

Blending travelogue, detective story, and personal narrative, Gypsy Jazz is music history at its best, capturing the history and culture of this elusive music—and the soul that makes it swing.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199756254
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 8/20/2010
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 989,530
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael Dregni is a columnist, reviewer, and feature writer for Vintage Guitar magazine, and author of Django: The Life and Music of a Gypsy Legend (OUP, 2004).

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Table of Contents

Prologue Chapter 1: The Guitar with a Human Voice; In Search of Django Reinhardt Chapter 2: The Boy With the Banjo; Into a Zigzag Paradise Chapter 3: Bals Musette; Music from the Dark Side of the City of Light Chapter 4: Jazz Modernistique; Revisiting the Babylon of Gypsy Jazz Chapter 5: Songs of One Thousand and One Nights; Django Reinhardt, Schnuckenack Reinhardt, and Gypsy Jazz Under the Nazis Chapter 6: Gypsy Bebop; From Dizzy and Bird to Django and the Gibson Generation Chapter 7: Les Guitares à Moustache; Revolutionary Jazz Guitars for a Jazz Revolution Chapter 8: Crossroads; On the Road to Les Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer Chapter 9: Dynasty ;Les Frères Ferret and their Musical Clan Chapter 10: La Dernière Valse des Niglos ; Saints and Sinners of the Malha Clan Chapter 11: Au Son des Guitares; On the Trail of Patotte Bousquet Chapter 12: The Unsung Master of the Gypsy Waltz; Tracing the Legacy of Tchan Tchou Chapter 13: The Lost; The Secret History of Lousson Baumgartner and the "Other" Family Chapter 14: Minstrel; Bamboula Ferret and the Travels of a Romany Troubadour Chapter 15: Resurrection; The New Elegance of Biréli Lagrène, Stochelo Rosenberg, Angelo Debarre, and Ninine Garcia Chapter 16: The Music Thieves; Into America with Danny Fender, Johnny Guitar, John Adomono, and Julio Bella Chapter 17: Gypsy Jazz Rap; Syntax and the Search for "Le Meilleur Chemin"
Chapter 18: The Most Dangerous Guitar Lesson; Jamming with David Reinhardt Epilogue: Latcho Drom - The Long Road Recommended Listening Notes Recommended Reading Bibliography Acknowledgments Index

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