Sunday, July 1, 2012

Django Reinhardt: Six Essential Licks by Shawn Persinger

The following chart contains six of the most common licks used by the great Gypsy Jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.  Below the chart you will a list of recorded songs in which Django used these lines along with some of the chords he plays them over. This is a very abbreviated list, so Django aficionados should feel free to send me more references. 

One Myth Regarding Improvisation

There is a myth regarding improvisation, especially jazz improv, in the thought that the musicians are constantly making up everything they are playing. This is not true. More often than not the players are varying, transforming and rhythmically manipulating ideas that they have practiced hundreds if not thousands of times. This makes the habit of learning and practicing licks, yours own as well as those of others, a legitimate use of your time.

Where to Hear Them

1. Diminished Arpeggio
    1. Minor Swing over E7
    2. All of Me over E7
    3. Belleville solo measures 9 & 10. D diminished over D / Em A / I ii V
    4. Appel Direct: In melody: C diminished over C major chord.
    5. Swing 42: Solo measure 20: E diminished
    6. Bouncin’ Around: C diminished arpeggio over Gm6 (he does it four times, though it is possible it is intrinsic to the originally melody, which is not Django’s.).
    7. Honeysuckle Rose: Three times.
                                               i.     F# dim. (also C) over a C7 chord and second time C# over the same C7!
                                             ii.     A dim. over F9
    1. Les Yeux Noirs: C# diminished over A7, twice.
    2. If you like this diminished sound I recommend the tune “Djangology” because he utilizes this sound throughout the intro, melody and solo.

2. Major Arpeggio
    1. Dinah (twice)
    2. Old Folks (six times in the same place! In the key of F#.)
    3. Ain’t Misbehavin’
    4. Rose Room
    5. Daphne
    6. Nuages
    7. Bouncin’ Around
    8. Honeysuckle Rose
    9. Swinging with Django

  1. Minor Arpeggio: You hear this lick played by everyone from Charlie Parker to Yngwie Malmsteen!
    1. Tiger Rag
    2. Rose Room
    3. Minor Swing
    4. Nuages
    5. Swinging with Django

  1. Major 6th or simply minor with the third in the lowest note.
    1. Old Folks at Home in two different positions (five times).
    2. Djangology (D6 arpeggio over a D7 chord)
    3. Swing Guitar (A6 arpeggio over an Ab7 chord: complex melodic movement b9)
    4. Ain’t Misbehavin’ (twice: A6 arpeggio over a Bm chord)
    5. Rose Room
    6. Minor Swing
    7. Daphne (Bb6 over G6, gives a bluesy sound employing the b3)
    8. Nuages
    9. Bouncin’ Around (twice, descending and ascending)
    10. Swinging with Django

  1. Combination Major to parallel minor.
    1. Daphne
    2. Also functional in All of Me F to Fm.

  1. Chromatic Movement: This lick and dozens of variations. Influence on Les Paul to Jeff Beck. 
    1. Dinah
    2. Djangology
    3. Limehouse Blues
    4. Minor Swing
    5. Rose Room
    6. Swing 42 (with open G string)
    7. Belleville: The melody (Django’s) is chromatic.
    8. Bouncin’ Around: Chromatic octaves
    9. Honeysuckle Rose: Twice: Once, more or less, as written and, earlier, a nice, two string, variation.
More Django Resources

I would like to note that I am by no means a Django expert. I like...okay I love Django's music but there are many, many, many more qualified Gypsy jazz players who have devoted their entire lives to the study of Django. Below are some links I highly recommend you visit.

Join the Shawn Persinger is Prester John mailing list. Get free music and tabs!


The End.
See you next week. 
For more on Shawn Persinger is Prester John please visit: 

1 comment:

  1. wow! great and very informative post about Six Essential Licks .it is about the great Gypsy Jazz guitarist