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

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

by Michael Dregni
     
 

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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

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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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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Reviews of the hardback edition:

"Dregni's passion for Django Reinhardt and the enduring overlap of gypsy music and jazz leads to a picaresque journey from the US, across modern Europe and back again. The music itself is the wandering hero as Dregni gracefully weaves together historical research, personal insights, and conversations with colorful, music-making characters. Generous, musical storytelling at its best!"— Ashley Kahn, author of A Love Supreme: The Story of John Coltrane's Signature Album

"Dregni writes as Django played: lyrical, inventive, engaging and often undeniably brilliant. With Gypsy Jazz he shines light upon the 'holes in history' that have so long obscured this most celebrated yet mysterious arena of Romany music. An astonishing text."—Garth Cartwright, author of Princes Amongst Men: Journeys With Gypsy Musicians

"In this fascinating picaresque adventure into European gipsy culture, Michael Dregni not only discovers much hitherto undocumented information about the background to the great manouche guitarist Django Reinhardt, but also about his musical and social forbears, contemporaries and heirs. Dregni's sparky prose and fervent enthusiasm enliven his search, which always comes back to the music itself, in which he finds, alongside the influence of American jazz, a timeless romani wistfulness, the lingering melancholy of an itinerant people."—Alyn Shipton, Jazz critic of The Times, London, and author of A New History of Jazz

"A highly original book that's part history, part detective story and part travelogue...
Dregi does a beautiful job tracking down the details and making the people and music come alive. Gypsy Jazz is an important and delightful addition to the ongoing story of Gypsy jazz, and provides an essential bridge to this fascinating people and their culture." —All About Jazz

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780199756254
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
08/20/2010
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
903,681
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.00(d)

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