As promised in my last post on Larry Coryell and the Jazz Minor, here is how I hear that playing strategy in Django’s 1953 version of Night and Day. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I LOVE Django’s playing on this song and believe it completely epitomizes what great jazz and great guitar playing should sound like.
If you’re unfamiliar with this song, find a chart and follow along! As I said in the previous post, while Django did this version in the key of Eb, he also did a couple versions in the key of D and this is the key I’m playing in. In the first video I give chord demonstrations of how many Gypsy Jazz artists play it (kind of). The basic progression is Em7b5 A7 D. You can choose either of the first two examples of voices. Or you can re-harmonize it like the third example I provide, Stochelo Rosenberg / The Rosenberg Trio and their version with Stephane Grappelli that is on the Caravan album. Stochelo plays the Em7b5 as a Gmin9, the A7 as an A7b9b13 and the D as a D major. He also does that line cliché that leads into an E9/B A7b5b913/Bb D6/9 F07. Then it returns to a normal 2-5-1 in D (Em7 A7 Dmaj). That all sounds complicated but it isn’t really. The E9/B is a regular E9 chord with the B on the low E string fingered and you slide down a half step for the next chord. The other chords are typical jazz chords. Then I play the Jazz Minor scale as Larry Coryell was playing it in his lesson and then I play a couple of licks from Django’s take on Night and Day. I think there is a lot of similarity there.
I’m using my Gretsch 6118 plugged through a Mouse Amp. The picture is showing two views of the Mouse. I believe the amp is from the late 70s and it was a DEAD MOUSE until a couple of years ago. I thought it was toast, but the guy who sets up my guitars put in a new battery and cleaned it up and it was good as new. The battery can be charged for up to 4 hours so I can play outside, at the pool, on the beach, or busk on the street. It doesn’t have the hi-fidelity of the Schertler David or the Fender Champ I have, which I’ll use in some upcoming videos, but it’s certainly really easy to set up and go. The Gretsch is pretty awesome too. I’ve done quite a few gigs with it and I’m really happy with how it sounds playing this music. A Gibson L-5 it is not, but I can get close to Django’s amplified tone with a little tweaking, especially through the David. I really like that combo.
The last video is Django’s intro and entire first chorus. Notice…how jazzy cool he is…The phrasing on some parts is just beautiful and very lyrical and he gets so much out of a couple of notes. Of course it really swings and the whole solo is great. I’ve worked out the rest of it and have also worked out Stochelo’s version, which is also really great! As you can tell from the videos it was really noisy here today…and hot. This will probably be the last playing-video until summer is over. Also, I’ve been informed by YOUTUBE that making videos like this warrants a flag over copyright by Warner Chappell. It seems there is a built-in system on YOUTUBE that can detect the recorded material and though I didn’t get a notice about my Swinging with Django video or Oiseaux des Iles, they have been flagged as well. Warner-Chappell doesn’t know about this, but at any time they can take action and the videos will be deleted, there will be a stronger warning or whatever. It’s not my intention to infringe on anyone’s rights. This is supposed to be educational and had I been able to watch some of the videos that I’ve made when I was learning to play Django’s music, I certainly would have. But the whole question of what constitutes FAIR USE is RILLY, RILLY, COMPLICATED and though I’m going to leave what I’ve done up for now, I will probably be investigating new playing/broadcasting avenues for the future.