Gypsy jazz is a jazz style which testifies to the stylistic contributions of gypsy and central European music (klezmer) as well as the musette and French song in jazz, which, from 1932, arrived from the United States in Europe. Born in France in the 1930s, it is characterized in its original form by a rhythm section provided by two guitars and a double bass, a violin and the absence of percussion, brass and wood - "jazz without drum or trumpet" .
The initiators of this style, first characterized by string instruments, are Django Reinhardt and Stéphane Grappelli, to which have been added, over the years, accordionists, bassists, clarinetists. The new generation of musicians has evolved gypsy jazz in several directions, notably towards jazz-rock by Boulou Ferré.
Gery established in the northeast of France, the Manouches are the best represented branch of Roma migration in France. At the beginning of the 20th century, they combined music from Central Europe with bagpipes, dance music and jazz swing to form a music known by the generic term "gypsy music".
Gy introducing jazz into gypsy music, guitarist Django Reinhardt managed to create new folklore. Since 1934, he has been considered the inventor of gypsy jazz, along with the violinist Stéphane Grappelli, both leaders of the Quintet of the Hot Club de France.
Gther musicians accompanied this birth, such as the accordionist Gus Viseur, also a member of the Hot Club of France3, Matelo Ferret, inventor of the waltz-bebop and the whole Ferret dynasty.
Manouche musicians devote a real cult to Django, whose celebration takes the form of numerous annual festivals around the world. We will even play on the grave of the guitarist to pay tribute to him.
The rhythm is often accompanied by rolls, setbacks and other figures of style to enhance the soloist or enrich the harmony and rhythm of the piece.
The technique of playing the guitar, like holding the pick, is not at all the same as with other styles of music. Indeed, it makes the wrist "broken", to be able to apply the technique called "hammer" which allows to gain speed and minimize contact between the hand and the guitar table, so that it can vibrate with minimal outside interference.
It's a technique that comes from the banjo and that Django Reinhardt had learned from the gypsy virtuoso that was Poulette Castro. The style of gypsy jazz prohibits nothing and absorbs everything, even if there are certain characteristics specific to the style (chromatic scales, diminished arpeggios).
The songs are often covers of Django or traditional Gypsy music. In addition to Django, many composers have written songs in this style, some even rearranging classical compositions like those of Bach.
Some of the best-known songs are Les Yeux Noirs, Minor Swing, Djangology, Nuages, Hungaria, Blues minor or the Manoir of my dreams, Douce ambiance, Blues clair.