15 September 2013

Jazz Education Review: Gypsy Jazz Learning Resources

Charlie Anderson surveys resources for musicians wanting to learn more about playing gypsy jazz 


Online Learning




These in-depth online lessons are taught by two prominent gypsy jazz guitarists, Lollo Meier and Fapy Lafertin. £50 for 3 months. Free sample lessons available.



A more basic site set up by Israeli gypsy jazz guitarist Yaakov Hoter



Minor Swing

A classic easy tune suitable for beginners



A gentle ballad that all gypsy jazz musicians should know.



Many of the older jazz standards are part of the  gypsy jazz repertoire: Sweet Georgia Brown, All of Me, Honeysuckle Rose and Limehouse Blues



A very modern sounding introduction leads into this quirky Django original.


Dark Eyes (Les Yeaux Noirs)

Not for the faint-hearted, this uptempo classic often gets faster and faster as it’s played.


And not forgetting…

Django classics such as Coquette, Daphne, Hungaria, Minor Blues, Swing 42 etc.




Django mostly played the Selmer Maccaferri guitar, copies of which are favoured by today’s gypsy jazz guitarists.

Most players favour the big-mouthed ‘Grande Bouche’ for rhythm playing and do solo work using the small-mouthed ‘Petite Bouche’, though both instruments are suited to either.


Django played using a plectrum made from tortoise shell. Before going out and buying a tortoise, it’s worth considering the synthetic guitar picks made by Michael Wegen that closely resemble those used by Django.



Books & Playalongs


Django Reinhardt: Know the Man, Play the Music by Rod Fogg & Dave Gelly

Jazz writer Dave Gelly writes the section on Django’s life whilst guitarist Rod Fogg guides you through how to ‘Play like Django’, with advice on how to play octaves, tremolo, glissandi etc. in the style of Django Reinhardt. The book also contains a CD of re-recordings of six classic tunes, with transcriptions of each part, including notation, guitar tab and chord charts (‘grille’) for each tune.


Aebersold Vol. 128

Thirteen Django classics but does not include Djangology or Nuages.

As Dave Stryker says in this volume, "The best way to learn this style of music is by listening and studying the original recordings."


Hal Leonard Vol. 144

Eight classics including Djangology and Nuages.



Free playalong tracks for much of the gypsy jazz repertoire.

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