gypsy jazz



[Eng.]


A genre of jazz music that grew out of the jazz tradition in France in the 1930s. It is also known as gypsy swing and often by the French names of jazz manouche and manouche jazz. Guitarist Jean "Django" Reinhardt was one of the first to perform in this genre and is normally credited with starting the tradition near Paris. Gypsy jazz combines gypsy music with the swing style of performance.

The performance practice of gypsy jazz is similar to other folk music traditions and is taught by rote. Many of the gypsy musicians do not read music notation. The songs, and all of the subtleties of the performance practice, are passed down from one generation of musicians to another through hours of memorizing songs from recordings and experiencing live performances.

The bands that perform gypsy jazz are usually all acoustic and typically use the acoustic guitar and violin as the solo instruments, although the clarinet and accordion can perform as solo instruments as well. Most of these bands don't use drums, but will rely on the rhythm guitar to provide a unique rhythmic technique known as la pompe. A typical band might consist of a lead guitar, violin, two rhythm guitars, and a double bass.

See also gypsy jazz; gypsy swing; jazz manouche; manouche jazz.


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